Six local women to receive Black Pioneer awards April 20

Six local women to receive Black Pioneer awards April 20

April 15th, 2013 by Staff Report in Life Entertainment

Sherry D. Bowie

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

Dr. Everlena M. Holmes

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

Eva Jo Saddler Johnson

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

Johnella Morris

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

Constance L. Washington

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

Evalyn Spann Young

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

The Chattanooga chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women Inc. will honor six women on Saturday, April 20, with its Black Pioneer Women of Excellence awards.

The six will be honored during a luncheon at Hawkinsville Missionary Baptist Church, 7463 Pinewood Drive, beginning at 11:30 a.m.

The annual program recognizes outstanding black women for professional and personal achievements as well as their community service. Black Pioneer Women of Excellence are selected in the fields of education, social services, community service/volunteerism and economic development.

Luncheon reservations must be made by today; call 698-0029.


Sherry D. Bowie, Education: Bowie retired from Hamilton County Schools after 26 years as an elementary schoolteacher and school counselor. Her successful work plans continue to be used in classrooms today across Hamilton County, according to a news release.

Dr. Everlena M. Holmes, Community Service/Volunteerism: Holmes established and administered the Full Circle Empowerment Center, was founding coordinator of the Glenwood Block Leaders and continues to actively participate in collaborative efforts to implement projects and develop leadership skills.

Eva Jo Saddler Johnson, Community Service/Volunteer: This honoree became certified in civil mediation and family mediation at Lipscomb University. Rather than seeking employment in those areas, she chose to volunteer for the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program, the Hamilton County Juvenile Court program to prevent recidivism among first-time offenders.

She partnered with Cladie Jo Arnold to establish Even Me, which sponsors birthday parties for underprivileged elementary-school students. She started The Women's Forum community program to promote sharing knowledge between females through training, demonstrations, discussions and presentations.

Johnella Morris, Social Services: This retired social services worker has been a longtime advocate for the mentally ill and for the education and welfare of at-risk children.

She has been a foster mother to more than 40 at-risk children and, at age 75, adopted two children to give them a better life.

She is founding director of the Shell Education Institute, an initiative to provide full, four-year college scholarships to 100 low-income students who are at risk of dropping out of school.

Constance L. Washington, Economic Development: Washington joined the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce as a member of the Minority Affairs Department in 1972. She devoted 38 years to working for the Minority Affairs Department and the chamber's councils, supporting business interests and civic projects in 11 Chattanooga communities.

She has volunteered with Girl Scouts for 35 years, serving as coordinator of all five divisions of Girl Scouts sponsored by the Orchard Knob Missionary Baptist Church.

Evalyn Spann Young, Education: Young graduated from Spelman College in 1946 with a degree in home economics. In 1963, she was among nine blacks to integrate the University of Chattanooga's graduate program, from which she earned a master's degree in public school counseling in 1966.

Her determination to advance her education during racially turbulent times is chronicled in the film, "Reaching the Light: The Story of the Desegregation of the University of Chattanooga."

She was a teacher in Chattanooga schools for 32 years and also served as a Central Office-based itinerant reading teacher, psychological examiner and guidance counselor. Following retirement, she became a substitute teacher for English as a Second Language and the Alternative School programs.

She has also volunteered for more than 30 years with the American Red Cross and is a Golden Life member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.