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In Honor of
Black History Month

February is a month dedicated to celebrating the remarkable achievements of African Americans and their critical role in US history. This month and every month, we believe in the importance of educating our little ones about the many brave Black women in particular who have broken barriers and set new standards in each of their fields.

In honor of Black History Month 2021, we will donate a portion of our proceeds to the National CARES Mentoring Movement to help further their mission of ending intergenerational poverty in the Black community. We are also excited to introduce four new icons to our Trailblazer collection: Shirley Chisholm, Toni Morrison, Madame CJ Walker and Marian Anderson.

"If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair."
  - Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Anita Chisholm (1924-2005) was an American politician, educator, and author. In 1968, she became the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress, representing New York's 12th congressional district for seven terms from 1969 to 1983. In the 1972 Chisholm went on to make history yet again, becoming the first African American and the second woman to make a bid for the U.S. presidency with a major party when she ran for the Democratic nomination in 1972. Throughout her political career, Chisholm fought for education opportunities and social justice

Meet the Designer

About Erin Robinson

Erin Robinson is a fashion designer by trade whose career has spanned over twenty-five years in the corporate design business. The majority of those years were spent designing children’s apparel for brands such as Gap, OshKosh, Sears and The Children’s Place. She is also a trained fine artist from Parsons School of Design and the Corcoran School of Art.

Her global travels reignited her creative energy, allowing her to move in another design direction. She was inspired by the many beautiful and diverse women in Brooklyn whose decorative hair looked more like art.

Learn more about Erin

“I got my start by giving myself a start.”
  - Madam CJ Walker

Madam C.J. Walker (Sarah Breedlove) (1867 - 1919) was an American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and political and social activist. Walker's business acumen led her to be one of the first American women to become a self-made millionaire and help create the role of the 20th Century, self-made American businesswoman. After suffering from a scalp ailment that resulted in her own hair loss, Walker invented a line of African American hair products and became a pioneer of the modern black hair-care and cosmetics industry. CJ Walker was also know for philanthropic endeavors and set standards in the African-American for corporate and community giving.

Meet the Designer

Keisha Okafor

Keisha Okafor is a Nigerian-American artist and designer specializing in illustration, surface pattern design and graphic design. After graduating from North Carolina State University in 2013, she has worked on a mix of digital advertisements and stationery. The North Carolina based artist is inspired by music and everyday moments in life and translates the vibrancy of life into her work.

She combines her love of illustration, vibrant colors and African prints to create art that celebrates black women.

Learn more about Keisha

"As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think."
  - Toni Morrison

Chloe Anthony Wofford Morrison (1931 - 2019) known as Toni Morrison, was an American Noble prize and Pullitzer prize-winning novelist, essayist, book editor, and college professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, exquisite language and richly detailed African American characters who are central to their narratives. Morrison's works are praised for addressing the harsh consequences of racism in the United States. Among her best-known novels are The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Beloved, Jazz, Love and A Mercy. Toni Morrison has earned a plethora of book-world accolades and honorary degrees, also receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

Meet the Designer

Joelle Avelino

Joelle Avelino is a Congolese and Angolan London based Freelance Artist who works with both traditional and digital methods of drawing and painting. She is greatly inspired by phenomenal women, everyday life and her African heritage. Having grown up in the UK she aims to bring these two worlds together through her work.

She is greatly inspired by phenomenal women, everyday life and her African heritage.

Learn more about Joelle

"If you have a purpose in which you can believe, there's no end to the amount of things you can accomplish."
  - Marian Anderson

Marian Anderson (1897 - 1993) was an American contralto. She performed a wide range of music, from opera to spirituals. Anderson performed with renowned orchestras in major concert and recital venues throughout the United States and Europe between 1925 and 1965. Anderson was an important figure in the struggle for African-American artists to overcome racial prejudice in the United States during the mid-twentieth century. Deemed one of the finest contraltos of her time, Marian Anderson became the first African American to perform with the New York Metropolitan Opera in 1955.

Meet the Designer

Devyn Taylor

Devyn H. Taylor is a creative based out of Miami. Her hobbies include painting, drawing, graffiti, digital art, doll-making and metalwork. As a former physics teacher, she's always down to discuss working theories about dark matter. Devyn is a mother to chameleon, a snake, a bearded dragon, four turtles, and a miniature schnauzer.

Devyn is currently a freelancer for a strong portfolio of clients and always looking for opportunities at places that need some non-traditional thinking!

Learn more about Devyn

About National Cares

Transforming the lives of Black children by inspiring, recruiting and mobilizing masses of caring Black men and women to mentor and nourish, challenge and champion them.

Founded in 2006 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, as Essence CARES, while Susan L. Taylor was chief editor of Essence magazine, it is the mission of National CARES Mentoring Movement to transform the lives of Black children by inspiring, recruiting and mobilizing masses of caring Black men and women to mentor and nourish, challenge and champion them.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, National CARES has taken advantage of its unique position as an organization deeply rooted in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the virus and deepened its programming. Recent achievements include uninterrupted delivery of its programming by moving it to online platforms and deliberately strengthening community connections to ensure better wellness outcomes. Beginning March 19, National CARES launched a 15-week series of virtual community wellness gatherings, creating a space for healing and sharing of coping techniques to ground our participants in wellness practices. The series provided the much-needed support and culturally anchored compassionate spaces that Black Americans were seeking as they were burdened by the impacts of the pandemic.