Celebrating Black History 2021

February is Black History Month.  Who has inspired you this past year?  This year for me, there has been several people who I would like to pay homage too.  They have in some way inspired me or impacted my life.


  1. Samuel (Dean) Cooper– Sam, my brother, who is an essential worker at an in-care facility that assist people with disabilities. Dean is the peacemaker of the six Super Coopers and helps calm me in any situation.
  2. Chadwick Bozeman-He was an amazing actor who passed away to early. He portrayed the superhero, Black Panther, and was the first Black SUPER HERO. Reminds me that I have my own SUPER POWER, to advocate and write in hopes to help others.
  3. Patrick Mahomes-Quarterback for Kansas City and the youngest to play in two consecutive Super Bowls. I’m not as young as I use to be, but Patrick inspires me to get out there and be active. You know, I am a pretty good bocce ball player.
  4. Amanda Gorman-Young poet with a speech impairment who inspired the world with her original poem delivered at the inauguration. As a person with a speech impairment, Amanda inspired me to let my voice be heard.
  5. Gayle King-Head anchor of CBS’s, morning news. Great to see a professional woman who looks like me giving the news.
  6. Dontae Jones-WHIO’s meteorologist who has major swag, just like myself, and inspires me to keep being “me”.
  7. Amelia Robinson-Editor of Dayton Daily News’ Ideas & Voices. As editor, Amelia gives me the opportunity to share my thoughts by writing editorials.
  8. Idotha “Bootsie” Neal-First African American woman elected to the Dayton City Commission. “Bootsie” inspires me to keep going and to be the advocate I need to be for those of us who may not have such a big voice.
  9. Sojourner Truth-Women’s Rights Activist who fought for the inclusion of black women in the suffrage movement and person with a disability. I look up too Sojourner because I should never give up fighting for the right for inclusion of all people.
  10. Lizzo-A breakout female rapper who advocates against body shaming. Lizzo advocates letting all women know to be “ok” with their selves plus her songs are rocking. When I hear her song…It reminds me to have some swag.
  11. Marci Straughter-Newly appointed Tech Ambassador, friend and knowledgeable Ohio advocate who’s a person with a disability.
  12. Claudia Gordon-First deaf black lawyer in the US. As a person with a disability, great to know a disability didn’t hold her back from employment.
  13. Pastor Rodney Cranford-Pastor of First Baptist of Ridgewood Heights. Shares “good word” weekly which gives me strength to make it another day.
  14. Carter G. Woodson-Historian and creator of “Negro History Week” which evolved into Black History Month. If not for Carter, I wouldn’t be able to create this annual list which I dearly love doing.
  15. Fred Strahorn-Politician who served in the Ohio House of Representatives serving the 39th district which consist much of Dayton, including myself, and he is a great advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities.
  16. Jennifer King-New assistant coach for NFL team, Washington. Jennifer has taught me that a woman can do anything.
  17. Nia Dennis-UCLA gymnast who performed a routine honoring black excellences and scored a 9.95. We all strive to for excellence and Nia teaches me to continue to take more steps each day so that my legs stay strong.
  18. Rodney Perkins-Supervisor at Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley who’s dedicated to making sure all goods get where they need to go. Rodney has been employed at Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley for more than 20 years and one of the first people I met. I enjoy our conversations.
  19. Mae C. Jemison-Engineer, physician, and former NASA astronaut. First black woman who traveled to space which lets me know if a black woman can make to space, she can make it anywhere.
  20. Dave Chappelle-Stand-up comedian, actor and writer. Helped me get through 2020 by laughing.
  21. Shari Cooper-Dealt with pandemic in 2020. Managed to survive, returned to work, and is back on the road to success. You go girl!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Black Excellence as we celebrate black history month. Feel to add to it for there’re many who should be on this list.



24 comments on “Celebrating Black History 2021

  1. Mindi Beal on

    It is so nice to have you back, Shari! I’ve missed your posts. This is an outstanding, inspiring list of people. Amanda Gorman is a force to be reckoned with and such a powerful voice in these times. I’m so excited to read her poetry and see where she takes herself from here.

  2. Monae Dawson on

    You always put a smile on my face Shari:). Thank you so much for opening our eyes to the African Americans that lead exceptional lives and make huge impacts on the lives of so many. I truly believe you are amongst the Super Stars “fashionable, fierce, friendly, fun and fabulous”. I’ve never seen you quit or give up on anything. I’d have to agree with majority of the people on your list, especially Chadwick Bozeman. If I had to include anyone it would be the late great Cicely Tyson (a hard working woman who touched/inspired so many with her movies). She had so much class and refused roles that were degrading. This woman’s legacy will live on. FYI my Auntie literally calls or text me every time Dontae Jones is on television. She believes he’s the type of man I should marry lol. Gotta love family.

  3. Mary Ellen Pfeil on

    Hello Shari!

    I love how you ended the list with yourself! Self admiration is a great quality. In my book, you never left the road to success last year. Look what you did achieve in a difficult one! Keep going, girl! I always admire you! Congratulations on getting back to work!

  4. Jerome Haney on

    As I notice area African-American, may I share mine. The former mayor of the City of Dayton, Ohio; Miss Rhine McLin. Miss McLin was my Negro History teacher at Belmont High School in the early ’70’s. This was prior to the court ordered desegregation of public schools, and the use of busing to achieve that order. Anyway it was from her that I learned my African American History and Culture and to be unapologetically about it. It was through her learning/instructional process, that I matriculate and graduated from Wilberforce University.

  5. Monica Smoot on

    Welcome back! You are awesome and a delight to my spirit. I appreciate the intelligence you exude. Black History is very important to everyone of color especially during this time of world uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic among other issues. Thank you so much for your blog. Keep your exuberant soul fed daily. You inspire me to do great things.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *