Rev. Dr. Herman “Skip” Mason

Rev. Dr. Herman “Skip” Mason, Jr. Historian, is the senior pastor of Historic West Mitchell Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Atlanta, Georgia. A proud native of Atlanta and an honors graduate of the Atlanta Public Schools, Dr. Mason matriculated and graduated from Morris Brown College. He continued his education at Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University) and earned Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science with a concentration in African American Studies and Archives/Museum Management. He is also a graduate of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta where he obtained the Master of Divinity and the Doctor of Ministry degrees respectively.

Dr. Mason, a seasoned educator for over 25 years has served as professor of history, college archivist, director and dean of students and Vice President of Student Services at both Morris Brown College and Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. Currently, he serves as the Director of Library Service and Assistant Professor of African-American History and Religion at Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina.

Dr. Mason is the author of numerous books on the history of African Americans experience in Atlanta, Georgia and the South and has published over 10 books including Black Atlanta in the Roaring Twenties, Black Entertainment in Atlanta, African American Life in DeKalb County,Politics, Law and Civil Rights in Atlanta; Black American Series: East Point, Georgia. He has curated major exhibitions including the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Centennial Exhibition, Crowns and Gowns:The Legacy of the Homecoming Queen, Hidden Treasures:Black Photographers in Atlanta and served as a historical consultant on numerous PBS documentaries. Most recently under Dr. Mason’s leadership Voorhees College opened its museum documenting the college’s history. He also serves as the Liaison for Museums for the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.

Dr. Mason served on the National Board of Directors of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Foundation in Washington, D.C. which led to the completion and dedication of the monument on the mall in Washington, D.C in 2011. Dr. Mason is a member of numerous fraternal, social and civic organizations. An avid genealogist, Dr. Mason enjoys reading, local and international traveling, collecting black memorabilia and photographs, listening to music and researching his family history. He is the founder of Skip Mason Vanishing Black Atlanta Facebook Page and Book Club. Dr. Mason is the father of two wonderful young adults Jewel and Jodari. He gives thanks to God for his journey.

Osborne Bell, Sr.

Osborne Bell Sr. was the first black Sheriff in Marshall County, MS and one of the first three black Sheriff’s to be sworn in- in the state of Mississippi. There is also a memorial marker just north of Hwy 4 on Hwy 309 south of Byhalia, MS marking the spot where Mr. Osborne was killed while on duty. Hwy 309 is also know as the Osborne Bell Highway. Osborne Bell was loved by many and is remembered for his friendliness and fairness to all. His political career began in 1967, when he was elected the first black coroner and served three terms as Marshall County Coroner (1967-1979). Osborne Bell was elected sheriff of Marshall County, Mississippi on November 6, 1979. He served his people with distinction. Sheriff Bell was a leader in law enforcement and in his community as well. He died in the line of duty on the morning of May 7, 1986.

Rest in Heaven Dear Uncle. I pray your legacy continues to live through us all.

Nikki Giovanni

Born Yolande Cornelia Giovanni. Jr, in Knoxville, Tennessee, Giovanni was the younger of two daughters in a close-knit family. She gained an intense appreciation for African American culture and heritage from her grandmother, explaining in an interview, “I come from a long line of storytellers.” This early exposure to the power of spoken language influenced Giovanni’s career as a poet, particularly her sophisticated use of vernacular speech. When Giovanni was a young child, she moved with her parents from Knoxville to a predominantly black suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio but remained close to her grandmother. Giovanni was encouraged by several schoolteachers and enrolled early at Fisk University, a prestigious HBCU (historically Black college or university) in Nashville, Tennessee. A literary and cultural renaissance was emerging at Fisk, as writers and other artists of color collaborated in cultural projects that explored and delineated the possibilities of Black identity.
Nikki Giovanni is one of America’s foremost poets. Over the course of a long career, Giovanni has published numerous collections of poetry—from her first self-published volume Black Feeling Black Talk (1968) to New York Times best-seller Bicycles: Love Poems (2009)—several works of nonfiction and children’s literature, and multiple recordings, including the Emmy-award nominated The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection (2004). Her most recent publications include Make Me Rain: Poems and Prose (2020), Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid (2013) and, as editor, The 100 Best African American Poems (2010). A frequent lecturer and reader, Giovanni has taught at Rutgers University, Ohio State University, and Virginia Tech, where she is a University Distinguished Professor.

Born Yolande Cornelia Giovanni. Jr, in Knoxville, Tennessee, Giovanni was the younger of two daughters in a close-knit family. She gained an intense appreciation for African American culture and heritage from her grandmother, explaining in an interview, “I come from a long line of storytellers.” This early exposure to the power of spoken language influenced Giovanni’s career as a poet, particularly her sophisticated use of vernacular speech. When Giovanni was a young child, she moved with her parents from Knoxville to a predominantly black suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio but remained close to her grandmother. Giovanni was encouraged by several schoolteachers and enrolled early at Fisk University, a prestigious HBCU (historically Black college or university) in Nashville, Tennessee. A literary and cultural renaissance was emerging at Fisk, as writers and other artists of color collaborated in cultural projects that explored and delineated the possibilities of Black identity.
Giovanni’s first published volumes of poetry grew out of her response to the assassinations of such figures as Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, and Robert Kennedy, and the pressing need she saw to raise awareness of the plight and the rights of Black people. Black Feeling Black Talk (1968) and Black Judgement (1968) explore Giovanni’s growing political and spiritual awareness. These early books, followed by Re: Creation (1970), quickly established Giovanni as a prominent new voice in African American literature. Black Feeling Black Talk sold over ten thousand copies in its first year alone.She publicly expressed feelings of oppression, anger, and frustration; in doing so, she found new audiences beyond the usual poetry-reading public.

Dr. Timothy Quinn

Dr. Quinn is Medical Director of Quinn Healthcare, PLLC. As a family physician, he thoroughly understands the human condition and utilizes effective communication, teaching, and interpersonal skills to empower patients to make significant lifestyle changes to improve their health. Dr. Quinn serves as the Principal Investigator of multiple clinical trials for Merck and Eli Lilly Pharmaceutical Company. During the past two years, Dr. Quinn has worked with the Mississippi State Department of Health on several grants including Pre-Diabetes and Chronic Disease Quality Initiatives. He is a member of the City of Jackson Medical Taskforce, as well as the collaborating physician for the City of Jackson Employee’s Clinic. Dr. Quinn is also a collaborating physician for Cigna Health Springs. He developed and is currently leading the Children’s Health Initiative, to raise awareness of the importance of childhood physicals, partnering with MS State Medical Association, MS Academy of Pediatrics, and MS Academy of Family Medicine.

In The News
Dr. Quinn is a trusted medical news commentator for local and national news with weekly segments on local news. He is a published author of Dr. Quinn’s BLUEPRINT. He believes that positive lifestyle changes implemented as an adjunct to traditional health care helps an individual achieve a high level of overall health. He has dedicated his life to informing the community of attaining a healthier well-being.

Black History 2022

Letha’s Real Talk will not only focus on Black History during February 2022, we will also highlight some of those infamous black icons who are currently making a major impact everyday. There are so many wonderful leaders who are persevering, breaking down barriers, and we have been allowed the privilege to highlight a few. Walk in your freedom. Press the mark. Do not give up. You can do it. You can be it. You can have it. You can, shall, and will achieve it if you put in the constant work. Greatness is part of the legacy and royal heritage that we all as a people bestow. As we continue to rise up and make our presence known and more visible in this world I am proud to say though we are not finished, however, now is the time to give each other praise. We are successful people, we a strong people, we are brilliant people, we are inventors, we are warriors, we are Kings and Queens who possess the divine wellness of the first fruits of this earth. The blood, sweat, and tears of our forefathers and foremothers empowered us so that we are to be as a great people without shame, yet with a cause and a purpose. We must fulfill! We are to carry out what we are destined to do. Our history is our heritage and this month you will meet and learn of a few who are leaving their footprints to . February 2022 will be about Black History and Black Empowerment living.