The Miss Black USA Pageant and Scholarship Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit corporation in the state of Maryland, recognized under the 501(c)3 code of the Internal Revenue Service. The Miss Black USA Pageant and Scholarship Foundation, Inc., was founded in 1986 by Karen Arrington.
On June 6, 1987, the J.W. Marriott hotel ballroom in Washington, D.C. was transformed into an elegant showplace. It was standing room only, and the atmosphere was electric. A celebrity panel of judges representing the sports, entertainment, media and fashion industry had the best seats in the house. At 8:00pm the lights faded and the curtains were raised. Next, twenty-one stunning, smart and talented African American women from across the nation represented the dreams of our ancestors. From the Harlem Renaissance to the New Renaissance we have moved beyond the cotton club, savoy and into an arena that gives us the freedom to conquer all.
The delegates took to the runway. They made no secret of their ambition to succeed. They were academic divas with high aspirations, advocating change in their communities. They were following in the footsteps of African American she'roes, and paving the way for those who would follow. They modeled one-piece swimsuits in bold and shimmering palettes. Next, the delegates showcased their talents. Inspired by the works of some of the greatest and renowned African American literary writers and artists, delegates belted out tunes to the likes of Billy Holiday, performed ballet, tap and modern dance, and read dramatic recitations from the works of Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, Zora Neale Hurston and others.
The mood softened for the eveningwear competition. Delegates graced the runway with layers of chiffon flowing gowns, panels of lace, and strapless dresses that were made for the red carpet.
The high voltage show was one to not be forgotten and culminated in the crowning of the first and only "Miss Black USA," Tamiko Gibson, Miss Black Maryland a 21-year-old professional model. The stunning University of Maryland Broadcasting Journalism major made history when she won the coveted title of "Miss Black USA 1987" and paved the way for others to follow:
Twenty-two years later, the tradition continues ...