Sondra Clark

“I say my first lady, Dorothy Marshall of Miracle Revival Christian Center. I think she is a phenomenal woman of God because she always embraces new and old members who come into the church, and she shows them so much love. She lets them know that they are not only welcome through God’s grace, but they are also welcomed through the grace of her accepting them into the church. It doesn’t matter what color or what race or creed. She has always been the type of woman to embrace everyone who comes into the church. She just shows you so much love that I can’t even explain it.”

Aretha Hobbs

“I say my mother, Willie Mae Altman. She passed away, but she helped a lot of people in the community. She took in a lot of kids and fed a lot of kids. She never did turn anybody down on feeding them or anything. That’s why we grew up that way too. I think she is important in my life because she raised me then. She raised my Auntie’s six kids, so there were 16 kids in the house, and my mother raised them all by herself. There were two of us and out of all them, it was three who went to college.”

Derria Young

“My mother, Ashley Harry Smith, because I have had ups and downs with her. Even though it was ups and downs, she is still here with me, no matter what, and I love her. She is funny, she is smart, and she is educated. Anything I need, I know I can ask her for it, and I’ll get it. She is always here if I need her.”

Carl Smith

“Coretta Scott King because she was the wife of our civil rights leader, Martin Luther King. That same spirit that was in him enveloped her to carry on the legacy that was set down. We know that as black people, we have been under oppression for so long, so our destiny had to be to go up, but sometimes it takes others being helpers, from one to another, to show us how to get up and show up and be present to do the things we have been called forth to do. And that’s what Coretta did; she took up the cause.”

Pete Riley

“Harriett Tubman because I think she did a great thing for black people and humanity itself, for her to even have the courage to go find people (slaves) who needed help, for her to even consider helping them get out of the condition they were in. And my mom, Francis Riley, is also my hero because she gave birth to me. I’m here, I’m healthy, and she did a good job. And my grandmother, Ada Faye Riley. Those are the two women who shaped me into the man I am now. “

Anthony Smith

“My mother, Carole E. Smith, because she just always took care of me all my life. She was always a strong woman. Even when times were down, she would say, ‘Always stay strong.’ She taught me to think before you speak, think before you do things. Even dealing with women, she would say, ‘Just treat them like ladies, always respect them, and you’ll never get any problems out of them.'”

Michael Orsby

“My sister, Angie Orsby, because she raised me after my mother died. She probably raised me to the age of 20, and that probably took away most of her childhood just to raise me. She taught me to do things right as a man. It’s hard out here for a black man anyway, so she would say, ‘Keep your mind and stay focused, and keep God first.'”

John Carter

“I say Rosa Parks and Mother Theresa. I say Rosa Parks because she led the bus boycott. That did a lot for black people, and Mother Theresa helped a lot of [poor and sick] people in [India] who needed some comfort, who needed someone to talk to, somebody to know that they were there.”

Suzette White

“I say Michelle Obama because she is the first African-American first lady, and she has done a lot for the community as well. She has pretty much given back to the community, and she is helping women worldwide to preserve in the midst of adversity.”