The Celebration of National Women’s History Month has captured the authentic spirit of African Americans and gives form and inspiration to a new generation.
By Cheryl Tillman Lee
Winding down Women’s History month, the Sentinel continues with its salute to Jessie Mae Brown Beavers, Gertrude Gipson Penland, and the late Libby Clark. They are the spark plugs, the doers and the visionaries that have brought stability, perseverance and progress to our communities.
It was Jessie Mae Brown Beavers who paced the field and left an indelible mark upon Los Angeles as Society Women’s editor, in 1944, and later changed to Family Section as executive editor.
As a member of a pioneer family, Beavers roots were deeply embedded in Second Baptist Church, where her late mother Arnetta served on the Deaconess board until her demise. Her religious and social ties gave her first-hand knowledge of all aspects of life in the Black communities.
Beavers held memberships in the Los Angeles Chapter of Links Inc., the Lullaby Guild, the League of Allied Arts, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, to name a few of her affiliations.
She organized the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association of Media women and served several years as that organization’s president and for ten years she served as commissioner, and twice as president of the Los Angeles City HumanRelations Commission. She was recognized and awarded many honors throughout the years.
Gertrude Gipson Penland, brought cultural enrichment and recognition to the Senitnel’s Entertainment section. She possessed a unique aggression for news coverage in that field. Her section truly reflected her popularity, reportorial skills and ingenuity.
She would report in her weekly column all the latest happenings on the celebrities, whether they sang, danced, acted, played instruments, whatever it was, they gravitated to her like a magnet.
Her life was intricately woven into the fabric of the entertainment world at all levels. She was rewarded for the “gigs,” movies, concerts, and special happenings in the lives of others.
I had the privilege to work for Gertrude Gipson as her assistant in the entertainment section, and it was such a pleasure.
It was Gertrude who sent me out to review such plays like” Mama I’m Sorry,” “Wicked Ways,” “One O’clock Jump,” “Mama I Want to Sing,” just to name a few. And for that I will always be forever grateful.
Jessie Mae Brown Beavers, was my mentor. She would share with me some of the happenings in the family section and at times give me a pair or two of tickets to a fashion event.
It was Gertrude Gipson Penland, who told me “I could do it,” that was review the plays she sent me out to cover and would ask for a write up afterwards.
Elizabeth “Libby” Clark, nationally known journalist, public relations consultant and community activist. Although she was the Sentinel’s Food Editor, she possessed a unique aggression for news coverage. Clark soared to new heights, taking her columns and stories nationally through syndication.
These three women have left indelible memories for me and by a grateful public, today that tradition lives on.