Monday, September 25, 2017
Fashion Industry Pioneer and Newspaper Publisher Is Remembered As Trailblazer
By Sentinel News Service
Published March 6, 2014

Ophelia DeVore

Dr. Ophelia DeVore Mitchell Dies at Age 93

Dr. Ophelia DeVore (Mitchell) died peacefully on Friday, February 28, 2014. She was 92.

Known for her pioneer efforts in the fields of beauty, fashion, modeling, and entertainment, Dr. DeVore Mitchell was the first mixed race/African American high fashion model in Harlem-New York City, NY in the late 40s.  Dr. DeVore Mitchell exemplified power, pride, presence and beauty in African American women. Over the years, she added newspaper owner/publisher, business executive, producer and consultant to her long list of accomplishments.  She traveled extensively in the U.S., Europe, Africa, Asia, Central America and the Caribbean.

Dr. DeVore Mitchell was born on August 22, 1921 in Edgefield, South Carolina to the late Mr. John DeVore and Mrs. Mary Strother DeVore. She was the last surviving offspring of the DeVores. Her brothers were John, Claude, Joseph, Walter and Hammond; and her sisters were Blanche, Precola, Ruth and Dorothea.

She attended southern segregated schools as a child, but eventually went to live with an aunt in New York City, where she graduated from Hunter College High School before going on to major in mathematics at New York University.  During this time, Dr. DeVore Mitchell began doing occasional modeling jobs and became one of the first non-White fashion models in the United States.  At the age of 16 she was traveling and working for Ebony magazine.

In 1946, she enrolled in the Vogue School of Modeling, which until that time had excluded women of Color.  Later that year, she, along with four of her colleagues, founded the Grace Del Marco Modeling Agency as a way to help create opportunities for models of Color. In 1948, she created The Ophelia DeVore School of Self-Development and Modeling.   She opened the doors of modeling and television in the late 40s and early 50s for men and women of African American heritage and other minorities in the United States of America.

For her outstanding service, she received more than 300 awards and honors and was named one of the 75 Black women who changed America in the “I Dream a World” series.

Dr. DeVore Mitchell had five children with her first husband, Harold Carter, whom she married in 1941. She married her second husband, Columbus News publisher Vernon Mitchell, in 1968.  She is survived by her five children; they are Mrs. Carol Carter Gertjegerdes (Helmut)-Columbus, GA; Mr. James DeVore Carter (Gayle)-New York, NY; Dr. Marie Carter Moore-Los Angeles, CA; Mrs. Cheryl Carter Parks-Pittsburgh, PA; and Mr. Michael Carter (Sherry)-Tampa, FL. She has 16 great grandchildren.

There will be a memorial service in Columbus, GA.  Send condolences to:  The Family of Ophelia DeVore Mitchell, c/o The Columbus Times Newspaper, 2230 Buena Vista Road, Columbus, GA 31906. In lieu of flowers please send donations.

See the full story on the life of Ophelia DeVore Mitchell at


Categories: Celebration of Life

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