by Joah Spearman and Louis Harrison, Jr.
University of Texas Press, 2010
eISBN: 978-0-292-79280-7 | Paper: 978-0-292-71832-6 | Cloth: 978-0-292-72301-6
Library of Congress Classification E185.96.S684 2010
Dewey Decimal Classification 920.009296073


All young people need good role models, and black youth especially need positive and real examples beyond the famous and wealthy people they see on SportsCenter highlights and MTV Cribs. While success as a celebrity athlete or entertainer may seem like an achievable dream, the reality is that young African Americans have a much greater chance of succeeding in the professions through education and hard work—and a mentor to show them the path. Real Role Models introduces high school and college-age African Americans to twenty-three black professionals who have achieved a high level of success in their chosen fields and who tell their stories to inspire young people to pursue a professional career and do the work necessary to achieve their dreams.

Some of the individuals profiled by Joah Spearman and Louis Harrison, Jr., include Leonard Pitts, Pulitzer Prize–winning columnist for the Miami Herald; Melody Barnes, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council; Danyel Smith, editor-in-chief of Vibe; and Dr. Tim George, Chief of Pediatric Neuroscience at Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas. They and other interviewees describe their backgrounds, career paths, and desire to give back by helping others reach their goals. Representing a wide range of occupations, these real role models prove to African American youths that a whole world of successful, rewarding careers awaits them.

The Real Role Models

  • Rufus Cormier, JD, Partner at the Baker Botts Law Firm, Houston, Texas

  • Melody Barnes, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, Washington, D.C.

  • Eric Motley, PhD, Managing Director of the Aspen Institute's Henry Crown Fellowship Program, Aspen, Colorado

  • James McIntyre, Spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington, D.C.

  • Tracie Hall, Assistant Dean and Librarian at Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois

  • Kimberlydawn Wisdom, MD, Surgeon General of the State of Michigan, Lansing, Michigan

  • Timothy George, MD, Chief of Pediatric Neuroscience at Dell Children's Medical Center, Austin, Texas

  • Victoria Holloway Barbosa, MD, Ethnic Dermatologist and Former Executive for L'Oreal, Chicago, Illinois

  • Bill Douglas, White House Correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers, Washington, D.C.

  • Leonard Pitts, Jr., Columnist for the Miami Herald, Miami, Florida

  • Danyel Smith, Editor of Vibe Magazine, New York, New York

  • Ed Stewart, Managing Director of External Communications for Delta Airlines, Atlanta, Georgia

  • Lynn Tyson, Vice President of Investor Relations for Dell, Austin, Texas

  • Willie Miles, Jr., Founder and CEO of Miles Wealth Management, Houston, Texas

  • Horace Allen, Founder and CEO of TeamPact, Atlanta, Georgia

  • Deavra Daughtry, President and CEO of Excellent Care Management, Houston, Texas

  • Je'Caryous Johnson, Founder and CEO of I'm Ready Productions, Houston, Texas

  • Steve Jones, Cofounder of a graphic design company, Oakland, California

  • Isiah Warner, PhD, Chemistry Professor at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

  • Gloria Ladson-Billings, PhD, Professor of Education at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin

  • Bernard Muir, Athletic Director at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

  • Craig Littlepage, Athletic Director at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

  • Beverly Kearney, Women's Track Coach at the University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas