Connecting the Dots Foundation, Inc. celebrates National Women’s History Month with notable women


By Janice K. Neal-Vincent, Ph.D.,
Contributing Writer,

Sykes Elementary School music educator – Kurtina Cyntel Maholmes

There comes a time in her life when a woman must plot her own path. As she evolves – not a carbon copy of others – she comes to know who she is. She has learned to walk in her own light. In her truth, she has a glow like no other person with whom she has heard about, or has had contact. Therein lies the beauty of her authentic self which stands out to others.
In deference to Women’s History Month, Connecting the Dots Foundation, Inc., under the leadership of Dr. Marilyn Johnson-Luckett (founder and CEO) held in high regard six Mississippi women for their dedication, professionalism and passion for their chosen fields. They were brought to the podium at Jackson Convention Complex Center in downtown Jackson last Saturday evening at 6 p.m. Vision, experience and potential ushered them to their honoring amidst a supportive crowd.
Melanie Christopher of WJTV -TV 12 and Troy Johnson of WAPT – TV 16 served as program guides with aplomb. With not a second or minute to waste, they chartered the evening’s course. They held the audience captive throughout their enchanting stories of the honorees’ contributions to their communities, Mississippi and beyond.
Dr. Beverly Wade Hogan has channeled her career as a public administrator, educator, community leader, philanthropist and humanitarian. The President Emerita headed Tougaloo College for 17 years. Prior to that time, she was the interim president, vice president for institutional advancement and founding director of the George A. and Ruth B. Owens Health, Wellness and Human Resources Center. She was the first African American appointed to commissioner of the Workers’ Compensation Commission and executive director of the Governor’s Office of Federal State Programs. Additionally, the International Women’s Forum (2018) recognized her as one of five women who impact the world.

Allison Morris Cox

Allison Morris Cox – executive director of the Jackson Housing Authority – is president of Mississippi Association of Affordable Housing Providers. The University of Mississippi alumna realized the need for affordable housing, despite inequities dispersed in America as a Northwest Housing Authority employee. Stiff competition among the nation’s Housing Authorities prodded her as an employee by Jackson Housing Authority to create its first Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program that has grown to assisting more than 1,100 people monthly and expends more than $7,000,000 annually. The honoree corresponds with minority contractors in the revitalization of ongoing community and state projects.

Honoree Cynthia Goodloe Palmer expresses gratitude.

Cynthia Goodloe Palmer attended Tougaloo College and later studied at Belhaven University and Phillips College. The distinguished recording artist was the first gospel singer to perform at the famous Royal Albert Hall and the first gospel singer to sing at the Jewish synagogue in Dayton, Ohio. Her performance record reveals a sojourn of 35 of the United States, Alaska, Canada, Bermuda, Trinidad, Tobago, Germany, France, Brazil and Holland. Palmer is a 3-time award winner at the Mississippi Gospel Music Awards, and she has sung to women who were on death row at the Alabama State Prison. Since 2012, she has been the executive director for the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Right Movement.

Councilwoman Virgi Lindsay

Councilwoman Virgi Lindsay has outstandingly served the Belhaven Community. For 15 years, she was the first executive director of the Greater Belhaven Foundation. Hence, Belhaven was named one of ten Great Places in America. She became Woman of the Year by the Mississippi Commission on the Status of Women. The two-time Ward 7 city councilwoman is a University of Southern Mississippi graduate and was a public relations and marketing director at Jackson Public Schools and the Mississippi Arts Commission. She volunteers at Downtown Jackson Partners Advisory Board, We Will Go Ministries, Belhaven Home and Garden Club.

Attorney Vangela Wade

Attorney Vangela M. Wade, president and CEO of the Mississippi Center for Justice (MCJ), a nonprofit, public interest law firm, advances racial and economic justice. She has grown MCJ’s programming, grown its revenue, and expanded its national voice. The 30-year veteran in Mississippi law seeks systemic solutions to ensure equity in the lives of Mississippians. She was recently appointed to the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s Planning Committee for Empowering Justice 40 communities. Wade led MCJ to receive the 2022 National Bar Association Women Lawyers Division’s 50th Anniversary Impact Award. In 2021, the Black Voices for Black Justice Fund chose her as one of 19 national Black Voices for Black Justice honorees and recognized her with a $50,000 honorarium, which she donated to the MCJ education project. Wade earned her law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law.

Representative Alyce G. Clarke

Representative Alyce G. Clarke (special honoree) has an esteemed and laudable 38-year legislative career in the Mississippi House of Representatives. Clarke, the first African-American female elected to the Mississippi Legislature, has served Mississippians with honor and intrepid dignity. Despite discrimination, she stood tall in her work with her colleagues for the good of Mississippians. An astute politician, Clarke introduced over 1,500 bills. She worked tirelessly to push the state’s most impactful programs to fruition. The 1986 “Born Free Act,” the Mississippi’s International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, the Alyce G. Clarke Mississippi Lottery Law are a few that come to mind.The district 69 community champion has an exemplary 60-year record of service. Sprinkled among those services are: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority; Pecan Tree Park Neighborhood Association; National Multiple Sclerosis Society; Alcorn State University Alumni Association; Jackson Takes a Stand (Jackson State University) Advisory Council; National Association of Drug Court Professionals; Connecting the Dots Foundation; and National Association of Mississippi Public Health Association. Among the special honoree’s awards are: the only female portrait which hangs in the state’s capitol; Fannie Lou Hamer Award; Medgar Evers Award; Outstanding Volunteers Award; Policymakers Leadership Award; Leadership and Community Service Award.

Other elements of the event occurred. In addition to awards presented to the event’s honorees, $1000 scholarships, along with $1500 Alyce G. Clarke scholarships, were distributed. Entertainment was rendered by the Tougaloo Jazz Ensemble, Kurtina Cyntel Maholmes, Eden Desotell and Allie Schultz of Ballet Magnificat and Olivia Bonds (Miss Sweetheart World 2024).
Further, Governors Tate Reeves, Ray Mabus and Ronnie Musgrove, and Congressman Bennie Thompson, provided well-wishes to Connecting the Dots Foundation and attendees.


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.