Barbara Hayes wants blacks to wear their heritage proudly
As the founder of Blacks 'N Facts, Barbara Hayes is out to expand public knowledge of black history.
Included on the mugs ($5.50) and shirts ($15) she designs are names and dates of African kingdoms, slave revolts and black inventors.
"I wanted people to know that more than a handful of people shaped black heritage," says Dr. Hayes, who has her Ph.D in education and teaches at the Patuxent Institution, a prison in Jessup.
The idea came to her years ago when she was a city school teacher and realized her students had only a fleeting interest in black culture. "I needed something that would capture their attention and tell a story," says the thirty-something woman.
Currently, she has been selling the items at flea markets but is negotiating with several stores to carry the line.
The response has been so positive, she says, that her husband Clarence and teen-age son Myron often graciously pitch in as models and salespeople.
"But," she adds, "they're also my first critics." Gail Bending didn't climb the corporate ladder; she tackled it.
A dozen years ago, she was a nervous intern at Channel 2, trying to keep out of everyone's way and learn a bit about the business. Today, she's the on-air manager for Channel 13, supervising all news and special programming for the station.
"I worked hard, but I think I had some very lucky breaks," explains Ms. Bending, 33, who lives in Bel Air.
The work came in the form of 12-hour days and weekends devoted to her craft. The breaks arrived when bosses listened to her pleas to produce and direct.
As a mass communications student at Towson State University in the late '70s, she was planning to become a newspaper reporter when her mother urged her to try TV. Halfheartedly, she took an internship with Channel 2.
"I really, really liked television," she discovered. "It really was a vehicle to translate emotional and human drama."
Despite her hectic schedule, she's learned the importance of making time for herself. Her "work tranquilizers," as she calls them, are aerobics, swimming and riding a mountain bike.
There's one other important lesson Ms. Bending has learned along the way.
"Mothers," she says, "are always right."
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