The following chapters are written as a collection of “memories” on many experiences I have had over the past sixty-nine years of my life.   I was inspired to write “Memories” as a result of a meeting I had with the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.

In our meeting, he shared with me a few problems we had in securing fi rst-class accommodations at a New York City hotel.   

I reminded him that as a former Vice-President of a travel agency, I knew what had transpired was inappropriate, not in accord with the standard hotel hospitality procedures with which I had become familiar.

Upon completion of my noting the improprieties, The Minister sat back and in a quiet tone said to me, “Sister, you have done much, had many experiences and seem to know a great deal of people.   We must one day sit down and talk of your experiences.” I was touched by his words. 

Later, when I reflected on our conversation, the floodgates of my mind opened as vivid memories came as waves traced to my pen as I began to write “Memories”.   I was overwhelmed remembering so many experiences that were allowed by God.

  

 

Love of family, close friendships, the people I’ve met, the places I’ve traveled, and the work I’ve done have been challenging, exhilarating, enlightening, passionate, motivating, sometimes on the edge, painful and even horrific. All of which have molded and shaped my life making me the person I am today. All experiences in one’s life are, indeed, a teaching tool, a learning device to help one get to the next step in life. I have climbed many ladders, yet I am not tired because I truly believe God is not through with me. No, not yet.

After graduating from high school, I became actively involved in politics. I was a member of the Young Democrats. I also took up modeling, enrolling in John Robert Powers School of Modeling, one of the most prestigious modeling schools in the country. Many of the models went to a certain beauty salon in San Diego to get their hair done, especially prior to a modeling assignment. I made an appointment.  I noticed that for hours I sat and no one came to assist me. Finally, I asked for the manager and he told me, “We don’t do colored people’s hair.” Here it was in the mid-1950’s, I had never actually faced racism to know it, and was now being slapped in the face with racism. I got their business card, confirmed that I actually had a reservation, and took the manager’s name. I then went to the President of the N.A.A.C.P., who took me to an attorney. A law suit was fi led.

During the court hearing, the Judge said, “My wife is Hungarian, she has soft-like hair, hard to manage. I would hate to even think that if she went to that beauty salon, she would be turned down because of the texture of her hair.” After I took the witness stand, and my lawyer fi nished with the owner of that beauty salon, the Judge favored me. I won my civil law suit. It was in the headlines of The San Diego  Tribune, the neighborhood local press, and radio news, “Claudette Won!” I continued my course at the modeling school, and sent many of my Black girlfriends to that beauty salon, who had by then hired a Black beautician to take care of their Black clients.

Beauty Has No Race