WASHINGTON - Janet Langhart Cohen, President of Langhart Communications, Emmy-nominated journalist, wife of former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen and author of "Anne and Emmett," a one-act play ,hosted a historic luncheon in honor of Cheryl Brown Henderson, President/CEO of the Brown Foundation at the Willard Hotel. Henderson is the daughter of The Reverend Oliver Brown, namesake plaintiff in the Landmark US Supreme Court Decision of 1954: Brown vs. Board of Education.
This was a significant gathering of transformative figures that have either directly effected African American history or have ancestors that have done so. Indeed these FIRST Ladies or "the Ladies of the First" of African American History highlights the contribution these Americans have made as active and thoughtful agents in the construction of our communities.
Langhart Cohen said "When I think of those who graciously accepted my invitation: the late President Lyndon Baines Johnson's granddaughter; Thurgood Marshall's wife; Madame CJ Walker's great, great granddaughter and the famous abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison's great, great granddaughter. I am so moved and so thankful for the role their families played in the transformation of America."
Langhart Cohen continued "Our luncheon conversation ranged from the need for greater focus on education to the tracing of our genealogies to finding out who we are and where we came from. In sharing these rich stories, a tapestry of history was woven and for a moment I felt we were in the presence of our ancestors" Langhart Cohen added "I intentionally convened in the Ulysses S. Grant Suite at the Willard Hotel to acknowledge Ulysses S. Grant and Abraham Lincoln's contribution to the Emancipation of African Americans."
The room was filled with extraordinary women with a connection to black history including Langhart Cohen who holds many 'firsts'. She was personal mentee and friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., first Black weathercaster in Chicago (WBBM) first African American to host a nationally syndicated television show.
Luncheon hostess, Janet Langhart Cohen invited some of the most notable women in Washington for the celebration:
- Alma Powell wife of Colin Powell, America's first African American
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, first African American to be National Security Advisor, first African American Secretary of State
- A'Leila Bundles; television producer, journalist and great granddaughter of Madam C.J. Walker, first American woman black or white to become a self made millionaire
- Alma Brown, widow of Ron Brown, first African American Chairman of the DNC. Ron Brown was also the first AA Secretary of Commerce
- Lucinda Robb, grand daughter of the Civil Rights President; Lyndon
- Mrs.(Cissy)Thurgood Marshall wife of Justice Thurgood Marshall.
Justice Marshall was the lead attorney on the Brown vs Board decision and the first African American to sit on the US Supreme Court
- Dr. Sharon Malone, wife of the first African American Attorney General, Eric Holder. Sharon is also sister to the first woman to integrate the University of Alabama despite Governor George Wallace standing in the door
- Ann Jordan, wife of Vernon Jordan, Vernon escorted the first female student to integrate the University of Georgia; Vernon Jordan was the personal advisor to President Bill Clinton.
- Alexandra de Borchgrave, great, great daughter of abolitionist, William Lloyd Garrison
ABOUT JANET LANGHART COHEN
Janet Langhart Cohen, President of Langhart Communications, LLC is an Emmy-nominated journalist who began her television career on CBS in Chicago. During her 25-year career, Mrs. Cohen has appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC and BET; hosted ABC's "Good Day in Boston"; covered special assignments for Entertainment Tonight; and produced several programs, including "On Capitol Hill with Janet Langhart". As an overseas correspondent, she covered news in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Throughout her career, Mrs. Cohen interviewed many major newsmakers and leaders of the 20th century. Among the prominent people she interviewed are President Bill Clinton, President Jimmy Carter, Margaret Thatcher, Rosa Parks, Mel Gibson, Bill Cosby, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Denzel Washington, Dan Rather and Larry King.
Mrs. Cohen is the wife of former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen. She was known as "First Lady of the Pentagon," due to her active and visible public role while her husband was in office. Most recently, Mrs. Cohen has written a one-act play of a conversation between Nazi child victim, Anne Frank, and child victim, Emmett Till of the Jim Crow southern United States. Mrs. Cohen is also actively involved in the provision of higher education for underprivileged children.