After curating an exhibit of photos from photographer, John W. Mosley for her thesis project, Cheryl Woodruff-Brooks completed her first book, Chicken Bone Beach: A Pictorial History of Atlantic City’s Missouri Avenue Beach (Sunbury Press) in 2017, which was nominated for a 2017 Literary Award with the Schomburg Center in New York City, used in classrooms at Purdue University and referenced in The Oxford Handbook of American Folklore and Folklife Studies. Cheryl has been involved in speaking engagements discussing Chicken Bone Beach, including an event called, Black Girl Beach Day which took place on the sands of historical Chicken Bone Beach, Rowan University, and the Atlantic City Historical Museum. Cheryl has been interviewed by several newspapers such as the Philadelphia Tribune, celebrity strategist and on-air radio personality Dyana Williams of Philadelphia’s Radio One, IHeart Radio, podcasts, and online radio stations. Cheryl is also a professional singer/songwriter, writing songs for her own music projects and for other artists.
GOLDEN BEAUTY BOSS: THE STORY OF MADAME SARA SPENCER WASHINGTON & THE APEX EMPIRE
Cheryl Woodruff-Brooks has created the first biography of the life of Madame Sara Spencer Washington, founder of Apex News and Hair Company, once located in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In 1911, a Virginia entrepreneur moved to Atlantic City and started selling cosmetics door-to-door and styling hair in her basement, growing her business into an empire. Sara opened a manufacturing company creating hundreds of products and hired 45,000 sales agents all over the world. Madame Sara Spencer Washington also opened beauty schools in twelve states. Sara was honored at the New York World’s Trade Fair in 1939 as one of the “Most Distinguished Businesswomen.” She continued to expand Apex internationally, doing business in Haiti and South Africa. Madame Washington acquired millionaire status in the 1940s, taking on roles as a civic leader, and philanthropist. Cheryl takes you through the history of Apex from its inception until its dissolution after Sara’s death in 1953, sharing details of her life as she faced discrimination while earning the respect of all races along her journey.
Cheryl's book can be purchased at the following locations:
AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE MUSEUM OF SOUTHERN NJ - ATLANTIC CITY
Uncle Bobbie's Coffee & Books
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Photo credits: Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection of John W. Mosley at Temple University. (Temple Libraries)
The photos shown were taken by John W. Mosley, a self-taught photographer from Philadelphia. After Mosley's death, his family donated his large collection to the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection. John and Charles were colleages who both made significant contributions to the preservation of African-American history in the United States.