Wednesday, September 7

There she is...

Did you know the first Atlantic City Pageant was held held Sept. 7-8, 1921 in Atlantic City, N.J.?

Margaret Gorman

Now known as the Miss America Pageant, it began in an attempt to keep tourists in Atlantic City after the Labor Day weekend.

Representing cities and states, 16-year-old
Margaret Gorman attended as Miss Washington, D.C., due to her "athletic ability, past accomplishments, and outgoing personality." Gorman was the grand prize winner of the three-foot Golden Mermaid trophy.

She was invited to join the Second Annual Atlantic City Pageant as honored guest Miss America, and is the only Miss America to receive her crown at the end of the year.

Of course I was interested to find out that no African American women participated until 1970, although African Americans did appear as slaves in musical numbers as far back as 1923.

Vanessa Williams became the first African-American woman to be crowned Miss America in 1984, but resigned from her duties after a scandal. The remaining seven weeks of the year were fulfilled by first runner-up Suzette Charles (who was biracial).

Personally, I find it fascinating (illogical?) that one year after the Nineteenth Amendment was passed (and ratified) finally giving U.S. women the right to vote, one of the longest running beauty pageants began.

Excuse me, organizers now refer to it as a scholarship pageant.

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