Designer Uses Dresses to Fight for Civil Rights

By Arianna Shaw, Avonni Campbell, Amyiah Bucksell and Jaydin Lattimore.

Photos by Smithsonian Museum and Reuters.

Edited by Sean Beach and Corde’ Shaw

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MARCH 16, 2017: In honor of Black History Month, we read a book about an African American major fashion designer. She made fancy party gowns for rich and famous people. She wanted to prove that an African American can be a major dress designer. She was fighting for Civil Rights in her own way. Do you know who she is? Well, we’re going to give you a few facts about her from the book, Fancy Party Gowns, by Deborah Blumenthal, illustrated by Laura Freeman.

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Fact 1: She was born in 1898 and became the “first African American woman to become a designer of couture clothing.”

Fact 2: She designed and made the gowns for Jacqueline Bouvier who became the future first lady of president, John F. Kennedy.

Fact 3: In 1961 she was honored with a Couturier of the Year plaque by New York Fashion Society for the thirty-three Cinderella gowns she designed for a fancy ball in Omaha, Nebraska.

Fact 4: Many of the gowns she made are in the museums, like The Met, N.Y., Smithsonian African American Museum in Washington, D. C. and JFK Presidential Library and Museum.

Her name is Ann Cole Lowe. You can read more about her at:!/search?q=Ann%20cole%20lowe 

Arianna Shaw, Avonni Campbell, and Amyiah Bucksell are third grade scholars and Corde’ Shaw is a 4th grade scholar at Friendship Southeast Academy. Sean Beach is a 9th grade scholar at Friendship Tech Prep Academy.