Valerie is part of a team of reporters writing about race, gender, identity and values.

Latest Stories

Ena Veronica Lindner Swain, author, Johnson House historian, dies at 88

A history class at Temple University motivated Mrs. Swain to start scholarly research and she began a 50-year quest to study the abolition movement in Germantown.

Historians throw shade at colorism conflict in Netflix’s ‘Self Made’ Madam C.J. Walker series

A panel of historians said they understood the use of “artistic license” to heighten the drama, but the film overstepped. Even when the entire creative team is African American, one scholar said, “that doesn’t mean we can’t wave the flag if there is a problem.”

Sally Shorr, homemaker and former Weight Watchers lecturer, dies at 106

“She was a vibrant, strong force. She did not live to 106 by being gentle. She was a tough cookie,” Saul Shorr said of his mother, Sally Shorr, who died March 21, 2020. Mrs. Shorr became a popular Weight Watchers lecturer after she lost 125 pounds.

Clementine Carroll, Defense Department worker; OIC official, dies at 93

Ms. Carroll, 93, who worked at the U.S. Navy Aviation Supply Office, and later for OIC, died Wednesday, March 11.

Remembering a cultural historian and hip-hop scholar whose ‘Spady School’ reshaped the lives of Penn students

James Spady seemed to know not only everything but everybody, including a galaxy of African-American greats ranging from writer James Baldwin and poet Sonia Sanchez to the Funkadelic George Clinton and rapper Tupac Shakur. In his plastic grocery bags, he carried the tapes to prove it.

Philadelphia councilmember introduces bill to ban discrimination based on natural hairstyles

If Cherelle Parker's bill passes, Philadelphia would become the first municipality in Pennsylvania to ban discrimination against African Americans who wear their hair in braids, dreadlocks, and twists, or ornamented with beads and barrettes.

Mildred V. Jackson, former Rosie the Riveter at Navy Yard, and retail worker, dies at 96

Mrs. Jackson attended public schools and graduated from Germantown High School. During World War II, she worked as a “Rosie the Riveter,” the nickname given to women who joined the war effort, at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, said her daughter, Alma Reese.

A new generation of black female economists revives a Philly lawyer’s legacy with the Sadie Collective

They may not face the same racism and discrimination that Sadie T.M. Alexander encountered at Penn, but for young women in a field like economics, it can still be a lonely pursuit.

From indentured servant to university benefactor: This man’s $10,000 gift helped Villanova survive

Until Angelina Lincoln began researching the remarkable lives of William Moulden and his wife, Juliana, for her master’s degree, nearly everything that university administrators knew about them fit into a blurb on Villanova’s website.

Julia M. Perez, former nurse and mental health worker, known for her generosity, dies at 87

Mrs. Perez died Friday, Feb. 7, 2020 at the Edgehill Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. “If all my mother had was $5, and you needed money, she would give you every penny of it,” her daughter, Lonna Evans, said. “She never cared about material things. She wanted to help people."