Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Jayne Kennedy Overton!

I have much love for this statuesque trailblazing sister who was born on this date in Washington, DC.

Jayne Harrison grew up in the Cleveland area suburb of Wickliffe, OH, and began a string of trailblazing firsts. She was a member of the National Honor Society in high school and was her high school class president three consecutive years. In 1969 she became the first African American vice president of Girls State.

Just a year later, she became the first African American to win the Miss Ohio USA pageant and finished fourth runner up in the 1970 Miss USA Pageant.

She did a USO tour with Bob Hope at the close of the Vietnam War, was a dancer on the Dean Martin Show, and thanks to stints in television, movies, advertising contracts for Jovan and the Tab diet soft drink and numerous Ebony/Jet covers she was one of the more recognizable faces of the 70's.

In 1978 she became the first African-American network female sportscaster when she joined the anchor desk for 'The NFL Today' pregame show on CBS for two years. That CBS stint paved the way for the current wave of Black female sportscasters you see on the airwaves now.

She got remarried in 1985 to current husband Bill Overton and is the mother of three daughters. While she isn't in the limelight as much as she was during the 70's and 80's, I still love me some Jayne Kennedy Overton.

Happy birthday, Jayne. May you have many more.

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