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As the founder and chairperson of Urban One, the largest black owned media company in the nation, Cathy Hughes’ mission has always been to provide a platform for voices of color. In As We Climb, she discovers further evidence that the tenacity, drive and commitment to change that propelled her to where she is today, are inevitable manifestations of the character of the women who came before her.

As a young girl, Ms. Hughes never had to look further than her community for models of strength and determination. Ms. Hughes mother, grandmother and aunts played heavily in her upbringing, teaching her the importance of raising one’s voice and standing for what one believes in. In an intimate anecdote, she recalls letting a heavy protest sign slip to the ground as a young girl and learning quickly the importance of making your message heard.

Through a discovery on Ancestry, Ms. Hughes finds Charlotta Pyles, her great great grandmother, an inspiring symbol of the fight Black women have always possessed in their pursuit of better lives not just for themselves but also for their families. Charlotta’s ability to take her family from enslavement to prosperity demonstrates the strategic thinking, dedication to family and perseverance that were inherited by Ms. Hughes’ grandmother, mother and Ms. Hughes herself.

Charlotta offers Ms. Hughes another example of her family’s strength and tenacity, characteristics that have always kept her inspired and on her path. Through her discovery she finds further evidence of how important it is to know who you come from.

“I might have been the first woman president of the United States if I had known about Charlotta sooner!”

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