During Black History Month, we commemorate the achievements of those featured in Who's Who In Black, highlighting their significant contributions to various fields. From activists to innovators, these individuals inspire us with their resilience and dedication, shaping a future defined by equality, diversity, and inclusion in our society.
  • Kermitt Waddell: The Power of We
    Kermitt Waddell: The Power of We
  • Courtis Fuller: Cincinnati’s Favorite TV Personality
    Courtis Fuller: Cincinnati’s Favorite TV Personality
  • Fran Frazier: Spiritual Leader, Women’s Advocate, Heroine
    Fran Frazier: Spiritual Leader, Women’s Advocate, Heroine
  • Kathryn M. Hall: The Diversity Maven
    Kathryn M. Hall: The Diversity Maven
Kermitt Waddell: The Power of We

Hailing from a lineage of activists, Mr. Kermitt Waddell, Esq. has carved a remarkable legacy by embodying the philosophy that it Is not about “i ism” or “me ism,” but about “we-ism” and “us-ism.”  His unwavering commitment to community-driven progress and inclusivity has left an indelible mark on his hometown of Charlotte. As a proud graduate of Second Ward High School, where his own uncle held the esteemed position of being the final principal, and a graduate of North Carolina Central Law School, Waddell’s path has been a profound embodiment of advocacy, education, and empowerment.

Rooted in his belief that collective efforts supersede individual interests, Waddell has been the guiding force behind his endeavors. Having spent his entire life in Charlotte, he possesses a deep understanding of the needs and aspirations of its residents.

One of Waddell’s pivotal roles was as the inaugural director of the Minority Affairs Office within the county government. During his tenure, he demonstrated his commitment to empowering marginalized neighborhoods. He educated them about their representatives so they could navigate government for essential services and funding for neighborhood improvement.

After his impactful stint in the Minority Affairs Office, Waddell assumed the position of special assistant to the regional director for the Charlotte Regional Census office which covered five states including the District of Columbia. His efforts to promote accurate census counting became pivotal for the BIPOC community. Recognizing the mistrust surrounding the census, he established committees led by minorities to foster trust within communities. This approach yielded a more accurate census count leading to better allocation of government funds and resources for community betterment. 

After leaving the census office, Waddell spent time working on various projects before being nominated by Congressman Mel Watt of Charlotte to serve on the African American Advisory Committee to the US Census Bureau. He was appointed to the committee by the Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown and was elected chairperson. He chaired the committee for seven and a half years developing better strategies to communicate to various racial, ethnic and community groups to ensure that all persons were accurately counted.

For 18 years, Waddell served as the vice president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP. This role epitomized his commitment to uplifting the underrepresented. Through his leadership, he advocated for justice, equality, and empowerment, aligning with the NAACP’s enduring mission.

Mr. Kermitt Waddell’s life is a testament to the power of “we-ism” and “us-ism.” His legacy is one of unity, empowerment, and positive change. Through his multifaceted contributions as a community organizer, census advocate, and NAACP leader, he has redefined the narrative of activism, emphasizing the collective journey towards a better future.

Kermitt Waddell was originally featured in the 2023 edition of Who’s Who In Black Charlotte

Courtis Fuller: Cincinnati’s Favorite TV Personality

Courtis Fuller, a Hall of Fame broadcast journalist, stands as a beacon of journalistic excellence and community service, with a career spanning nearly 44 years. For the past 35 years, he has been the trusted news anchor for the Cincinnati NBC affiliate WLWT-TV, earning him numerous accolades and recognitions.

In 2023, Fuller was honored with induction into the inaugural class of the WLWT Hall of Fame, a testament to his enduring impact on the field. His achievements extend beyond the newsroom, as a multi-Emmy award winner and a prestigious 2021 inductee into the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Silver Circle.

Throughout his illustrious career, Fuller has received countless awards, including recognition from the Central Florida Association of Black Journalists and Broadcasters Hall of Fame. His excellence in journalism and unwavering commitment to the community has earned him acclaim from the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, the Cincinnati Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press, United Press International, the Orlando Press Club, and the Cleveland Press Club.

Cincinnati City Council acknowledged Fuller’s contributions in 2022 with a resolution honoring his broadcasting career. The Hamilton County Commission went a step further by dedicating a day in his honor in 2021. He has been the recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award, the Glorifying The Lion Award from The Urban League in 2022, and the Legend Award from the YMCA, showcasing his impact on both journalism and community service.

Known as one of Cincinnati’s Men of Honor, Fuller has consistently demonstrated leadership and commitment. He played a pivotal role in renaming an inner-city street in honor of high school honor student Derrick Turnbow, who tragically lost his life. Additionally, he spearheaded efforts to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s historic entry into Major League Baseball and conceived the idea for an eight-day Cincinnati Jazz and Heritage Festival.

In 2001, Fuller temporarily stepped away from the anchor desk to enter the political arena, gaining international attention by winning the primary election in his bid to become Cincinnati’s first directly elected mayor in 75 years. Although he didn’t secure the mayoral seat, he returned to WLWT-TV in 2003 after hosting his own talk show on WCIN radio.

Beyond his media career, Fuller is a sought-after speaker and event host, contributing to various causes and organizations. He is also a Cancer survivor.

His involvement spans from the MLK Jr. Coalition King Day to the Council of Christian Communions and the NAACP Freedom Fund. Currently, he serves as an advisory board member for the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation, reflecting his commitment to education and the future of journalism.

In 2010, a scholarship was established in Fuller’s name to support young aspiring journalists in pursuing their dreams. His philosophy on journalism is encapsulated in his own words, “Journalism is a mirror that society holds up to itself.”

He emphasizes the importance of diverse perspectives in media and echoes the advice of his mentor, Cincinnati broadcaster Ernest Waits Sr.

“Journalists must be change agents and truth seekers through their reporting and community connectedness because everyone has a story.”

As Fuller continues to let his light shine through impactful journalism and community service, he exemplifies the words from Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine that others may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

Courtis Fuller was originally featured in the 2023 edition of Who’s Who In Black Cincinnati

Fran Frazier: Spiritual Leader, Women’s Advocate, Heroine

From childhood, it was instilled in then Frances Curtis that her last name is a mantle to uphold with great pride and dignity. This expectation of excellence transferred directly into her academic performance as the Philadelphia native earned straight A’s throughout elementary and high school.

Though she had outstanding academic success, Frazier chose an alternative and non-traditional career route upon her high school graduation. She had her sights set on becoming a volunteer. Her newfound passion came as a surprise to her parents, but she still accepted the calling. By the age of 18, Frazier was taking care of maternally deprived babies at Johns Hopkins University, and overcoming the challenges of living in a broken down convent and even being harassed by the KKK.

Frazier was later introduced to the head of Norfolk State University’s Special Education program. Though a newly emerging field at the time, Frazier recalls working with the special needs community “just felt like the right thing.” She earned a cum laude Bachelor of Science in Special Education from Norfolk State University and a Master of Arts in Learning Disabilities and Behavioral Disorders from The Ohio State University, then gained employment as a special education teacher. By this time, she had been married and widowed within two years of meeting her husband. She “threw herself into her work and in volunteering,” fully immersing herself in philanthropic outreach in Columbus.   

Noticing an overwhelming gap in the fulfillment of the needs for Black women and girls in her community, Frazier created the “The Angel in You: Life Preparation for Girls’’ after-school program. The initiative reached over 1,000 girls, teaching them that they are the “lotus of their own control” and “girls of real power” as Frazier recalls. Later, at the invitation of a partnership with the Ohio Department of Mental Health, she conducted an in-depth research study, entitled “Placing Black Girls At Promise: Rise, Sister Rise Research Study.” The groundbreaking study identified the lived experiences of Black girls and received recognition locally, state-wide, and nationally.

As the administrator for Cultural Initiatives for the Department of Human Services/Department of Job and Family Services, Frazier has spearheaded multiple state-wide programs supporting minority children and families. A decorated consultant for both the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Urban School Districts of Ohio, her “Safe Place” school survey has provided high school girls with trauma-informed programming.

In 2015, Frazier founded the “Black Girl Rising, Inc. Think Tank” to provide a safe environment for young African American women as they analyze and discuss critical areas affecting their quality of life. As co-chair of the Columbus Commission on Black Girls, Frazier also assists in creating practices improving the vitality of Black women in Columbus and Central Ohio.

“I have lived my life intuitively,” she says warmly. “I do and go where I feel led.”

Frazier holds a YWCA Woman of Achievement Award in Racial Justice for her profound innovation in cultural competency training and programming. She has received many honors and awards for her work, including Franklin County Children Services’ Community Award, the African American Leaders Achievement Award, and induction into History Makers. Her work is also included in the Library of Congress of the United States.

“I believe when you live out your purpose there’s no lack of anything,” she says. “It is all about obedience!”

Fran Frazier was originally featured in the 2023 edition of Who’s Who In Black Columbus

Kathryn M. Hall: The Diversity Maven

With more than 20 years’ experience in the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion, Ms. Kathryn M. Hall is the Corporate Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for JACK Entertainment. Affectionately known as “Ms. Fix It,” Hall’s mission is to provide resources to those in need.

“I have the ability to change people’s lives in this role overnight,” she says.

In her role, Hall oversees workplace culture, team member engagement, community outreach, vendor relations, sponsorship requests, and more. “Diversity touches every aspect of our business,” she reflects. “It’s one of the most diverse places I’ve ever worked.”

Hall also uses her position at JACK to uplift financial equity in the minority community. “People who are diverse do vote with their dollars. There’s one color nobody discriminates against, and that’s green,” she says with a smile, “And that’s my tagline.”

When asked which role prepared her most for her current position, Hall replied, “I think the experience of them all. Just the rough and tumble of doing the work for decades… I sharpened a different diversity skill at each place.”

Her passion for helping others and deep commitment to the community are displayed in her actions, from welcoming new people to Cleveland and mentoring young professionals to opening her home to special friends. A self-declared “advocate for young professionals,” Hall believes it is her responsibility to share what she knows and open doors for them.

Hall views diversity as something to embrace, and not fear. She sees the differences between groups as powerful tools for unification, and as a result, Hall is regarded as a leader in nontraditional approaches to inclusion and supplier diversity. She is frequently sought out for her expertise locally and nationally.

She is actively involved in the community, serving numerous organizations including the Urban League of Greater Cleveland, Woman of Color Foundation, The Commission on Economic Inclusion, The UNCF of Northeast Ohio Leadership Council, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, 2023 Career Woman of Achievement Host Committee and the Legacy Champion Committee for the BPACF. She is also Chairperson of Step Forward, and was recently added to the Engagement Committee for the Downtown Cleveland Alliance.

Born and raised in Cleveland, she graduated from John Hay High School. Hall received her undergraduate degree from Baldwin Wallace University and a Masters in Psychology with an emphasis in Diversity Management from Cleveland State. She is also a Certified Diversity Professional, and received her Executive Coaching Certification from Weatherhead School of Management.

An early participant of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion educational movement, Hall reflects, “I don’t just do the work, I have a masters degree in doing the work.”

Hall has been named as one Crain’s Cleveland Business Notable Executives in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. She is also a proud member of the United Way of Greater Cleveland Equity Leadership Council, in which she addresses diversity and inclusion challenges across Northeast Ohio. A YWCA of Greater Cleveland’s Career Women of Achievement award winner, she sees this as her proudest accomplishment.

An avid sports fan, Hall celebrates her Cleveland pride by being a lifelong Cleveland Browns fan and Cavaliers season ticket holder for twenty years. When she is not cheering on her hometown teams, she enjoys collecting fine art, traveling and doting on her nearly 100 year old mother.

Kathryn M. Hall was originally featured in the 2023 edition of Who’s Who In Black Cleveland