Virginia Harris

May 22, 2020

Virginia Harris

Leader of 100 Black Women

Ep. 82 – Virginia M. Harris is the current president of the National Coalition of the 100 Black Women organization. Dee Dee Strum conducts the interview providing provacative questions to encourage Virginia to dig deep into her memory bank to share those life-lessons and career making moments that fueled her passion for advocacy. Virginia describes how advocacy was deeply rooted in her since she was a teenager having been one of only three black girls to integrate an all-white high school in a small Georgia town. She believes this to have been the launch pad for a lifetime of activism to eliminate both gender and racial inequity in America.

“Women need to make sure you’re not always the first to leave and the last to show up.”

Sharing the family background to include a father in the military and her mother an educator, Virginia grew up with two sisters with her being “the middle girl”. Her mother taught them all to be smart over feminine because she believed the latter to be a sign of weakness. She wanted all three of her girls to be “smart, strong, and independent in a world dominated by men.” As you listen to Virginia’s journey and accomplishments, you will agree that her mother was both smart and effective!


Top Takeaways:

  • You must have a passionate advocating heart that is ready to give back to drive change.
  • Coming to understanding the mission of the National Coalition of the 100 Black Women provided the home and platform she needed.
  • Empowering and advocating for black women and girls is her fuel.
  • Advice on how the minority communities should handle the impacts of the coronavirus.
  • Understanding and promoting the role of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in offering quality education is as important today as it was yesterday and will continue to be far into the future.
  • The power of a determined woman.


Key Moments:

The childhood influences that made her a lifelong giver. [1:34]

When did she take on the mantle of civic leadership? [5:38]

The role and mission of NCBW in encouraging women to participate in their civil rights in the 21st century. [8:33]

NCBW 2020's current agenda for tackling disparities in the areas of health, education, and economic empowerment. [11:54]

Advice for responding to the physical and mental strains caused by the novel coronavirus. [14:54]

Faith-based organizations and banks are offering help to local communities. [16:35]

The role of the alumni on giving back to HBCUs. [19:22]

HBCUs ARE still relevant. [22:24]

What difference was there between the HBCU and the graduate school she attended? [24:28]

Being the first woman of color executive in the Gwinnett (GA) county government. [26:20]

Survival strategies for a black woman working to become a breakthrough woman [30:08]