Dr. Ophelia DeVore-Mitchell in the book, I Dream a World – Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America, Ophelia DeVore-Mitchell states: “I’ve been in communications all of my life. Another extension of what I do is publish the news. I’m one of the founders of the Black Press Archives at Howard University in Washington, DC. We’ve got to write our history in a positive way that documents the great works of those before us who contributed to our positive image.”
As one of the first African-American models in the United States, Dr. DeVore-Mitchell observed the stereotypical depiction’s of African-Americans by the printed and electronic media. She resolved to change this blatant dichotomy. “I didn’t model a long time because it wasn’t my mission to be a model,” she said. “My mission was to have us presented in a way that was not stereotyped. I used the modeling profession to assist in accomplishing this mission.” And so, in 1946 with the assistance of four friends, she founded the Grace Del Marco Model Agency. In 1948 she started the Ophelia DeVore School of Self-Development and Modeling. She was a trailblazer – a pioneer in cosmetics, self-improvement and positive human development for People of Color. Among the tens of thousands of people who have been nurtured by her agency are Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson, Gail Fisher, Richard Roundtree and the late Raymond St. Jacques.
Her family moved to New York in the 1930’s. She excelled in high school classes, mastering Latin, German and French. She majored in mathematics at New York University. Dr. DeVore-Mitchell is a very successful businesswoman. In addition to her modeling and self-development businesses, she is owner of The Columbus Times Newspaper, a daily newspaper (now weekly) based in Columbus, Georgia. In 1970 when her second husband died, she was faced with continuing the 32 year old newspaper. She maintained its journalistic excellence and strong editorial content, with emphasis on primarily African-American life and history.
For her outstanding service, she has received more than 300 awards and honors from corporate, political, educational, governmental and social agencies. She has served as a consultant for some of this country’s Fortune 500 Corporations. In 1985 DeVore-Mitchell was appointed by President Ronald Regan as the New York representative to the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts, the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.
Before it was vogue, Ophelia DeVore-Mitchell knew that “Black is Beautiful.” She was determined to open the doors of opportunity for People of Color, the same opportunities as their white counterparts in every respect. She has always believed in the total emancipation of all women. Dr. DeVore-Mitchell was born in Edgefield, South Carolina, on August 12, 1922.