Jada Wright-Greene, current member of the Gamma Theta Omega, published a book entitled Florida’s Historic African American Homes (Images of America). This book documents the sunshine state’s rich history of African Americans who have contributed to the advancement and growth of today. Wright-Greene writes, “from slaves to millionaires, African Americans from all walks of life resided in cabins, homes, and stately mansions. The lives of millionaires, educators, businessmen, community leaders, and innovators in Florida’s history are explored in each residence.” Jada Wright-Greene has curated images from archives, libraries, and universities throughout Florida and the nation that tell the story and give a glimpse into the intimate lives of African American Floridians who changed history.

Jada Wright-Greene is the Founder & President of Heritage Salon, the first and only electronic magazine dedicated to promoting African American museums, historical sites, and homes. She has worked in the museum field as a museum activist, independent museum professional, writer, and lecturer for over 10 years. Jada was raised in North Florida and is an alumnus of Bethune-Cookman University, Michigan State University, and Johns Hopkins University. As a lover of Black history, Jada is committed to telling the stories of Black Floridians.

Jada has been profiled on The Root website as one of 8 Hot Causes for Black Philanthropists and was named one of Michigan’s Phenomenal Women by Michigan Women’s Forum in 2011.

You can purchase her book on Amazon by clicking this link. Floridians make some noise in the comments!

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Even with the most meticulous planning and preparation, life may not always look the way you expected. The world has a way of throwing curveballs but even in the midst of changing situations, you still have an opportunity to bloom.

Life is filled with twists and turns that take us down unfamiliar roads. While you may not be able to direct the route, you can control how you navigate it. Your attitude, your mindset and your choices are all within your control. So be mindful in choosing how you react to life’s circumstances. This spring, we’re urging you to make the choice to find beauty and opportunity in the place where you have been planted. That may look like a change in your career path, heading back to school, or forming new relationships.

Psalm 37:23 (NLT) says, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” God has planted you in this place for your good and His glory. So, trust that there is an opportunity to grow and ultimately bloom.

This month’s Ivy Box has you ready for the showers of spring in your new AKA Color Block Cropped Trench. Slip on this versatile piece, and get ready to bloom while looking gorgeous in green. Let us know how you’re loving March’s Ivy Box down below!

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The legacy of sisterhood is the very foundation of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. as generations of women have used their strength, intellect, and wisdom to come together and make history of both the past and present. The Founders passed on the value of sisterhood, trusting us to follow in their examples of selfless service to one another and the community. 

Our shared experience have weaved together an unbreakable bond and allowed us to form a community of love and support. It is our sisterhood that fill our cups with courage and coat us with the love that we need to continue walking in excellence. Our Sorors cheer us on, validate our feelings, provide encouragement, and lend us protection. We are our sister’s keeper, and this sisterhood is an honor and a privilege like none other!

Sisterhood will always stand as a pillar of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. This month’s Ivy Box pays homage to the tradition of sisterhood with the beautiful “Generations” Quilt by world-renowned artist, Sherry Shine. The famous quilting of Sherry Shine had been exhibited across the country in galleries, colleges, and museums. 

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Kyara Murry is the 2022 Miss Black Texas USA, and she will honorably represent Texas in the national Miss Black USA pageant that will be held this August in Washington D.C.

The Miss Black USA organization is highly respected and has redefined what it means to be a courageous, compassionate, and confident woman of color. The Miss Black USA Pageant allows for Black women to have a platform to showcase the power and beauty that comes with being unapologetically Black. Miss Black USA is proud that FOX SOUL is airing the Miss Black USA Pageant for the very first time-emphasizing their commitment to the community.

In addition to holding the title of Miss Black Texas, Kyara Murry, is also the co-founder and CEO of Legally Black and the co-founder of Select Three consulting. A native of Janesville Wisconsin, Kyara completed her Bachelor’s Degree at Tennessee State University, where she majored in Political Science with a minor in Spanish. She then went on to attend Columbia University, where she completed her Masters of Science in Nonprofit Management. 

After graduating with her masters degree, she participated in a certificate of legal studies program at Washington University at St. Louis Law School. Currently, she is 2021 Juris Doctor graduate of Thurgood Marshall School of Law, where she serves as the current Miss Thurgood Marshall School of Law (TMSL) 2021-2022.

Becoming Miss Black USA will be a dream come true for Kyara, and will aid her reach as an attorney, advocate, and servant to the Black, Indigenous and People of color (BIPOC) community. More importantly, this will allow her to have a larger platform to continue to reach the youth and inspire them to dream big, work hard, and believe in themselves to achieve their goals.

Kyara’s L.I F.E.conduct includes community focusing on transportation, housing, land use, and public health concerns, as well as climate policy as a whole. She plans to use her intellectual skills to engage others in critical study, thought, reflection, voting, public policy, promoting sustainability, and community outreach. While doing so, she plans to uphold a legacy of family and friends who have instilled in her the desire and dedication to serve and help others. Her mission is to rise out of poverty and sustain families. She also wants to address food justice and economic development by harnessing the local, food good movement, and creating small business.

We are very excited for Kyara and look forward to seeing what great thing she’ll do next! Click here to see how you can support Kyara in her efforts to become Miss Black USA!

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This month commemorates 114 years since nine Howard University students transformed their vision into what would become a history-making sorority of nearly 300,000 members around the globe. Hundreds of thousands of women bound by the bonds of sisterhood and empowered by a commitment to servant-leadership. This month, take some time to celebrate!

Celebrate 114 Years of  Excellence! Some of the most accomplished women in the world have committed themselves to the sisterhood of AKA. From fierce celebrities and politicians to the dedicated teachers and healthcare professionals that pour into communities each and every day, you consistently exemplify excellence.

Celebrate 114 Years of Service! With countless initiatives at the local, state and national levels. AKAs have partnered with numerous organizations to solve problems within their communities and provide services to those in need. Initiatives like Breast Cancer Awareness campaigns have worked to promote health and wellness among communities of color. College admission campaigns have helped underrepresented high school students traverse the landscape of college admissions. From HBCU backing to support for the arts, AKAs have a proven history of community service.

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Celebrate 114 Years of Sisterhood! AKA’s have shown up for one another for more than 100 years, creating a solidarity deeply rooted in the bonds of sisterhood. Whether it’s to straighten a sister’s crown or applaud her successes, AKA represents more than a century of intelligent, innovative, and beautiful queens celebrating and supporting one another.

This month’s Ivy Box will have you showcasing more than a century of excellence, service and sisterhood with your new AKA Tweed Tunic and AKA Tweed Carryall Bag. It’s time to celebrate!

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Ivy Storehouse is honored to congratulate Ivy Box Ambassador, prominent retail executive, and creator of Patti Pies, Kinna Thomas, on her digital feature in the USA Today article entitled “Target, Costco, Starbucks and more. Black women shopping groups grow on Facebook, Instagram.” The article documents the success of her Facebook group, Black Women Who Love Fashion as well as the rise of other Black women shopping groups. On Monday, February 28th, Kinna was invited to speak about the group and her professional success on KNWA & Fox 24 News!

Kinna currently serves as a Senior Divisional Planner at Target after a highly decorated 9-year career at Walmart Incorporated where she served as the Director of Global Customer Insights and Analytics. She is the proud mom of two boys as well as an active member of the Phi Alpha Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. in Northwest Arkansas. Kinna has been happily married to her husband, Gerry Thomas, for seventeen wonderful years.

A proud HBCU alumnae, Kinna received her Bachelor of Science in Business from Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee where she was initiated into The Beta Chi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She then furthered her education by receiving her Master of Arts in Management and Master of Business from Webster University.

Black Women Who Love Fashion began as a passion project for Kinna in 2020 as she felt moved to create a safe space for Black women to uplift one another after the May 25th murder of George Floyd. Though she worked from home during the pandemic, Kinna continued to dress up as though she was going to the office as an act of self-care and started the group by sharing photos of her chic outfits with members. The group has gone on to achieve rapid success and its membership currently spans over 72,000 Black women across the globe.

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Kinna is no stranger to innovation as she is also the founder of the best-selling Patti Pies and the Patti Labelle Peach Cobbler. She conceptualized the dessert line just two weeks into her role as the Senior Buyer for Cakes and Pies at Walmart. What many may not know, is that the recipe for the base of the famous pie is Kinna’s family recipe. In fact, when she approached the President of Bakery and Deli at Walmart about her idea, it was only a mere 24 hours later before she was in contact with Patti Labelle and the finishing touches were being crafted for the Patti Pies.

Patti Pies went on to take the world by storm in 2015 and became an overnight internet sensation-selling out on shelves across the country. Five years after its launch in 2020, Walmart reported that 36,000 Patti LaBelle Sweet Potato Pies are sold a day. Following the success of the Patti Pies, the line has expanded to include peach cobbler, banana pudding, bread pudding, and many more variations of African American dessert staples.

A highly decorated executive, Kinna is the recipient of the 2017 Buyer of the Year for Walmart and was nominated in both 2015 and 2016.  On her KNWA segment, Kinna stated that she is “very serious about making sure that her purpose is realized and is very intentional about showing up for people in a positive way.” Through the creation of the Black Women Who Love Fashion Facebook group and Patti Pies, Kinna has found a way to uplift the culture, share our stories, and amplify our voices in a meaningful way.

Ivy Storehouse is extremely proud to commence Women’s History Month by celebrating one of our very own! Kinna is a phenomenal talent, a bright light, and an inspiration to us all. As an Ivy Box subscriber since 2018, we are extremely proud to have her serve as a Brand Ambassador, and we look forward to seeing what she creates next! Visit here to read her USA News article and here to view her segment on Good Day NWA.

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Christmastime is here! It’s time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, fellowship with your loved ones, eat a little too much, and reflect on the past year. Sometimes it felt like your health, your wealth, and your family were relentlessly under attack. But even during uncertainty and worry, God’s blessings have consistently shined through.

As we took steps to fight the pandemic, many of us also took steps to make ourselves healthier and happier individuals. From therapy to gardening to virtual dance parties, we found ways to preserve our physical, mental, and emotional health.

2021 was also a year of family and fellowship. Maybe you rediscovered why you fell in love with your spouse or made some lifetime memories with your kids. Maybe the risks of the virus brought you closer to an elder or gave you the time to finally reconnect with your dearest friends. Even while socially distanced, family took center stage, and this is the perfect time of year to celebrate them.

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The holidays may not look the same this year, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be filled with joy. Your health and your family make you wealthy beyond all dollars and cents. So, hold on to your loved ones extra tight and have yourself a ‘Pearlfect’ Christmas!

Your December Ivy Box will keep you warm and fashionable in your Tweed Color Block Varsity Cardigan-customize it your way with the 1908 pearl broach, your favorite AKA lapel pin, or patch! And finally, make plans to build your wealth in the new year with your AKA 2022 Planner.

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Melanie Crutchfield Whitten, M.D. is a board-certified general surgeon specializing in breast cancer. Soror Melanie is originally from Columbus, Georgia. She earned her undergraduate degree from Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, Alabama. She went on to earn her medical degree from the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago, Illinois. Prior to joining Piedmont Physicians, Dr. Crutchfield Whitten completed a breast surgical oncology fellowship at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and Hoag Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles, California.

She is a member of the American Society of Breast Surgeons, the Society of Surgical Oncology and the National Medical Association. She is also a very proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Dr. Crutchfield Whitten enjoys tennis, biking, reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. Dr. Crutchfield Whitten is currently taking care of patients in her hometown of Columbus, GA at Emory-St. Francis Hospital.

Dr. Melanie Crutchfield Whitten has a passion for treating African-American breast cancer patients. In fact, she has even founded an annual breast cancer retreat designed to help support breast cancer survivors and their care givers. The retreat is called Support-Surviving and Thriving Breast Cancer Retreat, and its entire mission is to support breast cancer patients while educating them on how to thrive after surviving breast cancer. Dr. Crutchfield Whitten’s motto for her patients is “your scars tell a story, but it doesn’t have to define your life.”

Black women are more likely than other racial/ethnic groups to be diagnosed at later stages and have the lowest survival at each state of diagnosis. We are also more likely to be diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, an aggressive subtype that is linked to poorer survival. It is because of this fact, that Dr. Crutchfield Whitten travels across the country speaking to various audiences on the importance of annual mammograms as early detection saves lives. As treatments are more to be successful with early detection, the American Cancer Society recommends women should begin having yearly mammograms by age 45, and then it can change to having mammograms every other year beginning at age 55. Women should have the choice to start screening with yearly mammograms as early as age 40 if they so choose.

Visit her page on the St. Page Francis medical Group website here and be sure to follow her on Instagram @melaniewhittenmd.

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The season of gratitude has arrived where you reflect on the many blessings within your life and express your deepest appreciation for them. It’s a worthy tradition that focuses your thoughts on positivity, fills your heart with joy, and even improves your health with lower stress levels. But why keep all of those benefits to yourself? You can actually share the positive effects of gratitude by passing some of that lovely positive energy on to the people and causes that enhance your life. Here are a few ways to make that happen in this season:

With simple actions, like sending a heartfelt note to a friend of treating your favorite colleague to a brunch, you can put your gratitude out into the world for your friends and loved ones to experience.  Who knows? You may even set off a chain reaction of thankfulness by inspiring them to pass their feelings of gratitude on as well.

As you give thanks for what you have, you can also use this season to help someone in need. Through volunteering and charitable contributions, you can give the incredible gift of gratitude to countless others.

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When was your last random acts of kindness? If you cannot recall, there is no greater season to get on that. Buying a stranger a cup of coffee or complimenting the woman behind the checkout counter… these are simple acts that can spark feelings of gratitude within total strangers.

As you take the time to consider all that you are grateful for in this season, think about spreading your gratitude with others. Not only will you bless them, but you will also gift yourself with even more to feel grateful about. This month’s Ivy box will have you enjoying family and good food in style with your Ivy leaf Pointelle Cardigan and Ivy leaf Pointelle Tank. You can also send some love and gratitude this season with a 3-pack set of Holiday Cards!

How did you rock your November Ivy Box? Let us know in the comments below!

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Fall has arrived and the air is crisp with excitement and plans for annual homecoming celebrations. Whether you’re traveling for an in-person experience or opting for a virtual reunion, here are five reasons why you need homecoming in your life this year:

Reason #1 Fellowship – Homecoming is all about the connections that add value to our lives. It’s an annual opportunity to reconnect with old friends and connect with new ones. We’ve had to spend a lot of time away from the people we love lately, why not partake in some much-needed fellowship?

Reason #2 Music – It only takes a single song to transport you back to those college days. Homecoming is filled with those melodic memories. Even if opting for a virtual homecoming, several schools are offering streaming concerts and other musical events… or you can throw on that college playlist to create your own gym jam right at home.

Reason #3 Good Eating – If you are choosing to head down the road, you can look forward to a weekend filled with some good food. From your good old favorite greasy spoon to the parade of grills outside the football stadium, there will be no shortage of delicious calories.

Reason #4 Supporting your School – The financial challenges of the last few years have also impacted higher education. Your beloved alma mater needs the influx of money that homecoming brings each year. Think of it as a party with a purpose. Support your school while enjoying yourself.

Reason #5 Speaking of Joy – You can never have too much of that in your life. Take the weekend and return to a time when your biggest worry was making an 8am class or getting a ride home from the club. We are all going through a lot right now and you absolutely deserve to feel a ridiculous amount of joy.

This month’s Ivy Box will help you make some decisions about your homecoming outfits. As you get your fashions together, don’t forget your new AKA Salmon Pink Jogger Set. Let us know in the comments if you loved your October Ivy Box!

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