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Friday, December 19, 2014
 
 
In the 1930’s African-Canadians rarely had the opportunity to see beautiful black women in advertisements or in fashion magazines. Women of colour were often barred from entering mainstream beauty pageants. In 1931 “Mr. Emancipation”, Walter Perry, helped bring beautiful and talented young black women into the spotlight in Windsor with the first annual Miss Sepia Pageant.

Contestants were judged on the basis of evening gowns, swimwear and talent competitions. In addition to the honour of being crowned Miss Sepia winners also received prizes in the form of cash, a trophy and flowers. Local contestants took great pride in representing Windsor and Essex County. Little cuties also got into the act competing in the Little Miss Sepia Pageant.
 
Mrs. Perry with Miss Sepia 1949 Mary Clark
Mrs. Perry with Miss Sepia 1949 Mary Clark, 17 of Detroit, Runner Up Beverly Evan 17 also of Detroit and the 3rd place winner Cora Davis of Windsor (Windsor Star 2/08/1949), Photo Courtesy of the Windsor Star.
     
Miss Sepia 1964
Miss Sepia 1964 Guinevere Duncan 18 of Detroit with Sharon LeGrand, Frances LaRachal, Daisy Washington, Lynn Smith, Rene Hickson, Aszilee Chase, Elanore Davis, Earline Ayler and Mary Hightower (Windsor Star 4/08/1964), Photo Courtesy of the Windsor Star.
     
Miss Sepia 1992
Miss Sepia 1961 Joan Hurst, 17, of 1097 McDougall St. in Windsor in middle with 3rd place winner LaRita Mallare, 21, of Detroit and First Runner-up Marilyn Grayer, 17, of Harrow. (Windsor Star 1/08/1961), Photo Courtesy of the Windsor Star.
     
Miss Sepia 1961
Miss Sepia 1992 Kerry Hurst (Windsor Star 2/08/1992), Photo Courtesy of the Windsor Star.
     
Miss International Sepia 1961
Miss International Sepia 1961 Joan Hurst, 17, of 1097 McDougall St. Windsor (Windsor Star 1/08/1961), Photo Courtesy of the Windsor Star.
     
Miss Sepia 1962
Previous winner Joan Hurst of McDougall St. in Windsor passes the crown to Miss Sepia 1962 Elaine Horn 19 of Detroit (Windsor Star 8/08/1962), Photo Courtesy of the Windsor Star.
     
Miss Sepia 1977
Miss Sepia 1977 Tammy Taylor, 17, of Windsor poses with Edmund Powell (Windsor Star 1/08/1977), Photo Courtesy of the Windsor Star.
     
Miss Sepia 1981
Miss Sepia 1981 Vernethia Coley of Detroit with 1st Runner-Up Karen Golden of Windsor in background (Windsor Star 4/08/1981), Photo Courtesy of the Windsor Star.
     
Miss Sepia 1983
Miss Sepia 1983 Velta Lynn Stovall, 17, a grade 12 student at Lowe Secondary at Amherstburg Celebration (Windsor Star 5/08/1983), Photo Courtesy of the Windsor Star.
     
Little Miss Sepia, 1982
Little Miss Sepia Contestants Shay Lynn, 3, Shantel Scott, 3, and Tanya Rauls aged 4 (Windsor Star 1/08/1982), Photo Courtesy of the Windsor Star.
     
Little Miss Sepia Contestant, 1981
Miss Sepia 1978 Karen Highgate encourages Little Miss Sepia Contestant Lisa Milburn aged 7 (Windsor Star 28/07/1981), Photo Courtesy of the Windsor Star.
     
Miss Sepia 1959
Miss Sepia 1959 contestants in swimwear and sashes. In the Front Row: Jeanette McDowell, Elane Jackson, chosen Miss Sepia; Betty Jones, Barbara Jean Abbott, Vivian Collins, Anna Owen, Christine Price, Mildred Sann, Thelma Colquitt, Shirley Jean Sims, LaRita Mallore. Back Row: Gloria Saylor, Mildred Smith, Joyce Shaw, Ruby Paige, Carolyn Henderson, Barbara Bonner, Delores Marshall, Imogene Garrard, Sidney Giles, Geraldine Harris, Catherine Hymer, Sadie Sparks. (Windsor Star 4/08/1959), Photo Courtesy of the Windsor Star.
   
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The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.

 

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