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International Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority President Honored In St. Louis


Cary, NC – Lynn Jackson, great-great granddaughter of Harriett and Dred Scott and president and founder of the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation, presented Deborah Catchings-Smith, international president of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority with the organization’s Freedom Award for international leadership recently in St. Louis, MO.

Left to right: Lynne M. Jackson, president and founder, The Dred Scott Heritage Foundation; International Leadersh
ip Honoree Deborah Catchings-Smith, national president, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.; Peggy Lewis LeCompte, Dinner Chair and Board Member, The Dred Scott Heritage Foundation.

Several servant leaders were honored during the annual Dred Scott Freedom Awards Dinner. The event highlights the 1857 Supreme Court case decision that denied a slave, Dred Scott, his freedom on the basis that the U.S. Constitution didn’t consider him a person. This landmark decision had many repercussions and led to the start of the Civil War. 150 years ago this year, the 14th amendment overturned the Dred Scott decision. The dinner honors the bravery, conviction and actions of Dred and his wife Harriet.

“To receive the Dred Scott Freedom Award in the category of International Leadership was indeed an honor. I accepted this award on behalf of the many members of the Sigma Gamma Rho Sisterhood who stand on the shoulders of Harriet and Dred Scott, our Founders and countless other trailblazers. By accepting this award, I accept the responsibility to use my platform to give voice to the voiceless and be vigilant to secure true freedom and racial equality in our society,” Deborah Catchings-Smith, International Grand Basileus, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.

About Sigma Gamma Rho
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., an international collegiate and non-profit community service organization, was founded in 1922 on Butler University’s campus in Indianapolis, Indiana. It has welcomed more than 90,000 members that have joined the organization as undergraduates and professionals. Official affiliate groups include Rhoers (young girls) and Philos (friends of the sorority). The sorority has more than 500 chapters in the United States, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Germany, Korea and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is the mission of the sorority to enhance the quality of life for women and their families in the U.S. and globally through community service. Programs, initiatives, and partnerships are devoted to progress in the areas of education, healthcare, political action, and leadership development. It is headquartered in Cary, North Carolina and is a member of the Pan Hellenic Council’s “Divine Nine.” For more information, visit


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Phyllis Coley
Phyllis D. Coley is CEO/Publisher of Spectacular Magazine and Host of Spectacular Magazine Radio Show. With a B.A. in English from NCCU, the Durham native began her professional career as Promotions/Marketing Director for New York City’s WKTU-FM. While at the radio station, Coley discovered the rap group Kid ‘n Play and managed them for five years, guiding their music and movie careers to success. Moving back to Durham, Coley produced a nationally syndicated television show, The Electric Factory, while working as News Director for FOXY 107/104. In April 2002, recognizing a void in highlighting the achievements of African Americans, she started her own business publishing ACE Magazine. Coley launched Spectacular Magazine in November 2004. Recognizing the lack of pertinent and truthful information, Coley began Spectacular Magazine Radio Show in March 2009. Coley is the organizer of Durham's Annual MLK/Black History Month Parade and the Annual North Carolina Juneteenth Celebration. She currently serves on Central Children’s Home Board of Directors, Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Advisors, as Immediate Past Secretary of the Durham Rotary Club Board of Directors and is one of the founding members of the Triangle United Way’s African American Leadership Initiative.

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