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Dr. Catherine Cushinberry

Raised By Strong Black Women

Before she was Dr. Catherine Cushinberry, she was a young active girl who loved to play on the sidewalks in Smokey City, her childhood neighborhood in North Memphis. She knew she was safe because her mom snd aunties made sure of it. This is the place where she learned the importance of family and building community. This is also the neighborhood that helped build her and mold her into the concerned and compassionate community advocate she is today.

Cushinberry’s mother was an educator and the first person in her family to obtain a college degree. Her mom instilled in her the importance of education. Dr. Cushinberry describes her family as matriarchal because she also spent much time growing up with her aunties, cousins, and grandmother. They lived a few houses down on the same street.

Her grandmother, whom she is named after, had a few businesses in the community. She had juke joints, which is where a lot of community building and recreational activities would occur. The community knew her grandmother for being a no nonsense woman with a strong sense of self worth. An example of this is when white business owners would attempt to buy her
business. She refused, even if it meant turning down more money or more opportunity.

It meant a lot to her as a black woman to own her own business, and it was important to her and her community she kept it that way. Even though her grandmother has passed away, she believes her legacy lives on through she and her cousins. She believes these women exemplified what it looked like to be strong and powerful black women…

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