From Pageant to Ph.D.

Brittany Lee Lewis, a former Wilmington University graduate student and faculty member, has been crowned Miss Black America in Philadelphia.

She earned a master’s in Secondary Teaching from WilmU, where she graduated with a 4.0 grade point average. During her studies at WilmU, she participated in the Teach for America corps and completed her teacher prep residency/internship at the Prestige Academy Charter School in Wilmington. She also taught The Black Woman, an Ethnic Studies class at WilmU.

She is currently a Ph.D. student in the History Department at George Washington University, where she is researching 20th-century African-American history, cross-cultural solidarity movements, and city-suburb formation.

Lewis was Miss Delaware in 2014. She was first runner-up and received the crown after it was ruled the winner was too old to hold the title. While she appreciated her her time with the Miss America Organization and the $30,000 in scholarships she received, Lewis says she decided to compete in the Miss Black America competition because it celebrates black identity.

Pageants have given her the chance to spread awareness of domestic violence, a cause she has championed since 2010, when her older sister was shot and killed outside her home.

In the past few years, she has traveled to high schools and colleges throughout the Mid-Atlantic region to talk to students about healthy relationships and setting boundaries. She has also worked with the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Delaware Department of Justice, and former Gov. Jack Markell.

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