Our History, Our Queen
Thelma Elizabeth Porter Parros
This site is dedicated to my mother who was always an advocate for the success and training of young women. May her passion, memory and personal ideals be manifested as young women all over the world embrace and embody the message “Yes, I am a Queen!”
Thelma Elizabeth Porter Parros was born on June 29, 1928 to Sarah and Thomas Porter in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Eastern District High School in New York and attended Brooklyn College where she pursued her Associates Degree in Psychology.
Thelma had a very busy social life and was active in various avenues of public service. In 1941, she was one of the first members of a ladies social group, The Flamingos. In high school, Thelma was a member of the Negro History Culture Club, the Adventure Motion Picture Club and the All City Chorus. In 1948, she served as the President of the NAACP Youth Council in New York City. Thelma’s involvement in her school and community gave her countless opportunities to showcase her impeccable public speaking skills and dramatic recitations of her favorite poet, Walden Johnson. She was gifted with an uncanny ability to captivate everyone’s attention with her poise, beauty, humility and charm, making her a matchless competitor amongst her peers. In high school she was voted Miss Personality Plus, Miss Cover Girl and Miss Victory.
Thelma’s most visible social platform came at the age of 19 when she integrated the pageant world by becoming the first black Miss Subway in New York City. As the first minority woman in America to win a beauty pageant, Thelma paved the way for other minority women to compete and reign in beauty pageants nationwide. As a result of this platform, she was also chosen to be a featured cover girl for Ebony magazine in 1949, and Jet magazine in 1952.
In 1950, Thelma married Leo Parros and to that union four children were born: Michael, Rick, Peter and Sara.
Thelma Parros Porter will always be remembered for her unshakeable faith in God and her passion to see young women and families living at their highest potential!