Saying Farewell to Barbara Daniel Cox

By Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Hello All:

By now, I'm sure most of you know that our dear sister, Soror, friend, Barbara Daniel Cox has made her transition to the realm of Ancestor/Angel on Sunday, April 24, 2016.  It happened quite suddenly, so needless to say none of us was prepared for the sad news - especially yours truly.  I admit that I did not receive her passing in dignified Delta fashion.  I was blindsided,  when the announcement was made at an event being held in honor of the memory of another great Ancestor/Angel and historical figure - Dr. Edward Robinson.  

When the announcement was made to the audience you could hear the collective sigh of shock and sadness.  We were all stunned at this sudden departure, without giving us a chance to say good bye or share a hug.  

But then, that was Barbara - she did thing on her own terms, her own time, and in her own style.  Thus, the shock has taken some time to wear off for me, and to deal with the reality that our sister is now operating on another plane of action.  

Unlike many of you, I only had the pleasure of knowing Barbara for a brief time - two years - but what an experience that was.  She was her own personal whirlwind.  She was a walking, talking, real live resource base for practically everything.  How do you replace a dynamic woman like Barbara Daniel Cox.  While she never boasted of her accomplishments, her work spoke for itself.  And the results were far reaching and long lasting.  

Barbara believed in people, and loved working with them and in behalf of those who could not adequately speak for themselves, or effectively negotiate life in a way that was successful and meaningful.  No wonder so many people and organizations constantly and continuously called upon her for help, guidance and support.  Getting it done was what she did.  No excuses, no ifs, ands, or buts - just access the situation, roll up her sleeves and go to work to resolve the challenge.  I say challenge, because Barbara Daniel Cox never had "problems."  There was nothing that could not be resolved or rectified - regardless of how long it took, or how much energy and brain power needed to be exerted. 

Prior to m becoming a member of the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc, Barbara and I ran in concentric circles - we knew many of the same people - including Karen Warrington,  who whom she  formed the Sister Circle Rites of Passage Program for Girls, in 2014. Just one of the many programs that Philadelphians have had the privilege of benefitting from.  Barbara was also the former executive director of the City of Philadelphia Women's Commission, under former Mayor Wilson Goode.  She believed that it was "time to embrace the younger generation of women and help them on their journey.  For too long we have been on the sidelines as our families splinter.  Our children are suffering and our girls are increasingly at risk."  

Barbara served as the convener of the Festival Planners Group - which consisted of African American festival planners who produced a yearly calendar of events.  She was an Advisory Board Member for the Art Sanctuary; Other affiliations include the Multicultural Affairs Congress of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Avenue of the Arts  Advisory Council, and the Uptown Cultural District Group.  

Barbara Daniel Cox

Receiving Jazz Award - (Photo-  Philadelphia Tribune)

Barbara was also the CEO and President of the African Heritage Center, the head of BDC and Associates. She was the principal of Productions BDC, an event management and business service company in conjunction with the Dell East Venue.  Her 25+ years in education, development, planning, fundraising, event management, and human service administration means that she will be greatly missed, hard to replace and difficult to emulate.

Barbara was a very active and dedicated member of the Philly Alumnae of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc, which is where I really got to know her.  It was there that we realized that we had been involved in common interests, including the annual Odunde Festival,  which celebrated it's 40th Anniversary in 2015, as well as African art and cultural events.  Her love of music and art and support of those disciplines often found us at the same events, and culminated in our agreeing to keep each other informed about upcoming programs that we might be interested in.

To me, Barbara was like a jewel that kept shining brighter and brighter.  Even though she had suffered a recent tragedy due t a fire that devastated her home, nearly destroying everything, she kept on, undaunted, shining ever brighter - always there to help others in their efforts; never wanting to let anybody down.  

One of my fondest memories of Barbara was in June 2015 after the Odunde Awards Luncheon, she offered me a ride home.  The event took place in West Philadelphia at the original studio of American Bandstand which had now been converted to a non-profit business incubator school.  What would have normally took about 25 minutes stretched out to a two-hour conversation, where we compared notes on writing, experiences, friends and a whole host of things.  It turned out that Barbara had graduated from Cheyney State College, while I had graduated from Lincoln University.  We found ourselves talking about how to make sure that Pennsylvania honored the two first Black schools/Universities in the US.  She must have driven up and down every side street in Philly while we were talking - trying to avoid traffic - because we hit side streets and neighborhoods that were kind of off the beaten track.  It was fun though, and we got a big laugh when we realized that we had left at 2:00 and it was now 4:15!!  WE acknowledged that we both loved hats, and had a rather healthy collection of them in all colors and shapes.  We both loved to write, but she had done a much better job of making a successful career of hers.   The conversation culminated in an "aha moment," when she realized  that my best friend Annie Gee and she were also friends, and she had heard my name mentioned on several occasions as "Gloria in New York."  That elicited more laughter and another 40 minutes of conversation and sharing experiences.  The best time ever!

Barbara was active until the very end of her life on this plane of existence - God the Living Spirit Almighty probably had to insist that she take a break, and called her to come, rest, relax, and join the privileged ranks of Ancestor/Angels.like Dr. Dorothy I. Height, Shirley Chisholm, and other dynamic Deltas in whose footsteps she most certainly walked during her time here on earth.

She's  left us some powerful examples and some great foot steps to follow as well.  We will miss her and revere her memory.  Peace Be Unto Her.

Homegoing Servics for Barbara Daniel Cox will be held at 1:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2016 at First District Plaza, 3801 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA.

Stay Blessed & 


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