October 3, 2023
from the ceo

I Loved Visiting Savannah!

 My love of history as I’ve aged is exhilarating when paired with travel. No matter where I go, I want to learn about the history of that place. Since international travel is still a bit dicey right now, deciding to visit Savannah during the Thanksgiving holiday was a no-brainer for me – it’s the oldest city in Georgia, it’s not very far from Charlotte and from a historical perspective, it’s a behemoth.

My flight (yes, I flew) took all of one hour and 12 minutes, LOL, so I was refreshed and ready to rumble as I fetched a cab to ferry me to my hotel, the Andaz Savannah in the Plant Riverside District. My first order of business, of course, was to check out my room, which was great, and then walk about the area. I was surprised to see quite a few tourists doing the same, enjoying the quaint shops and restaurants in the nearby City Market.


My next order of business was to eat, so I chose 22 Square Restaurant located inside the hotel. The name of the restaurant intrigued me as much as the food. I pondered the significance of that name as I ate, but it made no sense until the tour guide on the Hop- On Hop-Off Trolley the next day explained. You see, the founder of Savannah, General James Oglethorpe, laid out the city in a grid pattern of squares which served as town meeting places — parks, really. Twenty-two of the original 24 squares, mostly named after historic figures, remain to this day. I learned an awful lot about Savannah’s unique history on this trolley tour.

Needless to say, there are a trillion things to do in Savannah, including viewing the beautiful Gothic architecture, visiting historical sites and museums, such as the founder of the Girls Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low’s, birthplace and the First African Baptist Church, which is the oldest Black Church in North America. You can also shop ‘til you drop in Savannah, all while sipping on your favorite “beverage,” if you know what I mean. Shows, nightlife, festivals, beaches, biking — you name it —Savannah has it all.


With only three days of vacay, however, I couldn’t do it all. So, of course, I decided to get my Black History appetite satisfied via the Footprints of Savannah Walking Tour led by Ms. Vaughnette Goode-Walker. This tour is a must, if you plan to visit Savannah.  It is well researched and covers the history of slavery, which is a crucial part of the city’s history. This tour also introduced me to the Black-owned art shops: Sabree’s Gallery of the Arts and the Alix Baptiste Art Gallery. This was perfect, as I always strive to purchase a piece of art from wherever I travel and ended up buying a hand-made metallic wreath from the Baptiste Gallery. The Savannah Museum of history was great and another special activity for me was dining at Belford’s Seafood and Steaks restaurant, one of Savannah’s Black-owned restaurants. -And let me not forget River Street, which took me a half day to explore and still, I didn’t see it all. There are more than 75 boutiques, galleries, artists’ studios, restaurants and an open-air market located on River Street which runs alongside the Savannah River, where dozens of container ships also pass by daily.

What a great time I spent with “me, myself, and I” in Savannah!  We definitely plan to return soon.


Dee Dixon

from the ceo
Meet Pride’s New Editor

Greetings. I’m pleased to introduce you to Pride Magazine’s new editor, Alicia Benjamin. This March women’s issue is her first foray with the Pride team, so help me welcome her.

Alicia was born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Wilmington, Delaware. Some of you may already know her, as she has lived in Charlotte since 2007. She has a journalism degree from the University of Maryland and studied theater and film as a graduate student at Hunter College in New York.


A lover a film, Alicia is currently producing a podcast on Black women in film called “Sistaz on Film.” Her daughter, Giovanni, graduated from East Mecklenburg High School in 2020 and is a freshman at Furman University. Also, Alicia serves on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee.

Alicia Benjamin


Alicia states, “I’m passionate about writing and editing and I’m very fascinated with the people of Charlotte and excited to see the city grow. I’m thrilled to be a part of the Pride team and look forward to being a part of continuing to create Charlotte’s African American legacy in a vibrant and comprehensive way through the pages of Pride.”

More on the Racial Wealth Gap

As many of you may know, we focused on the racial wealth gap at our 28th annual Pride Awards last month. We debated the claim of whether blaming systemic racism hinders the Black community from building generational wealth. I’m still captivated by the significance of this statement. So much so, I just can’t seem to be able to move on. Surely, most would agree by now that systemic racism has and is a huge factor in preventing the Black community from building generational wealth. However, the question is (at least in my mind) — Why aren’t we doing more individually and collectively as African Americans to change the trajectory? Following are a couple of my personal thoughts as to why.


First, we (African Americans) absolutely don’t really know or understand our own history. In conjunction, we don’t understand the historical significance of institutional bias in our country and how it has and is impacting us to this very day. Believe me, my eyes were opened even wider as we did research in preparation for this year’s awards program. In addition, I was blown away by reading the book “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson. Every person in America, regardless of race, should read this book and it certainly should be required reading in high school and college. This book crushes it.


Second, we need a massive transformation of our thinking. No doubt, far too many of us are still living a “plantation” lifestyle. We are being dictated by powers that have us spending beyond our means with a complete lack of savings. Thus, some of us are consumed with so much debt, leaving a financial legacy for the next generation is like pouring an eight ounce glass of water on a raging forest fire.

In the meantime, be sure to read our cover story on Jada GrandyMock and learn how she bridged the wealth gap for herself and her family.


Until next time…..

Is There a Way to Close the Wealth Gap?

I have some ideas, but I first want to hear from you.

Email us your thoughts or ideas in 500 words or less to info@pridemagazine.net.


Subject: How We Can Bridge the Racial Wealth Gap (include your headshot and contact information)

(include your headshot and contact information)


(We may include your essay and photo in the May-June 2021 issue of Pride Magazine. Deadline to submit: March 26.)