Cathy Hughes Recognized by the House of Representatives

(Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for National Museum of African American Music)

KUDOS to Cathy Hughes who was recognized for her 40 years as a broadcast owner by HON. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON yesterday

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Tuesday, December 8, 2020page1image2290598352

Ms. NORTON. Madam Speaker, I rise today to ask the House of Representatives to join me in recognizing Cathy Hughes on her 40 years as the leader of Urban One, now America’s largest Black broadcast network.

Cathy Hughes, the founder and chairperson of Urban One, has dedicated her career to amplifying the voices of Black people and their perspectives through the airwaves. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, and known to have hosted “radio shows” in her bathroom as a child, Hughes had her sights on success from day one. Throughout her career, her piercing optimism and resilience cut through obstacles of discrimination and discouragement, clearing a path to where she now stands as one of our country’s wealthiest self-made African- American women.

Hughes, who became a mother at the age of 16, has recalled taking her son to classes and, later on in her career, having him sleep in a sleeping bag in her office when she had to work late. Growing up among a family of entrepreneurs, as Hughes did, she was no stranger to hard work, business jargon and long hours. Her father was the first African American to earn an accounting degree from Creighton University. Her mother played trombone.

In 1971, Hughes came to the District of Columbia to work at Howard University’s School of Communications, and she went on to become a General Sales Manager for the University’s radio station, WHUR-FM. On her arrival in the District, Hughes wrote to her mother, “My eyes were tired at the end of the day, staring at the greatness of Black people doing so many things.”

In the late 1970s, Hughes started her own radio station, once known as Radio One, now Urban One. During her career she endured racism and sexism, but these were no match for her electric optimism. After seven years, the radio station became profitable and continued to grow. In 1999, at the recommendation of her son, who had received his MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Cathy Hughes became the first African-American woman to chair a publicly held corporation, following the sale of more than seven million shares of common stock to the public.

She has received numerous awards, including being selected for the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2019, the Woman of the Year Award by 100 Black Men of America in 2018, the Ida B. Wells Living Legacy Award in 2011 and the Essence Women Shaping the World Award in 2008. She was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2010, and the Cathy Hughes School of Communications at Howard University was named for her in 2016.


I relish this opportunity to recognize and honor the work of Cathy Hughes. Her resilience, optimism and determination are true guiding lights through these difficult times. She has mentored countless women and her entrepreneurial energy has touched many, both in D.C. and across the nation.

I ask the House of Representatives to join me in recognizing the accomplishments of Cathy Hughes on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Urban One.

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