Pageant beauty shines in spotlight

Miss Black Clarksville aspires to stardom

3:34 PM, Mar. 15, 2012

Larsa Summerville, 18, recently won the 8th Miss Black Clarksville Scholarship Pageant and will enter the University of Alabama in Huntsville this fall. / THE LEAF-CHRONICLE/Karen Parr-Moody

Written by

Karen Parr-Moody


Larsa Summerville being crowned winner of the 8th Miss Black Clarksville Scholarship Pageant. / John Davis

CLARKSVILLE, TENN. — After beating seven other contestants in the 8th Miss Black Clarksville Scholarship Pageant, Larsa Summerville, 18, now hopes to rise into a glamorous position in the modeling or television business.

Walking along the streets in downtown Clarksville last week, clad in a crown and pink sheath dress and toting her winning trophy, Summerville cut a commanding figure. She towered over passersby at a whopping five feet, 10 inches. This height was pushed over the 6-foot marker with the help of shiny beige platform heels. One could imagine that she might one day glide down the catwalks of New York, Paris and Milan.

Later, when she sat down to chat, Summerville possessed none of the shyness of some girls her age. The Clarksville High senior was direct, with no lack of confidence when detailing her hopes and dreams for the future. These include attending the University of Alabama in Huntsville this fall, then transferring to that university’s main campus in Tuscaloosa after finishing her core courses.

Despite her confidence in general, Summerville claims she had no idea she would win the trophy on Feb. 25 at the Miss Black Clarksville Scholarship Pageant, which was founded by Carol Berry to increase the number of minority scholarships in the community.

“I thought I was going to get fifth or sixth place,” she said. “I did not think I was going to win at all, because all of the other girls were so good.”

When she did win, Summerville burst into tears, following in the stilettos of a long line of beauty contestant winners before her, with a few exceptions. The first black woman to be crowned Miss America, Vanessa Williams, was a cool customer. She let one small tear trickle down before erupting into a wide smile.

The year was 1983 and Williams became more than the 56th Miss America; she became a new face in a world of American beauty that historically excluded blacks. Summerville wasn’t even born then. But she understands the complicated nature of black beauty firsthand, both in how it is perceived by the outsider and possessor alike.


  1. Scholarships for non-minority decrease middle course student w/ mediocre grades? Scholarships for finding out overseas? Says:

    […] MISS BLACK CLARKSVILLE IS A BLACK Skinned BEAUTY … VN:F [1.9.15_1155]please wait…Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)VN:F [1.9.15_1155]Rating: 0 (from 0 votes) Filed Under: Minority Scholarships […]

  2. David Bercutt Says:

    I found out as the result of a rich cousin’s expensive geniology search that I have one Yoruba ancestor. My family ancestors ran out of Portugal to escape the inquisition, and even 600 years ago you could go to Amsterdam if you were being oppressed elsewhere and be free. One Ancestor owned slaves, and fell in love with and married an enslaved Yoruba woman – made her the lady of the house. I cried when I found this out, as it was finally an explanation of why I mysteriously burst into heavy, half hour crying when I was reading the Osa scriptures of the old system of Merindillogun, got to the last one in Bascom’s – Baba Salako’s Osa section, 9 shells up,reference G-19, and started crying like a child for a very long time.

    The next day I looked at G 19 again, and the same thing happened. Today, if I even get near that odu, I start bawling. I called my mentor at the time, Mary Curry (Ibaye) a Yemaya priestess who was a professor at the U of Houston, and she said “You are incredible” I asked why, and she said that this was the odu where Oya warned the Yoruba people that they were about to be taken into slavery.

    Apparently, my ancestor knew this, and it is her that is crying through me whenever I even look at that Odu or even get near the book. When I found out about her, it was a big relief, as I then understood.

    Mary also said that odu was “The Birth of Witchcraft”. I can see the slavery part in it, but not the “Birth of Witchcraft” part. Is this site for general discussion? I posted last time about needing a Babalawo, giving plenty of info as to who I was, and no one responded.

    Maybe they saw what deep crap I was in and just threw in the towell LOL!

    But I would still appreciate some contact, if not here to cunningconnie@gmail.com, which is my e mail exclusively.

    If this site gives no room for personalized posts, I will post no further. I was raised by Babalawos for ten years, and have never seen IFA fail!

    Also, Gabourney Sebile is hardly a Jamaican beauty. When hospitalized the only time in my life in the Bronx, NY in 2009, all my nurses were Jamaican, and BOY —

    Mo Dupe

    O Dabo

    David, Omi T’Alade

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