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Courtesy of Mercedez Speight Marshall graduate Mercedez Speight was recently crowned as the new Miss Black West Virginia USA.

The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON - Mercedez Speight, an ambitious scholar and activist of West Virginia, was recently crowned as the new Miss Black West Virginia USA. Speight will represent the Mountain State at the National Miss Black USA pageant to be held Sunday, Aug. 11, in Washington, D.C.

An adventurous traveler, Speight has spent most of her life living in different cities from state to state.

Although she calls West Virginia her home, she's recognized that each place had one common issue: childhood literacy.

This nationwide epidemic challenged her to be an advocate for change and it's her mission to use her platform as a humanitarian to empower youth by spreading awareness on the importance and right of every child receiving a proper education.

Childhood literacy is an issue that has served as the main catalyst of separation between the social and economic classes for centuries. Speight wants to use her platform to spread the awareness of childhood literacy while advocating certain laws and a plan of action is towards the impact of today's educational system for our youth.

Speight is a recent graduate of Marshall University where she received her bachelor's in public relations and is currently pursuing a master's in higher education from Liberty University. While balancing her studies she's serving as an admissions counselor for American Public University System.

Miss Black USA is the premier pageant for women of color.

The nonprofit organization was founded in 1986 seeking to provide educational opportunities to outstanding young African American women and to develop the whole woman, mind, body and spirit.

To date, the pageant has awarded more than $450,000 in scholarships.

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