About the Author

Charlotte Simpson, aka the Traveling Black Widow is a retired guidance counselor and special education teacher. After losing her husband of 31 years, she made solo-world-travel a central part of her retirement and has traveled all seven continents and 50 states. ​

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Reader Interactions


  1. Yes, I have been the only black Roman in the room on many occasions when I worked in the technology field. I also felt I was representing my race and I was very careful about how I wore my hair and dressed. I had to fit in to belong and be accepted. I was often in a position where I was the most qualified in a particular area. I must admit, back then in the 1980’s, 90’s and early 2000’s racism was in the room and I did experience it.

  2. I’m retired now from corporate life. I was ALWAYS the only women and the only person of color. No one understands the work you must put in to make sure you are respected and heard. Although it was exhausting I have no regrets.

  3. I work in Funeral Services and I am the only Black woman at my Mortuary. The majority of the staff is Latino with a few Caucasians. I carry myself with confidence and a positive attitude even when I don’t feel welcome and Spanish is often spoken in my presence because they think I don’t understand what’s said me being black. I have no problem being the only Black woman in the room.

  4. Reading this blog inspires me. I’m the only Black woman in the room in most group meetings at my job. This blog encourages me to not just be in attendance but be present and use my voice. And that I will definitely do! Thank you!

  5. All your points are well taken, nice to read your personal experiences. I myself, spouse and daughters have experienced the same thing in our careers and travels. What makes the difference is that we have a strong sense of self, know our history and know all about people of other races. We belong!

  6. This article was inspiring,and encouraging. I was the only Black female in my department for Years. I also felt responsible for how they saw us,or what correct knowledge they gained by being present and engaging. I felt like a teacher of our culture. My coworkers were ignorant on so many levels. The Dentists I worked with gained respect for me because I was professional, capable and kind. I didn’t realize how loved and admired I was until I decided to retire. Some days I felt like I was the only one in the room. Its good to connect to sisters who help you navigate and change the room’s we enter. Thank you!!

  7. Being the only black woman in the room had consequences for me, even in the Gospel music industry. I stood my ground as an executive challenging racism on the executive level and was subsequently “transferred,” “downsized,” out. It took a ‘minute’ to understand what was really happening, since I had moved into the South, but I got it! I realized I had to change my strategy.

  8. I was the only Black woman in the room for many years in corporate America I. Nyc. I learned to always speak up and made sure I was together—dressed appropriately and totally ready for the meeting. It was always a challenge but paid off in the end. Also gave me the opportunity to open the door for other African Americans.

  9. I am, have been, for the past 27 years at the place of my employment, the only black woman in my field. I have experienced racism, sexism and trwated as though I didn’t exist nor mattered. I’ve work hard to gain respect and dignity on my job. I’ve stood by and watched the men on my job pass me by to as one of the other men for information that they needed, only to be led back to me. My experience’s here have only made me lift my head a little higher, keep my back straight and continue to be the blessed black woman that God has made me. Peace and blessings my sisters!

  10. I can wholeheartedly agree with everything that was said. I experienced being the only Black person in the classroom during high school and college. On the job I have been the only Black professional or one of just a few. I was the first Black person in my Woman’s Club as well as it’s first Black member of the Board of Directors. My children have experienced the same things–being the token Black person. But we survive and excel.

  11. In the 80’s and 90’s, it was very common to be an “only”. The micro-aggressions were more blatant then, so imagine the pressure to “represent” while constantly having to pretend that you didn’t notice racism because you knew that the white person in HR didn’t have your back! I’m semi-retired now, and hopeful that the perseverance and resilience of my generation has made it easier for this generation’s “onlys” to not only excel — but to open more doors and include more seats at more tables.

  12. Even in my place of work in my field, I am the only black woman in the room. One of my mentors, who is in fact a black man who is also an executive, shared this same sentiment with me. I’m so many words he stated to not be so focused on being the only one in the room, but to focus on being the best in the room. Thank you for sharing this and for helping me broaden my mindset even further: to be in the room and change the room!

  13. We have a store in my community that serve homeless and underserved families, everything is free of charge to them. Most of the time I’m the only volunteer that looks like me. Sadly most of those served do.

  14. I worked in a company where I was the first Black Trainer in North America in that particular field of work . Initially I felt pride, then responsibility to prove that I belonged there, We belonged there. It was a burden and a source of pride. I soon grew tired of being reminded of my “firstness” and began to let other’s how it made me feel. Now I look back with pride and realize that I did make a difference for other’s that came after me.

  15. I am a wine enthusiast, known by several friends or associates as The Wine Whisperer! In a recent dining seminar, I was seated with 2 vanilla women. One was so fascinated with me, our convo ranged from finance to wine! I like you feel the responsibility to represent. I am often approached about my hair, sparkle fashion, whatever! Others appear genuinely interested! I take the opportunity to have a conversation but know when to exit!

  16. Love this very true sentiment. Unfortunately, this experience is extremely real for Black women. This message is motivational and inspiring. It feels as though you are taking your strength along with you in the room with this card. Thank you!

  17. Great article Auntie Charlotte, and I have most certainly been the one & only; even in my career I’ve been singled out as being different, when in fact, I’ve just been give an opportunity that perhaps others haven’t.

  18. Every day at work and it’s been like that almost my entire career. *sigh*. Thank you for sharing!

  19. Yes, I have been the only Black woman in the office. Often times, we are second-guessed and co-workers are surprised by the knowledge we have…saying “Who told you that?” as if we don’t have BRAINS!

  20. Truth to power spoken here.
    I’d like to change the room, just make it a level playing field. With the many colors like in the new crayola coloring box, how do we do this? We stay in the room and rethink resiliency.

  21. Yes many times. It’s ongoing in my neck of the woods. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and know I have promises to keep.

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