Donda West

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Dr. Donda C. West, a resident of Playa Del Rey, California, she died on Saturday, November 10, 2007, at the age of 58. 'Big Girl', as she was affectionately called by her father, was the 4th child born to Portwood and Lucille E. Williams on July 12, 1949. Her early education was at Culbertson and Dunbar Elementary Schools, F.D. Moon Jr. High School, and Douglass High School where she graduated in 1967. She joined 5th Street Baptist Church at age five. In. 1958, under the leadership of NAACP Youth Council Leader and author Clara Luper, she, along with her brother, Portwood Jr. and others, participated in the first national sit-in demonstration to acquire public accommodations for people of color. Her father drove the first car. Donda earned a Bachelor's degree in English at University, Richmond, Virginia. She further received a Master's degree at Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia, and a Doctorate degree in English Education at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama. Other Study: University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma; New Delhi University, Madras, India; Keith Cunningham's Business for Entrepreneurs, Austin, Texas; Russian Studies at Iowa State University. Donda married Ray West, then an aerial photo journalist for the Atlanta Journal Newspaper. To this union, one son, Kanye, was born. Dr. West began her teaching career at Morris Brown College in Atlanta in the early 70's as an English instructor and eventually became chairperson of the English Department. In 1980, she and 3 year-old Kanye moved to Chicago where she accepted employment at Chicago State University (CSU).  she retired from education to work full time as general manager for her son - producer, rapper, Grammy Award winner, Kanye West. At the time of her untimely death, she served as CEO of West Brands, LLC dba Super Good and chair of Kanye West Foundation, which she cofounded with her son. The foundation's signature program, 'Loop Dreams' was designed to help combat the severe dropout problem in high schools across the nation. In 2007, her book, 'Raising Kanye' was released.


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