The purpose of Daughter Dialogues is to educate the public about the contemporary lives of members of color in the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Many people are not aware of the fact that the DAR has members of color or that men and women of color contributed to the Revolutionary War.
The information on the website is a result of research currently being conducted by Reisha L. Raney:
Non-resident fellow, W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute at the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University under the direction of Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Organizing Secretary, Maryland State Society Daughters of the American Revolution
Honorary Regent, Harmony Hall Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution
Research objectives include:
Documenting narratives of members of color and descendants of patriots of color in the DAR.
Examining the historical context of members of color in the DAR.
Examining the changing perceptions amongst non-DAR members in response to the research.
After watching Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s PBS special “African American Lives”, Reisha began searching for her African roots but instead discovered family ties to Thomas Jefferson’s aunt, Mary Jefferson, mother of Revolutionary War patriot William Turpin, which led her to join the DAR and assume a leadership position within the organization.
The DAR states that it does not officially keep records on the race of its members however, Reisha is the first black state officer in Maryland and only one of four known African American state officers in the history of the 125+ year old, 180,000-member society. It is also estimated that as a former regent (leader) of the Harmony Hall chapter, Reisha was one out of ten African American chapter regents, out of over 3,000 chapters, in the history of the DAR. At 39 years of age, Reisha was the youngest known African American to ever hold the position. Additionally, Reisha has been credited with saving her chapter from having to disband by instituting and leading an intensive revitalization effort which reengaged existing members as well as attracted prospective members.
Reisha has given a number of presentations to historical and genealogical societies; religious, civic, and women’s organizations; and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture with audiences of up to 1,500 about her experience as an African American leader in the DAR and her lineage to a patriot of the American Revolution. Reisha's DAR journey has been featured in the The Washington Post, The Japan Times, USA Today, and on NBC News. A full list of media coverage can be seen below.
In 2001, Reisha founded Encyde Corporation, which is currently ranked in the top 4% of all women owned businesses in the United States by the National Association of Women Business Owners and the Survey of Business Owners data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Encyde has also been named a top 100 Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) in the Washington Capital Region. Originally operating as a Data Networking sales agent for AT&T, Encyde was named one of AT&T’s top 10 agents in New York City.
Beginning her professional career with AT&T in 1997 as a corporate Data Networking Account Executive, Reisha was the top or second ranked in the nation, amongst over 300 salespersons, for three consecutive years and generated sales revenue double that of the next ranked salesperson. In 2000, Reisha continued her career with Concert, a joint venture of AT&T and British Telecom, where she was Director of Internet Protocol Solutions and worked in London, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo.
Reisha matriculated in a dual degree program from which she earned both a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Spelman College and a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering Degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she was the president of the Mechanical Engineering Student Advisory Council.
Reisha has been honored by Living Classrooms Foundation and Politico as a “Rising Star,” an award recognizing outstanding leaders for their achievements and philanthropic efforts and sits on the board of directors of Living Classrooms of the National Capital Region.
Over the course of her professional career and mostly as part of her personal pursuits, Reisha has traveled to over 40 countries. She has also lived in Brazil and speaks Portuguese. In her spare time, Reisha enjoys skiing, kayaking, boating, RVing, yoga, exploring less traveled paths and destinations, and occasionally creating artwork.