By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Nine Philadelphia women are being honored today as part of Women’s History Month, during a “Taste of Freedom” luncheon at the Union League.

The list of honorees includes Joan Myers Brown of Philadanco (left photo), poet and activist Sonia Sanchez, and former CBS-3 reporter and host Trudy Haynes.

“It’s really wonderful to be remembered,” says Haynes (right photo), who made history nearly 50 years ago when she became Philadelphia’s first African-American television reporter. “It was striking out to do something that wasn’t ordinary in the country, but KYW made it easy for me,” she recalls.

Beverly A. Harper, president of Portfolio Associates Inc., will be honored for her business acumen and contributions to the city of Philadelphia.

“I’m very committed both with my time and my resources to help groups like Philadanco and the Painted Bride Art Center, and have worked with a number of cultural institutions,” says Harper, who advises young women to become entreprenuers.  “Start a business,” she says, “instead of trying to get a job, create jobs for other people.”

Mann Center CEO Catherine Cahill says it’s only fitting that the six-month-long Philadelphia Freedom Festival salutes groundbreaking women in areas such a business, media, art, medicine, and more as they honor the life of 19th-century civil rights activist Octavius Catto.

“We are celebrating his courage, his strength, and his beliefs,” she says, “and this luncheon is a part of this festival.”

The festival includes nearly a dozen events, culminating with a July concert at the Mann Center.

For more on the Freedom Festival, go to