Dr. Annjennette Sophie McFarlin

Dr. Annjennette McFarlin, born 1935 in Pensacola, Florida, moved as a child with her family to the Woodawn Park Community in Chula Vista, California where she spent the majority of her life, except the years spent attaining various degrees in other states. Her first educational pursuits resulted in her becoming a vocational nurse after earning a B.A. from Cal State Long Beach in nursing and an M.A. in communications from UCLA. In 1975, she became the first African American to receive a Doctorate in Rhetorical Studies from Washington State University (WSU). She was the second African American woman to receive a Doctorate in any subject matter from WSU.

Annjennette is the first recognized scholar and book author of orator Hallie Quinn Brown, an African American activist from the late 1800’s. She taught at several educational institutions before returning to San Diego, including Northern Illinois University, University of New Hampshire, SDSU, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, WSU and Grossmont Community College. 

From 1994 to 2002, Dr. McFarlin was Director of the San Diego Imperial County Community College Association Regional Faculty Internship Project (SDICCCA). This project was recognized throughout the country for recruiting, training and placing ethnic faculty into community colleges. Over 130 interns were recruited, trained and placed into teaching positions within the community college system. Dr. McFarlin’s successful leadership of this program was recognized by the State Chancellor’s office for her contributions to enhancing diversity and inclusion in community college leadership in California.

A renowned public speaker, she helped start Black Storytellers of San Diego, Inc. in the late 1990s, which is under the auspices of the national association based in Baltimore, Maryland.   Additionally, Dr. McFarlin was an active member and past president of Epsilon Xi Omega, the local chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and was instrumental in establishing two undergraduate chapters, Mu Iota (a San Diego citywide chapter), and Kappa Sigma Chapter at Washington State University. She was president of the Martin Luther King Democratic Club from 2005 to 2007 and an active member of Bethel AME Church. Dr. McFarlin passed away in 2013.


Submitted by Joyce Suber, AKA/EXO Chapter Historian