Ophelia Devore-Mitchell Biography

Ophelia DeVore (born August 12, 1922) is an American businesswoman and former model. She was the first mixed-race model in the United States. In 1946, she helped establish the Grace Del Marco Agency, one of the first modeling agencies in America.

Emma Ophelia DeVore was born on August 12, 1922 in Edgefield, South Carolina. She was one of ten children born to John Walter DeVore, who was of German American and African American descent, and Mary Emma Strother, who was a Black Indian. Monsieur DeVore owned a road contracting business and her mother was an educator and musician. Her father mentored her in communicating well with people, as her mother stressed proper education, appearance, and etiquette.

DeVore attended segregated schools until she was nine, and then moved to Winston-Salem to live with her mother's brother, John. Two years later she moved to New York City to stay with her great-aunt Stella Carter. This prevented any future educational interruptions due to her father's travel schedule.

DeVore graduated from Hunter College High School and went on to New York University. There, she majored in mathematics and minored in languages.

In 1941, she married Harold Cater. He worked as a firefighter while she studied fashion, public relations, and advertising. Together, they had five children: Carol, Jimmy, Marie, Michael and Cheryl.

DeVore married Vernon Mitchell in 1968, who died in 1972.

In 1989, she was featured in Brian Lanker's "I Dream a World," a collection of portraits and biographies of black women who helped change America. In 2004, she was honored by the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Fashion Arts Xchange, Inc. for her contributions to fashion and entertainment. She is also the CEO and publisher of The Columbus Times Newspaper in Columbus, Georgia.