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Frankie O. Felder's Biography

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Frankie Ottowiess Felder

Author and speaker Frankie Ottowiess Felder grew up as the second oldest daughter in a military family that made segregated Petersburg Virginia her primary home during her youth. The intersection of religion, education, the military, and the Civil Rights Movement informed her world view, stimulating a keen interest in researching the legacies left by her ancestors, all of whom lived in states of the deep South.

Unknowingly, Frankie has followed in the footsteps of many of her ancestors, becoming an educator and a child of the church. She graduated cum laude from Virginia Commonwealth University in Elementary Education; received a M.Ed. in Student Personnel Administration from the University of Vermont, and an Ed.M. and Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard University. She has presented extensively at conferences, designed and facilitated workshops, taught classes, participated in strategic meetings, and spoken in schools and churches over the course of her life on topics related to African American history, education, faith, and family in local, statewide, national, and international venues, including Taiwan, South Africa, and Italy. Education was not only her career path; it was, and is, her passion. 

The Council of Southern Graduate Schools recognized her as an “Outstanding Contributor to Graduate Education” for her riveting conference plenary presentations on desegregation in higher education in the South: “Continuing the Dialogue on Diversity: Understanding the Significance of the Little Rock Crisis,” and “What has happened since Brown? A Historical Overview of Landmark Court Cases Affecting the Desegregation of Higher Education with Emphasis on Graduate Education.”


OURstory Unchained and Liberated from HIStory is the first release by her publishing company, Edelweiss Publishers. Other books she has produced, in limited quantity for family and friends, include: As a Family Thinketh; Lessons for Life; and Traveling South Africa (a photo journal book), as well as the books she has written honoring the births and accomplishment milestones of her grandsons: Jordan’s First Coloring Book; Countdown; Jordan Plays Baseball; Countdown #2!; and Hi Julien, I’m Jordan, Your Big Brother! Numerous short stories and children’s books are in various stages of progress.


Sample public speaking engagements/projects have included: 


Furman University Riley Institute’s Class XVIII, Mélange team leader and project designer, Diversity Awareness Week, Anderson School District 5, October 2014 – March 2015.


“This is What We Know for Sure: Lessons Learned over a Decade of National Conversations,” plenary speaker, Tenth National Conference on Best Practices in Black Student Achievement, Clemson University, March 6, 2012.


“Dare to Dream: With Freedom Comes Responsibility:  A South Carolina Focus,” keynote speaker, Geer-Gantt Black History Day Celebration, January 17, 2010.

“Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude,” invited keynote speaker, Fifth Annual North Carolina OPT-ED Alliance Day, Greensboro, North Carolina, September 22, 2006.


“Designing Upward Mobility Strategies for Minority Women,” South Carolina Women in Higher Education Association (SCWHEA), Midlands Tech, Columbia, South Carolina, invited workshop facilitator; developed and facilitated statewide workshop for 46 women; March 18, 2002.

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