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Who can forget Clair Huxtable’s radiant smile and infectious charm? Can you still remember Vivian Banks and her smooth, mahogany skin and sharp intellect? Will we ever witness a more steadfast and loving TV mom than Florida Evans? These fictional characters embodied the essential qualities that every matriarch should possess. They remind us of the invaluable role that women play in the development and success of their offspring.

As Mother’s Day approaches, millions of people will soon experience a rush of emotion and nostalgia as they spend quality time with (or recall memories of) the women who gave them life, love and guidance.

These memories will probably include evenings by the fire, camped around the family television set, wrestling over a single bowl of popcorn and Jujubes.

Before the advent of cell phones, laptops and social media, it was common in many households for everyone to gather in one room and enjoy clean, wholesome entertainment. If you were White, chances are you watched shows like “Diff’rent Strokes,” “The Facts of Life,” or “Growing Pains.”

If you were part of a Black family, then it’s likely you preferred sitcoms like “Good Times,” “The Cosby Show,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” or if you were born in the 1950 and 60s, you may remember watching actress Diahann Carroll portray a widowed nurse and single mother on NBC’s groundbreaking TV series “Julia.”

The show ran for 86 episodes and was the first to depict an African American woman in a non-stereotypical role. This notable achievement opened doors for other talented performers to play the family matriarch in many of the programs that we’ve all come to know and treasure. In honor of the upcoming holiday, Our Weekly has compiled a multi-generational list of the most beloved, Black TV moms.

1. Diahann Carroll (Julia, 1960s)

In “Julia,” Carroll played widowed single mother Julia Baker who was a nurse in a doctor’s office at a large aerospace company. Julia’s 9-year-old son, Corey, had barely known his father before he died.

Previous television series featured African American leads, but the characters were usually servants. Caroll’s role was a departure from the status quo in Hollywood for women of color during that period in time.

Though Julia is now remembered as being groundbreaking, during its run it was derided by critics for being apolitical and unrealistic. Carroll herself remarked in 1968, “At the moment we’re presenting the White Negro. And he has very little Negroness.”

The Saturday Review’s Robert Lewis Shayon wrote that Julia’s “plush, suburban setting” was “a far, far cry from the bitter realities of Negro life in the urban ghetto, the pit of America’s explosion potential.”

Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” refers to Julia in the same breath as Bullwinkle, implying that her character was something of a cartoon.

Ebony published a somewhat more supportive assessment of the program, writing: “As a slice of Black America, Julia does not explode on the TV screen with the impact of a ghetto riot. It is not that kind of show. Since the networks have had a rash of shows dealing with the nation’s racial problems, the light-hearted Julia provides welcome relief, if, indeed, relief is even acceptable in these troubled times.”

The series also came under criticism from African American viewers for its depiction of a fatherless Black family. Excluding a Black male lead, it was argued, “rendered the series safer” and “less likely to grapple with issues that might upset White viewers.”

Nevertheless, “Julia” will always be the first show to highlight the trials and triumphs of single-motherhood.

2. Florida Evans (Good Times, 1970s)

As a stay-at-home mother, Florida (Esther Rolle) was the super-glue that kept the Evans family together. As a young adult she met her childhood sweetheart and the love of her life, James Evans, and eventually married him. They began their marriage living in the Southside of Chicago in a cold water flat where she gave birth to their two oldest children James Evans Jr. “JJ” and Thelma Evans. When Florida was pregnant with their third child Michael Evans, they moved to the Northside of Chicago in the housing projects.

With a stern but loving disposition, Florida did her best to emotionally support her often out-of-work husband and be a good parent and role model for their three children. Between the cooking, the cleaning, and the disciplining, Florida often squeezed in a part-time job to help stretch the family dollar. But family and financial challenges aside, Florida was the quintessential hostess and possessor of a generous spirit. She was known to throw a good party and didn’t hesitate to offer whatever she had to those in need. Not only was Florida the superwoman of the Evans household, she was equally generous and loyal to her friends and neighbors, including her wacky partner in crime, Willona.

3. Clarrissa Olivia “Clair” Huxtable, ESQ (The Cosby Show, 1980s)

Clair (Phylicia Rashad) was the very eloquent, elegant wife of Dr. Cliff Huxtable. She’s playful, silly, yet very assertive. Her character was originally supposed to be a housewife, but when the show finally aired, she became a lawyer. During the series, she becomes a partner in her law firm, and she successfully represents her daughter, Sondra, in a case over dishonest car repairs. When it came to the Huxtable household, she was in charge, even though she let Cliff think he was in charge (although Cliff was known to lay down the law when he had to). Clair was the chief disciplinarian of the children, as shown in an episode where Vanessa and her friends snuck off to Baltimore to see a rock concert and Clair delivers a memorable and scathing diatribe to her. Clair is also something of a disciplinarian to Cliff, particularly in matters of Cliff sticking to a healthful diet and rationing his junk food intake. Clair Huxtable was voted as television’s “Favorite TV Mom” in a poll conducted by the Opinion Research Company in 2006. The character is loosely based upon Cosby’s wife, Camille Olivia Hanks-Cosby.

4. Vivian Banks (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, 1980s-1990s)

Vivian’s personality and role in the show changes over the run of the series. During the Janet Hubert-Whitten years, she is a no-nonsense, vocally talented, forthright, and career-minded woman who plays a part in the show equal to her husband Philip. It is revealed in the season one episode “Love at First Fight,” that Vivian dropped out of high school as a teenager and worked menial jobs, before attending night school in order to get her high school diploma and enter college to work toward her doctorate.

In one early episode, she takes a temporary job as a Black History teacher at Bel-Air Academy, the upscale preparatory high school attended by Will (Smith) and Carlton, and later by Ashley. She had one older sister, Vy (Will’s mother), and two younger sisters, Helen and Janice. Will had a terrible habit of seeing women solely as objects of desire, and Aunt Viv was there to counter his sometimes narrow-minded notions. She stood up not only for herself but also for her loved ones, attacking ageism, sexism, and racism along the way. Aunt Viv helped shape her wild and crazy nephew into the man that he was always meant to be. She was a feminist hero whose regality and brilliance showed Will, and all of us, what it meant to be a bad-ass woman who could succeed in both her career and her family life.

5. Harriette Winslow (Family Matters, 1990s)

Harriette Baines-Winslow was the matriarch of the Winslow family. She was the smartest and the most assertive at home and work. Harriette always kept a cool head, in contrast to her husband who almost always blew his top whenever neighbor Steve Urkel dropped by the house to visit. She often came across as a quiet and reserved nurturer, but her family and coworkers knew better than to rile her up. She possessed the patience of schoolteacher, and the tenacity of a prize fighter. But more importantly, she was a rock for her husband and three children.

6. Janet “Jay” Kyle (My Wife And Kids, early 2000s)

Jay’s (Tisha Campbell Martin) role in the series was typically to be the voice of reason for the family, including her eccentric and somewhat juvenile husband Michael (Damon Wayans). For example, when Michael evicted Junior (their son) from the house in season three’s “Jr.’s Risky Business” after catching him and his girlfriend Vanessa in bed together, she was the one who tried to have Michael rethink his decision. Jay’s role as a housewife often conflicted with her desire to be a career woman. Her thirst for professional success and independence occasionally sparked feuds between she and her husband, but Jay always remained loyal to her duties as a wife and mother of three zany children. In times of confusion, she’s levelheaded. In moments of despair, she’s nurturing and sympathetic (like every mother should be). But don’t let these qualities fool you. During many episodes, she was just as crafty and devilish as the rest of the Kyle clan.

7. Rainbow Johnson (Black-ish, 2014-current)

Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross) is an anesthesiologist and the bi-racial wife of Dre (Anthony Anderson), who disagrees with some of her liberal viewpoints. But they are in agreement that they want to successfully raise their family in a better situation than they had growing up. Much to her husband’s wonderment, she believes their children can exist in a colorless society. She takes pride in the fact her husband will break down barriers by becoming the first Black senior VP of his advertising firm. She is also looking forward to the salary increase that will follow.

This list isn’t comprehensive. Other memorable TV moms include Rochelle Rock (“Everybody Hates Chris”), Cookie Lyon (“Empire”), Tasha Mack (“The Game”), Mary Jenkins (“227”), Dee Mitchell (“Moesha”), Ella Payne in (“House of Payne”) and Lisa Landry Sims (“Sister, Sister”) and many others not mentioned. These fictitious characters epitomized the essence of womanhood and motherhood, and they all provided a lasting blueprint for parents watching them to follow.