Magazine article The Crisis

Women in the News

Magazine article The Crisis

Women in the News

Article excerpt

Journalist Dorothy Gilliam was recently honored at the Library of Congress. The event was a lunch marking the launch of the Voices of Civil Rights Project, a collaborative effort of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, AARP and the Library of Congress to gather ordinary people's stories of the Civil Rights Movement.

A portion of the program highlighted the work of journalists who covered the movement. Gilliam, the first Black woman hired as a full-time reporter at The Washington Post, covered the 1957 integration of Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas and James Meredith's attempt to integrate the University of Mississippi in 1962.

That afternoon, Leah Y. Latimer, a former Post reporter and the editor of the narrative project, told me that she felt as though she had come full circle. Gilliam, her mentor, was being honored, while Latimer, whom I regard as a mentor, and I looked on.

As March, Women's History Month, rolls by, the deep-rooted circle of Black women journalists is growing wider.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931) was an early pioneer in journalism. Known for the 1892 anti-lynching editorials she wrote in The Free Speech in Memphis, Wells-Barnett worked for several church publications and Black newspapers.

In 2002, Ethel L. Pay ne (1911-1991) was commemorated on a U.S. Postage stamp as part of the "Women in Journalism" series. Payne covered the Civil Rights Movement for the Chicago Defender, and eventually reported from Africa and Vietnam, and covered seven U.S. presidents.

Gilliam and countless other Black women journalists continue their legacy.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault, the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Georgia in 1962, spent 10 years at The New York Times and 20 years at PBS where she was a national correspondent for what is now The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. After a stint at National Public Radio, where she was the network's chief Africa correspondent, she became CNN's Johannesburg bureau chief. …

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