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Home | ArtMakers, MediaMakers | Jill Nelson
Color: Orange
Food: Fish
Quote: I'm Done.
Season: Season
Vacation Destination: Matha's Vineyard
New York, New York United States
Interview Description:

Biography |

Interview Date: 11/11/2016

Journalist and author Jill Nelson was born on June 14, 1952 in Harlem, New York to Stanley Earl Nelson, a dentist, and A'Lelia Nelson, a librarian and president of the Madam CJ Walker Corporation. Nelson attended New Lincoln School in New York City and later attended Solebury School in New Hope, Pennsylvania. She graduated with her B.A. degree in English from the City College of New York in 1977. She went on to receive her M.S. degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 1980.

Nelson worked as a freelance journalist for various New York periodicals until 1986, when she was offered a staff position at the Washington Post and headed the new Sunday magazine. She left the Post in 1990 and pursued a career as a freelance writer once again. Nelson wrote the screenplay for PBS-TV’s Mandela in 1985, and Two Dollars and a Dream in 1989. In addition, she authored the screenplay for the U.S. Department of Education’s Michael’s Journal in 1991. From 1998 to 2003, Nelson worked as a professor of journalism at the City College of New York. She contributed to numerous publications throughout her career, including The New York Times, Essence, The Washington Post, The Nation, Ms., the Chicago Tribune, the Village Voice, USA Today, and USA Weekend. Nelson also lectured widely and was a monthly contributor to the Op Ed page of USA Today, and hosted numerous writing workshops. In 1993, Nelson published her best-selling memoir, Volunteer Slavery: My Authentic Negro Experience, which won an American Book Award. She wrote Straight, No Chaser: How I Became A Grown-Up Black Woman, which was published in 1997, Finding Martha’s Vineyard: African Americans at Home on an Island, published in 2005, and novels Sexual Healing and Let’s Get It On, which were published in 2003 and 2009, respectively. Nelson also edited Police Brutality: An Anthology, which was published in 2000.

Nelson was named the Washington, D.C. Journalist of the Year at the Washington Post in 1989. She was a recipient of the Gadly Award in 1994, and the Josephine Miles Award in 2004.

Nelson and her husband, Flores Alexander Forbes, live in New York, New York. The couple has a daughter, Sunshine Muse, and two grandsons.

Jill Nelson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 11, 2016.

Speaker Bureau Notes: