Newspaper publisher, editor and journalist Amelia Ashley-Ward was born on September 17, 1957 in Magnolia, Mississippi to Amile Ashley and Louise James Ashley. While still a child, Ashley-Ward’s family moved to San Francisco, where she attended junior high and high school. Ashley-Ward went on to receive her B.A. degree in journalism and photojournalism in 1979 from San Jose State University.
During her final year at San Jose State University, Ashley-Ward interned at the Sun-Reporter Publishing Company in San Francisco, where she was hired as a reporter and photojournalist for the Sun-Reporter newspaper in 1979. Then, in 1984, Ashley-Ward was promoted to managing editor of the Sun-Reporter. When the Sun-Reporter Publishing Company’s publisher Carlton Goodlett resigned in 1994, Ashley-Ward was promoted to publisher. While working at the Sun-Reporter, she also published photographs in People magazine and Jet magazine, and wrote a feature story for the African American magazine Sepia. Following Goodlett’s death in 1997, she bought the Sun-Reporter Publishing Company from Goodlett’s son, acquiring all three of the company’s newspapers: the California Voice, the Metro and the Sun-Reporter. Ashley-Ward also created the nonprofit Sun-Reporter Foundation in 2004, and was the founding president of the Young Adult Christian Movement.
Ashley-Ward has received many honors and awards while working at the Sun-Reporter Publishing Company. In 1980, she won the Photojournalism Award from the National Newspaper Publishers Association, and, in 1981, she received the Feature Writing Award from the same organization. The National Newspaper Publishers Association granted Ashley-Ward one more honor when, in 1998, she was elected Publisher of the Year. In 1997, she received the Woman of the Year award from the San Francisco Black Chamber of Commerce. In 2004, Ashley-Ward received the Alumnus of the Year award from San Jose State University, and was the commencement speaker for the university's Journalism department that same year. She was also honored in 2005, when she was selected as Woman of the Year by California State Senator Carole Migden. In 2008, Ashley-Ward was named one of the forty nine Most Influential People in San Francisco by 7x7 Magazine. She also served on the boards of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and the San Francisco branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Ashley-Ward has one son, Evan Carlton Ward, an electronic media major at Middle Tennessee State University.
Amelia Ashley-Ward was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 4, 2013.