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Brenda Payton Jones

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Information about Brenda Payton Jones

Profile image of Brenda Payton Jones

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Newspaper Columnist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Turquoise
Favorite Food:
Strawberries
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring, Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Jamaica, Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
8/24/1952
Birth Location:
Omaha, Nebraska

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Newspaper Columnist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Turquoise
Favorite Food:
Strawberries
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring, Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Jamaica, Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
8/24/1952
Birth Location:
Omaha
See how Brenda Payton Jones is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Journalist Brenda Payton was born Brenda Joyce Williams on August 24, 1952, in Omaha, Nebraska. At three years of age, Payton’s parents (Dr. James B. Williams and Willeen Williams) moved the family to Chicago, Illinois. Payton was raised in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, attending the University of Chicago Laboratory School for elementary and high school. While at the Laboratory School, she began her interest in writing. As a high school student in the late 1960s, Payton was active in cheerleading and theater. Payton attended civil rights events at Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr.’s Operation PUSH, and rallies with Fred Hampton and the Black Panther Movement. By her senior year in high school, Payton was a National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist. She then began her college career as a theatre arts major at Pomona College.

Payton eventually changed her major and received her B.A. degree in history from Pomona College in 1973. She then studied West African literature in Ghana for one year as a Watson fellow. In 1974, Payton returned to the United States to attend graduate school. Upon receiving her M.A. degree in journalism from Boston University, she worked for the New Bedford Standard Times and the Boston Phoenix. Payton then took a position at the San Francisco Examiner covering general assignments in the area. In 1980, Robert Maynard, the first Black editor and publisher of a mainstream newspaper, recruited Payton to work at the Oakland Tribune.

For the past twenty-five years, Payton has written for the Oakland Tribune covering local and national political and social issues including the link between the health of African Americans and racial discrimination, underage prostitution, the internment of Japanese Americans, the United States war on terror, and Hurricane Katrina. Her writings have been published in The New York Times and Thinking Black, an anthology of African American columnists. She has also been a recipient of Stanford University’s John S. Knight Fellowship.

In 1992, Payton was an associate producer and the investigation director for a PBS documentary on mortgage lending discrimination entitled Your Loan is Denied. In 1994, her national report addressing violence among African American youth was published by the Children’s Defense Fund’s Black Community Crusade for Children. The Bay Area Black Journalists Society honored Payton in October 2005 for her contributions to journalism. In March 2006, CityFlight Newsmagazine honored Payton as on the Ten Most Influential African Americans in the Bay Area. She continues to write for the Oakland Tribune, and does monthly radio commentary on public radio station, KQED-FM.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Brenda Payton Jones' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Brenda Payton Jones lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Brenda Payton Jones talks about her family's U.S. military service
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her father's surgical training
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her maternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her paternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Brenda Payton Jones describes Hyde Park in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Brenda Payton Jones recalls experiencing racial discrimination in Hyde Park
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Brenda Payton Jones describes the smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Brenda Payton Jones remembers her favorite elementary school teachers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her childhood personality and aspirations
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her social life at University of Chicago Laboratory School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her political involvement as a teenager, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her parent's community involvement
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her political involvement as a teenager, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Brenda Payton Jones recalls her teenage pastimes
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her desire to attend Yellow Springs' Antioch College
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Brenda Payton Jones recalls attending Pomona College in Claremont, California
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her academic interests at Pomona College
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Brenda Payton Jones recalls her Thomas J. Watson Fellowship in Ghana
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Brenda Payton Jones recalls the desegregation of Boston's schools, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Brenda Payton Jones recalls the desegregation of Boston's schools, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Brenda Payton Jones recalls writing for The Standard-Times in New Bedford, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Brenda Payton Jones describes Massachusetts' Cape Verdean population
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Brenda Payton Jones recalls writing for The Boston Phoenix
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Brenda Payton Jones recalls joining the staff of the San Francisco Examiner
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Brenda Payton Jones explains the importance of diversity in journalism
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Brenda Payton Jones remembers Robert C. Maynard
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her column for the Oakland Tribune
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her documentary on lending discrimination
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Brenda Payton Jones recalls the integration of two congregations after a church burning
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her work in public radio
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Brenda Payton Jones reflects upon African American journalists' progress in Oakland
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her passion for dance
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Brenda Payton Jones describes the demographic changes in Oakland, California
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Brenda Payton Jones reflects upon her life and how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Brenda Payton Jones narrates her photographs