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Donna Britt

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Information about Donna Britt

Profile image of Donna Britt

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Newspaper Columnist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Coral, Orange
Favorite Food:
Vanilla Ice Cream
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Ranch La Puerta
Favorite Quote:
I Know Nothing.

Birthplace

Born:
1/1/1954
Birth Location:
Gary, Indiana

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Newspaper Columnist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Coral, Orange
Favorite Food:
Vanilla Ice Cream
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Ranch La Puerta
Favorite Quote:
I Know Nothing.

Birthplace

Born:
1/1/1954
Birth Location:
Gary
See how Donna Britt is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Journalist and author Donna Britt was born in Gary, Indiana, to Thomas and Geraldine Britt.  The sole daughter among four children, Britt grew up in a tight-knit, achievement-focused household.  She graduated from Gary West Side High School in 1972, and attended Hampton University, where she graduated in 1976 with her B.A. degree in Mass Media Arts. The following year, Britt began working on her M.A. degree in journalism from the University of Michigan. In 1977, her older brother Darrell was shot and killed by a pair of Gary policemen.  After internships with the Charlotte Observer and the Ann Arbor News, Britt graduated with her M.A. degree from the University of Michigan in 1979.


After graduation, Britt was hired as a staff writer for the Detroit Free Press, working for six years as a general assignment reporter, feature writer and fashion columnist. While in Detroit, Britt married a local public relations executive, a union that lasted three years and produced two sons. In 1985, she was hired as an editor at USA Today, eventually becoming the newspaper’s Los Angeles bureau chief and co-movie critic, positions she held until 1989. That year, Britt attained her “dream job” as a writer for the Style section of the Washington Post . After three years in Style, Britt was promoted to Metro columnist. Her opinion pieces covered a range of subjects, including gender and race relations, pop culture, books, film, and personal recollections. Syndicated by The Washington Post Writer’s Group, Britt’s column eventually appeared in sixty-two newspapers. From 2009 to 2010, Britt served as a columnist for the Politics Daily online news website.                       


In 2011, Britt published the critically-acclaimed book Brothers (& Me): A Memoir of Loving and Giving, which was excerpted by Essence magazine and listed as one of “10 Titles to Pick Up Now” by O Magazine.  Winner of numerous local and national awards, Britt was nominated by the Washington Post for the Pulitzer Prize in journalism in 1990. That same year, she won Best Commentary from the National Association of Black Journalists. Britt’s columns won numerous local and national awards, including the Distinguished Writing Award for commentary and column writing by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, and honors from the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors. Britt is married to Washington Post Managing Editor Kevin Merida. They have three sons: Justin Britt-Gibson, Darrell Britt-Gibson and Skye Merida.


Donna Britt was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 6, 2013.
      

See how Donna Britt is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Donna Britt's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Donna Britt lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Donna Britt talks about her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Donna Britt talks about her maternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Donna Britt shares her mother's stories about growing up, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Donna Britt shares her mother's stories about growing up, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Donna Britt talks about her mother's education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Donna Britt talks about her grandmother's high school field trip to Washington, D.C. and service work
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Donna Britt discusses growing up watching television and the experience of otherness
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Donna Britt talks about her mother's college education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Donna Britt talks about her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Donna Britt talks about her paternal grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Donna Britt talks about how her parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Donna Britt describes her likeness to her parents
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Donna Britt talks about her siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Donna Britt describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Donna Britt describes Gary, Indiana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Donna Britt talks about growing up in Gary, Indiana in the 1960s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Donna Britt talks about starting grade school in Gary, Indiana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Donna Britt describes her personality as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Donna Britt talks about the role of church in her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Donna Britt talks about what books she liked to read while growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Donna Britt talks about her favorite TV shows and movies from her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Donna Britt remembers her favorite teachers from Garnett Elementary School in Gary, Indiana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Donna Britt talks about the racial makeup of Ernie Pyle Elementary School in Gary, Indiana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Donna Britt remembers watching Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s March on Washington speech
  • Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Donna Britt remembers her family trips to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Donna Britt talks about junior high school during desegregation
  • Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Donna Britt talks about the first African American mayor of Gary, Indiana, Richard G. Hatcher
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Donna Britt talks about the periodicals that she read when she was growing up
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Donna Britt discusses her high school years
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Donna Britt talks about her high school activities
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Donna Britt talks about choosing a profession in high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Donna Britt talks about seeing the Jackson Five in Gary, Indiana, pt.1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Donna Britt talks about seeing the Jackson Five in Gary, Indiana, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Donna Britt talks about high school graduation and deciding to go to college
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Donna Britt describes working at the National Black Political Convention in Gary, Indiana
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Donna Britt talks about the Black Power Movement and its influence on her as a teenager
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Donna Britt talks about the transition from the term "Negro" to "black" in the 1960s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Donna Britt talks about summer jobs and internships
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Donna Britt talks about journalism courses at Hampton University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Donna Britt talks about extra-curricular activities and teachers at Hampton University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Donna Britt talks about being encouraged to write at Hampton University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 15 - Donna Britt talks about graduating from Hampton University and graduate school
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Donna Britt talks about activism and graduate school at The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Donna Britt talks about her brother, Darrel Britt's death, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Donna Britt talks about her brother, Darrell Britt's death, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Donna Britt talks about the suspicious circumstances of her brother, Darrell Britt's death
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Donna Britt discusses the official report of her brother's death and the death of Trayvon Martin
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Donna Britt talks about writing about her brother's, Darrell Britt, death
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Donna Britt talks about writing for the Detroit Free Press
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Donna Britt talks about an article that she wrote on Ebonics for the Detroit Free Press
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Donna Britt discusses the role of language in race and power politics
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Donna Britt talks about the Black Arts Movement and Blaxploitation
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Donna Britt talks about leaving the Detroit Free Press for USA Today
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Donna Britt talks about working for USA Today as an editor
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Donna Britt discusses her favorite interviews while working at USA Today
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Donna Britt talks about interviewing celebrities
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Donna Britt discusses leaving Hollywood for the Washington Post
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Donna Britt talks about accepting an offer by Milton Coleman to write an opinion column
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Donna Britt talks about the subjects of her opinion column
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Donna Britt discusses writing about the O.J. Simpson trial
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Donna Britt discusses writing about Nelson Mandela's release
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Donna Britt discusses her article about the widening gulf between the middle class and the poor
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Donna Britt discusses writing about her encounter with George Bush's physician
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Donna Britt discusses her approach to writing about race, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Donna Britt discusses her approach to writing about race, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Donna Britt and Geraldine Britt describe their photographs
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of Donna Britt's interview, session 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Donna Britt remembers the O.J. Simpson trial, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Donna Britt remembers the O.J. Simpson trial, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Donna Britt recalls the public's reaction to the O.J. Simpson trial verdict
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Donna Britt talks about the implications of the O.J. Simpson trial
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Donna Britt describes her coverage of President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Donna Britt remembers President George Walker Bush's election
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Donna Britt remembers the attacks of September 11, 2001
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Donna Britt talks about the Iraq War of the 2000s
  • Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Donna Britt talks about the perception of print media within the black community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Donna Britt talks about the public's perception of print media during the Iraq War
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Donna Britt talks about Bill Cosby's Pound Cake speech
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Donna Britt describes her column, 'Cosby Becomes the Grandpa of Tough Love'
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Donna Britt remembers the presidential nomination and election of President Barack Obama
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Donna Britt recalls the black community's concerns following the election of President Barack Obama
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Donna Britt talks about skin color bias within the black community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Donna Britt talks about the role of President Barack Obama's family in his election
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Donna Britt describes her journalistic philosophy
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Donna Britt reflects upon the administration of President Barack Obama, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Donna Britt reflects upon the administration of President Barack Obama, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Donna Britt talks about the implications of President Barack Obama's election
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Donna Britt describes her book, 'Brothers (and Me): A Memoir of Loving and Giving,' pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Donna Britt describes her book, 'Brothers (and Me): A Memoir of Loving and Giving,' pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Donna Britt remembers appearing on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' and in O Magazine
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Donna Britt recalls the shooting of Trayvon Martin, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Donna Britt recalls the shooting of Trayvon Martin, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Donna Britt talks about the exoneration of George Zimmerman
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Donna Britt talks about her future plans
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Donna Britt describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Donna Britt reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Donna Britt talks about the role of women within the family
  • Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Donna Britt reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Donna Britt talks about her family
  • Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Donna Britt describes how she would like to be remembered