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Evelyn Cunningham

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Information about Evelyn Cunningham

Profile image of Evelyn Cunningham

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist
Newspaper Reporter

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
All Seasons
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
1/25/1916
Birth Location:
Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist
Newspaper Reporter

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
All Seasons
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
1/25/1916
Birth Location:
Elizabeth City
See how Evelyn Cunningham is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Evelyn Elizabeth Long Cunningham was born on January 25, 1916 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina to Clyde Long and Mary Whitehurst. Cunningham’s grandmother was named Ellen Whitehurst, and she worked as a reporter for the Elizabeth City Daily News. Cunningham’s family relocated to New York City when she and her brother, Clyde, were young. Cunningham’s parents decided to relocate after hearing Cunningham say that her life ambition was to pick cotton when she grew up. Cunningham attended P.S. 9 Elementary School and P.S. 136 High School in New York City. She later attended and graduated from Hunter High School in 1934. Cunningham then attended Hunter College and transferred to Long Island University where she earned her B.A. degree in social science in 1943. She also attended Columbia University School of Journalism and the New York School of Interior Design.

Before finishing her undergraduate study, Cunningham began writing for the Pittsburgh Courier. She remained at the publication from 1940 to 1962 working as a reporter, columnist and editor, reporting and commentating on social issues and the Civil Rights Movement. In 1961, Cunningham started her own radio show called At Home with Evelyn Cunningham on WLIB Radio, where she further discussed and commentated on social and racial issues. Her first guest was Malcolm X. In 1966, she served as Jackie Robinson’s executive assistant. From 1967 to 1969, Cunningham worked as special assistant of community relations to then New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and worked as Deputy Campaign Manager for the National Rockefeller for President Committee in 1968. In 1970, Cunningham served on the Rockefeller Latin America Mission, and between 1969 and 1974, she worked as special assistant to New York Governors Rockefeller and Malcolm Wilson, and was Director of the Women's Unit for the Office of the Governor of New York. Between 1975 and 1976, Cunningham served as special assistant to U.S. President Gerald Ford, Office of Vice President Rockefeller. Between 1964 and 1990, Cunningham was appointed to more than a dozen government commissions.

Cunningham has received several awards during her career including New York City’s Century Club’s Women of Year Award, 1998; the Harlem Renaissance Award from the Abyssinian Development Corporation, 1998; and an honorary doctorate from the City University of New York, 1997.

Cunningham is still active today. She has been married three times and lives in New York City.

Cunningham was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 7, 2006.

See how Evelyn Cunningham is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Evelyn Cunningham's interview, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Evelyn Cunningham lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Slating of Evelyn Cunningham's interview, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Evelyn Cunningham describes her father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Evelyn Cunningham describes growing up in Elizabeth City, North Carolina
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Evelyn Cunningham remembers reading her grandmother's newspaper column
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Evelyn Cunningham describes her mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Evelyn Cunningham describes her maternal grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Evelyn Cunningham describes her extended family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Evelyn Cunningham recalls seeing the Wright brothers in Elizabeth City
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Evelyn Cunningham recalls her grandmother's favorite pastime
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Evelyn Cunningham describes the neighborhood where she grew up
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Evelyn Cunningham recalls moving to New York City
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Evelyn Cunningham describes living in New York City's Harlem neighborhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Evelyn Cunningham remembers her summer camp at St. Philip's Episcopal Church
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Evelyn Cunningham describes her mother's dressmaking business, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Evelyn Cunningham describes her mother's dressmaking business, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Evelyn Cunningham recalls the influence of her elementary school principal
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Evelyn Cunningham describes her childhood interest in writing
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Evelyn Cunningham remembers her early interest in newspapers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Evelyn Cunningham recalls attending P.S. 136 in New York City
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Evelyn Cunningham remembers attending Hunter College High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Evelyn Cunningham describes her impressions of New York City as a child
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Evelyn Cunningham describes her experiences at Hunter College High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Evelyn Cunningham recalls studying journalism at Long Island University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Evelyn Cunningham recalls joining the fencing team at Long Island University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Evelyn Cunningham recalls being hired by the Pittsburgh Courier
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Evelyn Cunningham describes her column in the Pittsburgh Courier
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Evelyn Cunningham remembers befriending Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Evelyn Cunningham describes the difficulty of writing about famous figures
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Evelyn Cunningham recalls reporting on a sit-in, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Evelyn Cunningham recalls reporting on a sit-in, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Evelyn Cunningham recalls attempting to interview Commissioner Bull Connor
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Evelyn Cunningham recalls being welcomed into black communities in the South
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Evelyn Cunningham describes her radio show, 'At Home with Evelyn Cunningham'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Evelyn Cunningham recalls Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Evelyn Cunningham recalls interviewing Nelson Rockefeller
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Evelyn Cunningham recalls working with Jackie Robinson and Nelson Rockefeller
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Evelyn Cunningham recalls leading the Women's Unit for Nelson Rockefeller
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Evelyn Cunningham talks about the exclusion of black women from feminism
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Evelyn Cunningham describes the lack of friendships between black and white women
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Evelyn Cunningham describes her friendship with Shirley Chisolm
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Evelyn Cunningham describes her perception of women's rights
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Evelyn Cunningham talks about Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Evelyn Cunningham describes her political affiliation
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Evelyn Cunningham reflects upon racial and gender discrimination
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Evelyn Cunningham describes the coverage of black news in majority newspapers
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Evelyn Cunningham describes her disappointment with President Richard Nixon
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Evelyn Cunningham recalls her conflict with Charles B. Rangel
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Evelyn Cunningham recalls founding the National Coalition of 100 Black Women
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Evelyn Cunningham describes her board memberships
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Evelyn Cunningham reflects upon the role of the African American press
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Evelyn Cunningham describes her hopes and concerns for the Harlem community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Evelyn Cunningham describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Evelyn Cunningham describes being honored in Albany, New York
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Evelyn Cunningham reflects upon her legacy