The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Harry Porterfield

Share on Social Media

Information about Harry Porterfield

Profile image of Harry Porterfield

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Television Personality

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Barbeque
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Florida, Idlewild, Michigan
Favorite Quote:
The Only Place Success Comes Before Work Is In The Dictionary.

Birthplace

Born:
8/29/1928
Birth Location:
Saginaw, Michigan

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Television Personality

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Barbeque
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Florida, Idlewild, Michigan
Favorite Quote:
The Only Place Success Comes Before Work Is In The Dictionary.

Birthplace

Born:
8/29/1928
Birth Location:
Saginaw
See how Harry Porterfield is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Harry William Porterfield was born on August 29, 1928 in Saginaw, Michigan to Viola and Harry, Sr. After moving to Chicago, Illinois in 1964, he has gone on to become one of Chicago's best-loved media personalities, known for his series, Someone You Should Know.

Porterfield graduated from Saginaw's Arthur Hill High School in 1946 and then received an A.S. from Bay City Junior College in Bay City, Michigan. Although he enrolled in the University of Michigan, his studies were interrupted after just one year. In 1951, Porterfield was drafted by the Army. He served less than two years in Germany and attained the rank of Sergeant. In 1954, he earned a B.S. in chemistry from Eastern Michigan University at Ypsilanti.

Porterfield began his broadcasting career in 1955 when he joined Saginaw's radio station WKNX as a jazz disc jockey. He worked as a continuity editor, as well as a cameraman and stagehand at WKNX-TV. In 1964, Porterfield became a news writer at Chicago CBS affiliate WBBM-TV Channel 2. Eventually, he co-anchored the WBBM-TV news and created the Emmy Award-winning shows Channel Two: The People and Two on Two. Someone You Should Know, his most popular series, aired in 1977 for the first time.

In 1985, Porterfield left WBBM and became a reporter for WLS-TV Channel 7, an ABC affiliate station in Chicago. He continues to produce the profile series Someone You Should Know. Porterfield has won numerous awards over the course of his television career, including 10 Emmy Awards, the Columbia DuPont Journalism Award, the Studs Terkel Award and the Operation PUSH Media Fairness Award. He is a member of the Jazz Institute of Chicago and plays violin in the Chicago Bar Association Orchestra-he earned a J.D. in 1993 from DePaul University School of Law. He and his wife, Marianita, have four children.

See how Harry Porterfield is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Harry Porterfield's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Harry Porterfield lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Harry Porterfield talks about his mother's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Harry Porterfield talks about his father's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Harry Porterfield describes his family's light complexion and their ability to "pass" for white
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Harry Porterfield describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Harry Porterfield describes how his parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Harry Porterfield describes his hometown of Saginaw, Michigan
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Harry Porterfield describes the sights, smells, and sounds of growing up
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Harry Porterfield describes growing up in his mostly white neighborhood of Saginaw, Michigan
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Harry Porterfield describes himself as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Harry Porterfield talks about his experiences attending Fuerbringer Elementary School in Saginaw, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Harry Porterfield describes his feeling of inferiority going to elementary school with white children
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Harry Porterfield talks about his interest in music growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Harry Porterfield describes the radio programs he and his father listened to in his youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Harry Porterfield describes himself as a student in high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Harry Porterfield talks about attending Bay City Junior College and the University of Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Harry Porterfield describes being drafted into the U.S. Army in 1951
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Harry Porterfield talks about serving in Germany in the U.S. Army in 1951
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Harry Porterfield talks about enrolling at Eastern Michigan University after being discharged from the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Harry Porterfield talks about visiting Idlewild, Michigan, after graduating from Eastern Michigan University in 1954
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Harry Porterfield talks about entering the broadcasting field, becoming a DJ at WKNX, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Harry Porterfield describes supporting himself with multiple jobs before entering T.V. broadcasting
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Harry Porterfield talks about selling and writing music for commercials
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Harry Porterfield talks about becoming a news writer for the CBS affiliate WBBM-TV Channel 2 in Chicago, Illinois in 1964
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Harry Porterfield talks about being one of the only African Americans in broadcast news in 1964 in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Harry Porterfield describes helping to produce the ten o'clock news at WBBM-TV Chicago
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Harry Porterfield talks about producing news for WBBM-TV in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Harry Porterfield talks about the process of becoming a news anchor in 1972
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Harry Porterfield describes learning the process of news writing and reporting while working as a broadcaster in the 1960s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Harry Porterfield describes his treatment as one of the few black men working at CBS-TV
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Harry Porterfield talks about anchoring a weekend news program and reporting for WBBM-TV in Chicago, Illinois in 1968
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Harry Porterfield describes an early news story he produced on 'Someone You Should Know,' in 1977
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Harry Porterfield talks about how 'Someone You Should Know' has changed since 1977
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Harry Porterfield describes memorable stories he produced on 'Someone You Should Know'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Harry Porterfield describes being inspired by the stories he produced at 'Someone You Should Know'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Harry Porterfield talks about co-anchoring the evening news on CBS in Chicago in 1979 with Bill Kurtis
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Harry Porterfield describes co-hosting CBS evening news with Don Craig and Bill Kurtis
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Harry Porterfield describes being demoted from his role as news anchor to accommodate Bill Kurtis' returned from New York in 1985
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Harry Porterfield describes being demoted from his anchor position at the CBS affiliate WBBM-TV Channel 2 in Chicago, Illinois when Bill Kurtis returned in 1985
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Harry Porterfield talks about the reaction from the black community to his demotion
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Harry Porterfield talks about moving to ABC Channel 7 in 1985
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Harry Porterfield describes the boycott and outrage in the black community subsequent to his firing at CBS Channel 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Harry Porterfield talks about transitioning to more success at ABC Channel 7 in 1985
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Harry Porterfield reflects on the changes made at CBS Channel 2 after his departure
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Harry Porterfield talks about attending DePaul University Law School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Harry Porterfield reflects on his career
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Harry Porterfield reflects on the changing nature of journalism
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Harry Porterfield talks about the role of music in his life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Harry Porterfield describes his hopes and concerns for the black community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Harry Porterfield describes what makes Chicago, Illinois unique
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Harry Porterfield talks about his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Harry Porterfield reflects on the work of The HistoryMakers
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Harry Porterfield narrates his photographs