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Janis F. Kearney

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Information about Janis F. Kearney

Profile image of Janis F. Kearney

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Presidential Diarist
Presidential Appointee

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Sapphire Blue
Favorite Food:
Collard Greens
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
New Orleans, Louisiana
Favorite Quote:
To Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Required.

Birthplace

Born:
9/29/1953
Birth Location:
Gould, Arkansas

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Presidential Diarist
Presidential Appointee

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Sapphire Blue
Favorite Food:
Collard Greens
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
New Orleans, Louisiana
Favorite Quote:
To Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Required.

Birthplace

Born:
9/29/1953
Birth Location:
Gould
See how Janis F. Kearney is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Born in Gould, Arkansas, Janis Kearney was one of eighteen children of parents Ethel V. Kearney and James Kearney. After graduating from Gould High School in 1971, Kearney attended the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, earning a B.A. in journalism in 1976. She continued on with her education while working, earning thirty hours towards a M.P.A. from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

After earning her B.A. degree, Kearney was hired by the State of Arkansas in 1978, where she spent three years as a program manager for the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act program, and another six years as the director of information for the national headquarters of the Migrant Student Records Transfer System. Leaving government work, Kearney purchased the Arkansas State Press newspaper from Daisey Bates in 1987. She published the weekly paper for five years before joining the Clinton-Gore presidential campaign in 1992, where she served as director of minority media outreach. The following year, Kearney joined President Bill Clinton’s transition team. She began with the White House Media Affairs Office before being appointed as the director of public affairs and communications for the U.S. Small Business Administration, where she worked until 1995. That year, Kearney became the first presidential diarist in U.S. history, chronicling President Clinton’s day-to-day life. She remained in this capacity until President Clinton left office. Kearney came under scrutiny during the Starr Committee proceedings when her diary and testimony were subpoenaed. No wrongdoing was found.

After President Clinton left office, Kearney was named a fellow at Harvard University’s W.E.B. DuBois Institute in 2001, where she began work on a book about President Clinton entitled Conversations: William Jefferson Clinton-From Hope to Harlem. Kearney and her husband, former White House director of presidential personnel Bob Nash, are no strangers to the issues of race that still plague America. They were racially profiled by police following a car-jacking of a vehicle similar to theirs while still employed at the White House. Kearney served as the Chancellor’s Lecturer at the City Colleges of Chicago and continued her DuBois Institute writing project, as well as her work on Cotton Field of Dreams: A Memoir until moving with her husband and son to Arkansas.

Kearney was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 7, 2003.

See how Janis F. Kearney is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Janis Kearney's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Janis Kearney lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Janis Kearney describes her family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Janis Kearney describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Janis Kearney describes her parents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Janis Kearney describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Janis Kearney talks about working in the fields with her siblings as a child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Janis Kearney describes her father, James Kearney
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Janis Kearney talks about her childhood aspirations
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Janis Kearney describes her childhood community and church
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Janis Kearney describes her grade school years
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Janis Kearney describes her grade school experiences in Gould, Arkansas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Janis Kearney talks about her experience at Gould High School before and after integration
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Janis Kearney talks about race relations at Gould High School after integration
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Janis Kearney describes her high school activities at Gould High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Janis Kearney describes her experience at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, pt.1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Janis Kearney describes her experience at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, pt.2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Janis Kearney talks about her first marriage
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Janis Kearney talks about working in CETA while a graduate student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Janis Kearney describes the CETA program
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Janis Kearney talks about her work at the Migrant Education Program
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Janis Kearney explains why she joined Daisy Bates at the Arkansas State Press
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Janis Kearney describes her mentor, Daisy Bates
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Janis Kearney describes her father's political initiative and his admiration for Daisy Bates
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Janis Kearney talks about purchasing and running the Arkansas State Press
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Janis Kearney talks about the challenge of running a local paper while raising her son
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Janis Kearney describes her efforts to improve the Arkansas State Press
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Janis Kearney talks about meeting Bill Clinton and becoming the Director of Minority Media Outreach in the White House
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Janis Kearney describes her role as the Director of Minority Media Outreach during Bill Clinton's presidential campaign
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Janis Kearney describes working on her first presidential campaign for Bill Clinton
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Janis Kearney describes a memorable moment from Bill Clinton's presidential campaign
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Janis Kearney talks about her experience at the Democratic National Convention in 1992
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Janis Kearney talks about challenges during Bill Clinton's presidential campaign
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Janis Kearney talks about her interactions with HistoryMaker Avis LaVelle and Dee Dee Myers as a press officer in Bill Clinton's presidential campaign
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Janis Kearney describes different roles in a presidential campaign and how she got hired
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Janis Kearney describes the transition period before President Bill Clinton entered the White House
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Janis Kearney talks about working on Bill Clinton's inaugural committee
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Janis Kearney shares her personal experience of Bill Clinton's presidential inauguration
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Janis Kearney describes moving into the Eisenhower Executive Office Building
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Janis Kearney describes her early days in the Media Affairs Office
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Janis Kearney talks about working with Jeff Eller during her first year at the Media Affairs Office
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Janis Kearney describes her transition to the U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Janis Kearney talks about her husband, HistoryMaker Bob Nash, who also worked for the White House and in federal government
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Janis Kearney talks about background checks on presidential appointees
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Janis Kearney describes her work at the U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Janis Kearney talks about her role as President Bill Clinton's personal diarist
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Janis Kearney remembers when President Bill Clinton bestowed Congressional Medals of Honor upon the Little Rock Nine
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Janis Kearney talks about African Americans appointed by President Bill Clinton
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Janis Kearney talks about the impact of the Monica Lewinsky Scandal
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Janis Kearney talks about traveling with President Clinton on his 1998 trip to Africa
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Janis Kearney talks about moving to Chicago where she focused on writing
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Janis Kearney describes the significant events in her life that are chronicled in her memoir
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Janis Kearney reflects upon her family, her values, and her volunteer work
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Janis Kearney describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Janis Kearney reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Janis Kearney reflects upon her hopes and regrets
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Janis Kearney describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Janis Kearney narrates her photographs, pt.1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Janis Kearney narrates her photographs, pt.2