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Jill Nelson

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Information about Jill Nelson

Profile image of Jill Nelson

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Author
Journalist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Orange
Favorite Food:
Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Season
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Matha's Vineyard
Favorite Quote:
I'm Done.

Birthplace

Born:
6/14/1952
Birth Location:
New York, New York

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Author
Journalist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Orange
Favorite Food:
Fish
Favorite Time of Year:
Season
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Matha's Vineyard
Favorite Quote:
I'm Done.

Birthplace

Born:
6/14/1952
Birth Location:
New York
See how Jill Nelson is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Journalist and author Jill Nelson was born on June 14, 1952 in Harlem, New York to dentist Stanley Earl Nelson and librarian A'Lelia Nelson. Nelson attended Solebury School, a boarding high school in New Hope, Pennsylvania; and went on to earn her B.A. degree in English and African American studies from the City College of New York in 1977, and M.S. degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 1980.

Nelson worked as a freelance journalist for various New York periodicals until 1986, when she accepted a staff position at the Washington Post and headed the new Sunday magazine. She left the Post in 1990 and pursued a career as a freelance writer once again. She wrote the screenplay for PBS-TV’s Mandela in 1985, and Two Dollars and a Dream in 1989. In addition, she authored the screenplay for the U.S. Department of Education’s Michael’s Journal in 1991. From 1998 to 2003, Nelson worked as a professor of journalism at the City College of New York.

She contributed to numerous publications throughout her career, including The New York Times, Essence, The Washington Post, The Nation, Ms., the Chicago Tribune, the Village Voice, USA Today, USA Weekend, and msnbc.com. Nelson also served as a lecture on many occasions and was a monthly contributor to the Op Ed page of USA Today. She also hosted numerous writing workshops. In 1993, Nelson published her best-selling memoir, Volunteer Slavery: My Authentic Negro Experience, which won an American Book Award. She also authored Straight, No Chaser: How I Became A Grown-Up Black Woman, which was published in 1997, Finding Martha’s Vineyard: African Americans at Home on an Island, published in 2005, and the novels Sexual Healing and Let’s Get It On, which were published in 2003 and 2009, respectively. Nelson also edited Police Brutality: An Anthology, which was published in 2000. She was named the Washington, D.C. Journalist of the Year at The Washington Post in honor of her contributions to journalism.

Nelson and her husband, Flores Alexander Forbes, have a daughter and two grandsons.

Jill Nelson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 11, 2016.

See how Jill Nelson is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jill Nelson's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jill Nelson talks about cases of police brutality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jill Nelson lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jill Nelson describes her maternal grandparents, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jill Nelson talks about racial identity
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jill Nelson describes her maternal grandparents, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jill Nelson talks about her maternal grandparents' community in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jill Nelson describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jill Nelson talks about her parents' education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jill Nelson talks about her paternal uncle, Howard Nelson, Jr.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jill Nelson describes her parents' decision to move to New York City
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jill Nelson lists the places where her family lived in New York City
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jill Nelson talks about her siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jill Nelson describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jill Nelson describes the sights and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jill Nelson remembers her childhood in New York City
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jill Nelson recalls the political climate in New York City during the 1960s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jill Nelson remembers her early experiences of watching television
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Jill Nelson talks about her father's career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Jill Nelson remembers her parents' divorce
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Jill Nelson describes her mother's career as a librarian
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jill Nelson describes her teenage years in New York City
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jill Nelson remembers her relationship with her high school teacher
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jill Nelson talks about raising her daughter
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jill Nelson remembers her early interest in writing
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jill Nelson describes her master's thesis, 'The Dope Kids of 115th Street'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jill Nelson remembers her freelance career at Essence magazine, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jill Nelson remembers her freelance career at Essence magazine, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jill Nelson talks about supporting her daughter
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jill Nelson recalls the journalistic challenges she faced at Essence magazine
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jill Nelson remembers being hired at The Washington Post Magazine
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jill Nelson recalls her experiences as a staff writer at The Washington Post Magazine
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jill Nelson talks about her daughter's high school education in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jill Nelson remembers the stories that she covered for The Washington Post Magazine
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jill Nelson talks about her work in investigative journalism
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jill Nelson recalls her departure from The Washington Post Magazine
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jill Nelson describes the responses to her book, 'Volunteer Slavery: My Authentic Negro Experience'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jill Nelson describes her teaching career at the City College of New York
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jill Nelson talks about her career as an author
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jill Nelson describes her recent novels
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jill Nelson talks about her activism
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jill Nelson talks about President Donald John Trump's campaign
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jill Nelson reflects upon the Black Lives Matter movement
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jill Nelson shares her advice to aspiring journalists
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Jill Nelson reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Jill Nelson reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jill Nelson narrates her photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jill Nelson narrates her photographs, pt. 2