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Leonard Pitts

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Information about Leonard Pitts

Profile image of Leonard Pitts

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Syndicated Columnist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Shrimp, Red Beans and Rice, Dark Chocolate
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Paris, France
Favorite Quote:
Doesn't Matter How Hard You Hit, It's How Hard You Can Get Hit And Stand Back Up

Birthplace

Born:
10/11/1957
Birth Location:
Orange, California

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Syndicated Columnist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Shrimp, Red Beans and Rice, Dark Chocolate
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Paris, France
Favorite Quote:
Doesn't Matter How Hard You Hit, It's How Hard You Can Get Hit And Stand Back Up

Birthplace

Born:
10/11/1957
Birth Location:
Orange
See how Leonard Pitts is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Journalist and author Leonard Garvey Pitts, Jr. was born on October 11, 1957 in Orange, California to Leonard Garvey and Agnes Rowan Pitts. He grew up in the impoverished South Central section of Los Angeles, California. A successful student, Pitts skipped several grades and entered the University of Southern California at age fifteen, where he graduated with his B.A. degree in English in 1977.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Pitts worked as a freelance journalist, writing for publications ranging from Musician to Reader's Digest. From 1976 until 1980, Pitts worked for Soul magazine as writer and editor. In 1980, he was hired as a writer for KFWB radio in Los Angeles, and, from 1983 to 1986, he worked for a program called Radioscope. Pitts wrote scripts for several radio documentaries in the late 1980s, including King: From Atlanta to the Mountaintop, Who We Are, and Young Black Men: A Lost Generation. He was hired by Westwood One, Inc. in 1989, and then by the Miami Herald in 1991, where he served as a music critic. Then, in 1994, Pitts was promoted to columnist at the Miami Herald, where he authored a column on race, politics and culture. His column was picked up for syndication by the Knight Ridder News Service, and appeared in about 250 newspapers.

Pitts is also the author of four books. His first book, Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood was published in 1999; Before I Forget, Pitts’s first novel, was released in March 2009; Forward from This Moment: Selected Columns, 1994-2008 was published in August 2009; and Freeman, his second novel, was released in 2012. Pitts has also been invited to teach at a number of institutions, including Hampton University, Ohio University, the University of Maryland, and Virginia Commonwealth University. In 2011, he served as a visiting professor at Princeton University, and in 2013, he taught at George Washington University.

Pitts has received numerous awards. In 1997, he took first place for commentary in the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors' Ninth Annual Writing Awards competition. In 2001, Pitts received the American Society of Newspaper Editors ASNE Award for Commentary Writing, and was named Feature of the Year - Columnist by Editor and Publisher magazine. In 2002, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists awarded Pitts its inaugural Columnist of the Year award. In 2002 and in 2009, GLAAD Media awarded him the Outstanding Newspaper Columnist award, and, in 2004, he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for commentary. Pitts also received the National Association of Black Journalists’ Award of Excellence three times, and was chosen as NABJ’s 2008 Journalist of the Year. He is a five-time recipient of the Atlantic City Press Club’s National Headliners Award and a seven-time recipient of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Green Eyeshade Award. Pitts has received honorary doctorate degrees in humane letters from Old Dominion University and Utica College.

Leonard Pitts was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 23, 2013.

See how Leonard Pitts is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Leonard Pitts' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Leonard Pitts lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Leonard Pitts describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Leonard Pitts describes the history of Natchez, Mississippi.
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Leonard Pitts describes her mother's education and occupation
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Leonard Pitts describes how his parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Leonard Pitts describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Leonard Pitts talks about his paternal family's land
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Leonard Pitts describes his father's upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Leonard Pitts talks about his father's military service
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Leonard Pitts describes his parents' marriage
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Leonard Pitts describes his parents' occupations
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Leonard Pitts describes his paternal family's migration from Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Leonard Pitts describes his parents' personalities and his likeness to them
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Leonard Pitts describes his home life
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Leonard Pitts describes the South Central section of Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Leonard Pitts describes his early interest in writing
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Leonard Pitts describes the early influences on his writing
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Leonard Pitts describes his relationship with his parents
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Leonard Pitts remembers his elementary school teachers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Leonard Pitts recalls singing in the junior choir at church
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Leonard Pitts remembers meeting Montie Montana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Leonard Pitts talks about his academic strengths
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Leonard Pitts talks about his relationship with his father
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Leonard Pitts remembers his favorite foods from childhood
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Leonard Pitts recalls his early submissions to literary magazines
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Leonard Pitts recalls his interest in popular culture
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Leonard Pitts remembers meeting his wife
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Leonard Pitts remembers John C. Fremont High School in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Leonard Pitts recalls publishing his first poem
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Leonard Pitts recalls attending the Resident Honors Program at the University of Southern California
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Leonard Pitts recalls joining the staff of Soul magazine
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Leonard Pitts remembers working as a music critic for Soul magazine
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Leonard Pitts remembers writing negative music reviews
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Leonard Pitts remembers his favorite musical artists
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Leonard Pitts recalls graduating from University of Southern California
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Leonard Pitts remembers his marriage
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Leonard Pitts describes his experiences as a radio writer
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Leonard Pitts describes his growing interest in black history
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Leonard Pitts talks about his radio documentaries
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Leonard Pitts remembers joining the Miami Herald
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Leonard Pitts remembers the Los Angeles riots of 1992
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Leonard Pitts talks about Elvis Presley's relationship with the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Leonard Pitts talks about the social influence of music
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Leonard Pitts talks about the changes in popular music
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Leonard Pitts recalls his decision to stop writing music criticism
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Leonard Pitts talks about his impressions of early rap music
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Leonard Pitts recalls writing columns for the Miami Herald
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Leonard Pitts describes his experiences of racial discrimination at the Miami Herald
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Leonard Pitts describes his writing process
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Leonard Pitts talks about responding to his readers' criticism
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Leonard Pitts recalls writing 'Becoming Dad'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Leonard Pitts shares his advice to fathers
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Leonard Pitts recalls his column about the attacks of September 11, 2001
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Leonard Pitts recalls his reaction to the O.J. Simpson trial
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Leonard Pitts recalls winning the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Leonard Pitts describes 'Before I Forget'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Leonard Pitts recalls receiving death threats for one of his columns, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Leonard Pitts recalls receiving death threats for one of his columns, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Leonard Pitts remembers writing 'Freeman'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Leonard Pitts describes the reception of 'Freeman'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Leonard Pitts talks about the importance of '12 Years a Slave'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Leonard Pitts talks about the misunderstanding of African American history
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Leonard Pitts describes his plans for the future
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Leonard Pitts describes his journalistic philosophy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Leonard Pitts reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Leonard Pitts reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Leonard Pitts talks about his family
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Leonard Pitts describes how he would like to be remembered