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

Michelle Miller

News correspondent and anchor Michelle Miller Morial was born on December 8, 1967 in Los Angeles, California. She graduated from Howard University in 1989 with her B.A. degree in journalism. Morial went on to receive her M.A. degree in urban studies from the University of New Orleans in 1997.

In 1988, Morial interned for The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and then “ABC News Nightline” in Washington, D.C. As a reporter for the Los Angeles Times from 1989 to 1990, she wrote articles that appeared in the “South Bay” and “Valley” sections. Following a two-and-a-half year stint as a general assignment editor, producer and news reporter for the Orange County Newschannel in Santa Ana, California, Morial moved to Columbia, South Carolina in 1993, where she continued working as a news reporter as well as being named anchor of the “Weekend Morning News” at WIS-TV.

In 1994, Morial moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, where she served as a news reporter and weekend anchor at WWL-TV, a CBS-News affiliate. She then moved again in 1997 to host “The Early Edition.” From 1998 to 2001, Morial served as an adjunct professor of journalism and mass communications at Dillard University. In addition, she has lectured at Drew University, Howard University, Wellesley College, Stony Brook University, Southern University at New Orleans, Loyola University, and Louisiana State University. Also, while in New Orleans, she married Marc H. Morial, who was then serving as the Mayor of the City of New Orleans and went on to become President and CEO of the National Urban League, in 1999.

In 2004, Morial moved to New York City and was hired as the national correspondent and substitute anchor for “B.E.T. Nightly News,” and also joined CBS News. In 2005, she became a northeast bureau correspondent for CBS News. In that position, she not only reported the news for all CBS News broadcasts and platforms, but her work regularly appeared on the “CBS Evening News with Bob Schieffer,” “The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric,” “The CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley,” “The Early Show,” “CBS This Morning” and “CBS Sunday Morning With Charles Osgood.”

Morial has served as a member of the board of advisors at both the Scripps Howard School of Journalism at Hampton University as well as the School of American Ballet. She has also served on the March of Dimes National Communications advisory council. Morial is a member of the Greater New York City Chapter of the Links, Inc and Jack and Jill of America. A founding member of the Women’s Leadership Initiative for the United Way of New Orleans, she also served as vice president of the YWCA of Greater New Orleans, and as the president of both the Black Journalists Association of Southern California and the New Orleans Association of Black Journalists.

Morial received the 2013 Dupont Award from Columbia University and the 1998 Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association. She also received the 1998 and 2013 Salute to Excellence Award from the National Association of Black Journalists, and was voted as the Woman of the Year by the National Sports Foundation.

Michelle Miller Morial was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 15, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.015

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/15/2014 |and| 1/16/2014

Last Name

Miller

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Mari

Schools

University of New Orleans

Dayson Center, Tulane University

Palisades Charter High School

Walter Reed Middle School

Saticoy Elementary School

School For International Training

First Name

Michelle

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

MOR14

Favorite Season

Summer

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Lamu, Kenya

Favorite Quote

A setback is nothing but a setup for a comeback.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

12/8/1967

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

All Foods

Short Description

Television news correspondent Michelle Miller (1967 - ) News correspondent and anchor Michelle Miller Morial (1967- ) is an award-winning CBS News correspondent based in New York, reporting for all CBS News broadcasts and platforms.

Employment

CBS News

WWL TV

WIS TV

OCN

Favorite Color

Blue, Red

Suzanne Malveaux

Broadcast Journalist Suzanne Malveaux was born December 4, 1966 in Lansing, Michigan to Floyd J. and Myrna Maria Ruiz Malveaux. Her father was a Ph.D. student at the time of her birth and went on to become a prominent physician and professor. Her mother was an early childhood educator. Malveaux cites her parents’ leadership and guidance as key factors in her success in elementary school. She received her B.A. degree in sociology from Harvard University and her M.A. degree in journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Between her time at Harvard and Columbia, she spent time as an intern in Africa, doing documentary work in Kenya and Egypt where she lived. Malveaux also worked on a documentary about the Great Depression with Henry Hampton, founder of Blackside, Inc.

Malveaux’s first job in television news was as a general assignment reporter for New England Cable News in Boston, Massachusetts. After several years, she took a position reporting local and crime news for NBC affiliate WRC-TV before joining NBC Network News in 1999. She spent six years, three in Washington and three in Chicago, as both a Pentagon correspondent and reporter, covering national stories such as the Kosovo War, the 2000 Presidential Election and the 9/11 attacks. In May 2002, Malveaux joined CNN as a White House correspondent. During the 2004 and 2006 elections, she played a crucial role in the network’s election coverage, helping to earn the station an Emmy Award in 2006. Throughout Malveaux’s ten years as a White House correspondent, she conducted interviews with Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama. In addition to her work as a reporter, Malveaux served as a panelist during the Democratic presidential primary debate in January 2008 and anchored a 90-minute documentary on then presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama. Also in 2008, Malveaux interviewed former first lady, Hillary Clinton. She also served as the primary fill-in host on "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer".

Malveaux’s work at the New England Cable News Network earned her an Emmy award and contributed to the station’s “Best Newscast in Boston” award. Her role in CNN’s coverage of events such as Hurricane Katrina and the Southeast Asia Tsunami disaster helped earn the network both a Peabody Award and an Alfred I. DuPont Award. In 2004, the National Black MBA Association awarded her Communicator of the Year. She was named one of “America’s Most Powerful Players Under 40” by Black Enterprise magazine in 2005 and Journalist of the Year by Essence magazine in 2009. In 2011, Malveaux was promoted to anchor of CNN Newsroom. Throughout her career, Malveaux has traveled the world and interviewed all five living U.S. presidents.

Suzanne Malveaux was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 17, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.080

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/17/2012

Last Name

Malveaux

Maker Category
Schools

Columbia University

Harvard University

Swansfield Elementary

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Suzanne

Birth City, State, Country

East Lansing

HM ID

MAL07

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

Herb and Sheran Wilkins Media Makers

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Islands

Favorite Quote

You Do You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/4/1966

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Television news correspondent Suzanne Malveaux (1966 - ) has broken numerous stories for CNN, including the plea deal of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, White House personnel changes and the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. She also played a key role in CNN's election coverage.

Employment

Cable News Network

NBC News

WRC TV

New England Cable News

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Crimson, Burgundy

Timing Pairs
0,0:80715,1112:86565,1255:86865,1260:94574,1332:103100,1472:111200,1603:114800,1660:115200,1666:125826,1804:127428,1840:128496,1854:136010,1968:150589,2203:211214,2884:221510,2991:222030,3000:228041,3088:233335,3141:245472,3327:247012,3352:247551,3370:249784,3405:252248,3471:255251,3521:286650,3881$0,0:14467,181:14783,186:17864,252:18180,257:20076,303:20471,309:22446,356:22920,363:41189,481:42022,496:42736,506:43807,525:49996,570:52414,603:52726,608:53350,619:57570,720:80235,922:86367,1115:109079,1260:112684,1368:113508,1377:124420,1537:125300,1556:126708,1581:135655,1704:136278,1712:136990,1744:137791,1754:138414,1763:157198,2252:184720,2593:196782,2729:206270,2936:206695,2942:212900,3018:213344,3026:219042,3142:219856,3158:221336,3204:224660,3210:224990,3216:225650,3232:226508,3251:226904,3259:229272,3270:238076,3391:239936,3427:243733,3437:252924,3576:253752,3598:255684,3643:256512,3659:257823,3690:258375,3700:259962,3735:260238,3740:261273,3762:265420,3792:266355,3810:266695,3815:269755,3882:273517,3951:274039,3958:277780,4043:280912,4086:281695,4102:282043,4107:285175,4169:291166,4212:292462,4248:293110,4258:302116,4371:309250,4422:309725,4429:310485,4465:314095,4547:330774,4800:331078,4805:332522,4828:332902,4838:333814,4852:335334,4961:338374,4994:340426,5042:341566,5082:345840,5091:351070,5155
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Suzanne Malveaux's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Suzanne Malveaux lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Suzanne Malveaux describes her mother's family background - part one

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Suzanne Malveaux describes her maternal ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Suzanne Malveaux talks about her grandparents' life in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Suzanne Malveaux talks about her mother's growing up in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Suzanne Malveaux describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Suzanne Malveaux talks about her father's growing up in Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Suzanne Malveaux talks about her father's education and his career

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Suzanne Malveaux describes how her parents met and married

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Suzanne Malveaux talks about her siblings and her likeness to her parents

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Suzanne Malveaux talks about her twin sister and her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Suzanne Malveaux talks about her bond with her twin sister

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Suzanne Malveaux describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Suzanne Malveaux describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Suzanne Malveaux describes her experience in elementary school, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Suzanne Malveaux describes her experience in elementary school, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Suzanne Malveaux talks about her exposure to the media and black journalists while growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Suzanne Malveaux describes her involvement in a co-ed Boy Scouts troop while growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Suzanne Malveaux describes her experience in high school and growing up with a twin sister

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Suzanne Malveaux describes her involvement in extracurricular activities in high school

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Suzanne Malveaux talks about her teachers and role models

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Suzanne Malveaux talks about traveling with her family as a child and her travels as an adult

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Suzanne Malveaux talks about the early days of cable television and her interest in dance

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Suzanne Malveaux talks about her interest in medicine and her decision to pursue a career in broadcast journalism

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Suzanne Malveaux describes her decision to pursue undergraduate studies at Harvard University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Suzanne Malveaux describes her experience at Harvard University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Suzanne Malveaux talks about her teachers and mentors at Harvard University

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

4$5

DATitle
Suzanne Malveaux talks about her interest in medicine and her decision to pursue a career in broadcast journalism
Suzanne Malveaux describes her decision to pursue undergraduate studies at Harvard University
Transcript
It's time to graduate [from high school] in '84 [1984]. Now, what were your aspirations? Did you graduate with any--$$Well, one of the things--my mean my dad [Floyd Joseph Malveaux] being a doctor, he always wanted one of us to be a doctor. So he was kind of pushing that along. And I had thought about it because I loved biology and I thought about delivering babies. I thought that that would be the most noble thing to do, to bring children into the world. And there was one weekend that he actually set me up at D.C. [District of Columbia] General with one of his buddies, who's a doctor, who's an obstetrician. And we put our scrubs on and we did deliver babies together for a weekend. And it was actually kind of the most horrific experiences of childbirth, because you had a lot of people there, no prenatal care--very, very poor--emergency deliveries. Nothing was pretty. We had one woman who was obese and was a heroin addict and her baby was dead inside of her and had been inside of her for a while. But because she was a heroin addict, she hadn't naturally delivered. So, I was with this doctor, Dr. Lawer was his name. And we came in together with our scrubs, and I was just his little assistant. And she was there, and she was very angry, very upset. I think she might have still been high, and she was cursing at him because she was one of the only white people in the hospital because D.C. General mostly is predominantly black. So she was cursing at him, accusing him of, you know, undermining what was going on, you know, her baby and all that stuff. So it was really strange and disturbing to see. There was another young, young woman, a teenager. It was like her second or third child. Nobody was there with her. Nothing was happening on time, so she didn't have time for any medications. So she's screaming and crying and everything is just very traumatic. Another woman who came in had been raped. And so it was all these different types of deliveries and experiences within that weekend. And it did not discourage me at all. I loved it even more. I mean, I was not deterred by seeing all of that. It was pretty gross and disturbing, but I still was on that path. At the same time I also loved storytelling, drawing. I loved the visual as opposed to the print. I thought print was way too confining, although I loved to write stories, I loved to tell stories. I loved to, my sister [Suzette Malveaux] and I ever since we were kids we always had these little play school, little characters almost like little dolls, and we were always acting out things, acting out different dramatic storytelling or family drama or whatever. So, that was also something that I was also interested in. So when I went to college, I had these two competing interests. One was delivering babies and being pre-med, going down the pre-med track, and then the other was really journalism, radio, TV. And what I ended up doing was starting off pre-med in my freshman year, and at the same time I was doing internships for radio and TV stations. So I was working for radio and TV stations, reporting. I was already kind of involved in it. And so it was, it really was about what ultimately I was passionate about. And I didn't feel like I--I did not have the commitment to take all of those classes, all the pre-med classes, to go in that track. And I realized what I really, what I had been committing to, what I was spending all my time was, was leaving my classes and going to the local TV station and to the local radio station and putting on the broadcast, you know, writing and reporting for the local media. And when I--and I thought well, you know what, I can do this. This is something I can do as a career. That's when I really devoted a lot more of my energy and my time and my passion to that, and I let go of the pre-med.$$Okay.$We'll go back a little bit to high school. When you graduated from high school did you have any special role to play, valedictorian or salutatorian, or class president?$$I was the vice president of the student government for the county. And so I was very active in student government. I had been the class president. I wasn't the class president in my senior year. But I always had a mixed group of friends and lots of different groups that I was with, and was in the top ten percent of the class and part of a group of people who had studied together and ended up going off to the Ivy League--our high school was known for producing students who went off to the Ivy Leagues. It was a small group, but--$$How many students went off to--now, you went to Harvard, but how many from your high school went to Harvard?$$My sister also went to Harvard, too. So it was the two of us. Uh, well, I think there was, I think there were maybe four or five of us who were accepted. But others chose Princeton, Yale. It was a whole group of us. We were also thinking UVA, because we all loved UVA. But I think it was just the two of us.$$Okay.$$I mean there was a group of us who got in. No, no, no, there was one other person. There were three of us from our school that went to Harvard [University].$$Okay.$$Me and my sister [Suzette Malveaux], and actually another clarinet player who used to sit right beside me, Bob.$$Okay. Did you consider any other school?$$Oh yeah, definitely. I loved Georgetown [University]. Georgetown was like my number one school for a really long time because of international relations. I really loved the focus. It was just, it was funny because my sister and I had decided early on we were going to go to different schools, because as I mentioned, we were getting sick and tired of each other (laughter). But in high school we're like, we're like "I got to get a little more space." But it was funny. At first--well I applied just to see if I'd get it, it was a dare. And Suzette applied because she was tired of filling out applications, and I think Yale [University] required another essay, and she was like forget it. I don't want to write anymore. So she applied to Harvard. And I was shocked actually that I did get in. I didn't expect it, because it really was just a kind of a, you know, a dare basically. And then you know you get the thick envelope. Then it's like wow, okay, now what do I do? You know, am I even going to like this place, you know? Is this the kind of place I need to go to school, you know? You hear all kinds of things like ah, everybody's like, you know, snobby or they're rich or you know, there's no black people there, whatever. And so um, my sister got in, and my dad [Floyd Joseph Malveaux] to his credit said "Oh, why don't you go visit the school, why don't you see if you like it?" So we went up. And it was really incredible, because for the first time it was actually--there was a black community of people who had been in honors' classes and who were like, I mean, we were, we had a whole community, which was really amazing. We hadn't had that before. It was always like, you know, you were one of two or three black students in the class. And it was just an incredible welcome, you know, an epiphany and it felt amazing. And so it felt comfortable. It felt like, well this is the kind of place I could be, I can grow, I can relax and enjoy all aspects of who I am and what I am. And so they really sold us on the school when we were there. And we came back, we came back home, and then it was financial aid. It was like, we can't really afford to go to Harvard and we certainly can't afford to send two of you to Harvard. So we went back and we asked for more financial aid, if it was possible. And it came back to us and we did get more money, which was great. So we were able to, you know, carry the two of us. And then it was a matter of making decisions, because I had gotten into UVA [University of Virginia]--I had gotten into Georgetown. We had free rides at a lot of schools, we had full scholarships. So we weren't going to have to worry about the money if we decided to go. Much closer to home, Harvard was going to be a big financial burden, and so I went into my room and Suzette went into her room. You know, we had those separate rooms, and I prayed and I paced the room for awhile, and then I made a decision and I came out and Suzette came out of her room. And I said "I'm going to Harvard." She said, "I'm going to Harvard too." (laughter). So we turned to each other and we were like, "Huh, really?" "We're going to be stuck with each other a little longer." (laughter). But I am so glad we actually did go together, because it was family, you know. And it was like everything was new and fresh and different and exciting and scary, and I cried, you know. My parents [Floyd Joseph Malveaux and Myrna Maria Ruiz Malveaux] cried when they left us there on campus, but it was so nice to have her there on campus, you know. It was like a bit of home and security, you know, because she was my best friend.$$Okay, okay.

Michele Norris

Journalist and National Public Radio (NPR) host Michele Norris-Johnson (known as Michele Norris on NPR) was born on September 7, 1961, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Belvin and Elizabeth Norris. As a youth, Norris was encouraged by her parents to read the newspaper and watch the evening news. In 1979, she graduated from Minneapolis’ Washburn High School where she participated in the InRoads Program.

Norris went on to enroll at the University of Wisconsin to pursue a career as an electrical engineer. After completing three and a half years, Norris was encouraged by a dean to take political science courses. In 1982, she transferred to the University of Minnesota and majored in journalism and mass communications. There, she also wrote stories for the Minnesota Daily and was later hired by WCCO-TV as a beat reporter.

Throughout the 1980s, Norris worked as a reporter for the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the L.A. Times. During her stint with the Washington Post, Norris wrote a series about a six-year-old who was living in a crack house. The story was reprinted in a book entitled Ourselves Among Others. Then, in 1993, she was hired as a news correspondent for ABC News and as a contributing correspondent for the “Closer Look” segments on World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. While serving as a reporter for ABC, Norris received an Emmy Award and a Peabody Award for her contribution to the coverage of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

After working for ABC, in 2002, Norris was selected out of 100 candidates to be the host of All Things Considered, the nation’s longest-running radio program on NPR. In this capacity, Norris became the first African American female host for NPR.

In 1990, Norris won the Livingston Award for young journalists. She is a four-time entrant for the Pulitzer Prize. In 2006, she received the University of Minnesota’s Outstanding Achievement Award, and the National Association of Black Journalists’ Salute to Excellence Award. In 2007, she received Ebony magazine’s eighth annual Outstanding Women in Marketing & Communications Award.

Norris lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband Broderick Johnson and their three children.

Accession Number

A2008.078

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/2/2008

Last Name

Norris

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Washburn High School

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Eugene Field Community School

St. Joan of Arc Catholic Elementary School

Justice Page Middle School

Susan B. Anthony Junior High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Michele

Birth City, State, Country

Minneapolis

HM ID

NOR05

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Minnesota

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

Always Write Your Future In Pencil.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

9/7/1961

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Mangoes

Short Description

Radio host and television news correspondent Michele Norris (1961 - ) was the host of National Public Radio's (NPR) "All Things Considered". Norris also served as a correspondent for ABC News, where she won an Emmy Award and a Peabody Award for her coverage of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Employment

ABC News

National Public Radio

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:273,14:3640,71:4459,81:5824,102:6188,108:6552,114:6916,120:10480,130:11137,140:11794,151:13181,176:13619,183:15517,207:15955,214:16393,222:17050,234:20335,315:20627,320:40045,572:42230,638:42705,644:52465,773:54929,812:67070,1023:67610,1033:68420,1045:69230,1058:75144,1125:75536,1130:77496,1161:78084,1168:80825,1179:81150,1185:81410,1190:81670,1195:82905,1222:83295,1229:83555,1234:84075,1244:86090,1287:86350,1292:89080,1386:109381,1637:110074,1642:120299,1712:134114,1949:135141,1967:135536,1973:136247,1985:138380,2020:138696,2025:139170,2032:140987,2064:142962,2092:156471,2320:156866,2326:162984,2336:163452,2343:166962,2419:167274,2424:170082,2503:172500,2570:183170,2800:195251,2990:196061,3003:202776,3050:206649,3127:206957,3132:209496,3155:211168,3180:213280,3204:214336,3234:217768,3285:222586,3328:223272,3336:226212,3376:226800,3384:227192,3389:233854,3468:234376,3478:238280,3504:240430,3527:243166,3624:244530,3643$0,0:1312,34:5002,177:7298,240:8036,276:8856,287:15144,330:42605,703:52780,918:53165,924:59094,1182:63807,1212:64631,1221:65558,1242:67515,1269:77654,1435:87866,1590:88226,1621:90674,1689:96578,1861:103910,1913:104310,1976:121277,2284:131480,2461:142080,2548:144555,2715:145203,2756:154518,2932:166043,3117:172306,3245:173314,3272:178270,3365:179698,3390:181630,3419:182050,3425:192896,3517:200540,3632:207058,3722:209578,3823:213134,3882:215598,3939:221920,4038
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Michele Norris' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Michele Norris lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Michele Norris describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Michele Norris describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Michele Norris remembers her neighborhood in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Michele Norris describes her maternal grandmother, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Michele Norris describes her maternal grandmother, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Michele Norris describes her father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Michele Norris talks about her father's move to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Michele Norris describes her father's service in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Michele Norris talks about her father's move to Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Michele Norris describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Michele Norris describes how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Michele Norris remembers her father's frugality

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Michele Norris describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Michele Norris recalls her experiences during the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Michele Norris describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Michele Norris remembers her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Michele Norris remembers an influential elementary school teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Michele Norris recalls the mentorship of Principal Roland R. DeLapp

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Michele Norris describes her experiences at Washburn High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Michele Norris recalls her early interest in news publications

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$2

DAStory

6$7

DATitle
Michele Norris describes her maternal grandmother, pt. 1
Michele Norris describes her earliest childhood memories
Transcript
My [maternal] grandmother [Ione Hopson Brown] was, was very--she was a community activist and she was very, very, very, active in traveling around the city, and advocating for better housing, advocating for senior rights, there was a group a community organization called You Need Us [ph.], and she was the head of this organization, I remember as a child, she was given a key to the city. She was very, very, well known, and was a agitator in her own way, in sort of a Minnesota way, you know, and was very active in the Sabathani Community Center, on the south side of Minneapolis [Minnesota]. I'm kind of fidgeting because there's a story that is part of our history, but I'm kind of going back and forth here because my mother [Elizabeth Brown Norris] is, is--in the family they're split about whether the story really should be told, and I'm gonna share it with you because for the sake of history, and I apologize to my mother right now for doing this, because she's said tell that story when I'm gone, but I think that it's part of our history. My grandmother, was, had a certain standing in the community, and was very much looked up to and I didn't always understand where that came from and it--I discovered, really only recently, because my family only recently started to talk about it, and again, there's my Uncle Jimmy [James Brown] who's doing all this research, just discovered a lot about this and we'll talk about this and other parts of the family, except, please don't talk about that. My grandmother had earned a bit of a name for herself, and was able to earn money and put aside money for herself, and start a life traveling as a--she would do demonstrations, and it's--the background there is that it was several grain companies, in Minnesota, Pillsbury [Pillsbury Flour Mills Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota], General Mills [General Mills Inc.]--$$Yeah, and (unclear)--$$--she was a traveling Aunt Jemima, and she would travel throughout small towns, at a time when pancake mix, the idea of just adding water and eggs, and whipping up pancakes, was, was, new and different, and you used to, you know, you'd have to do all this by scratch, and she'd travel around and wear a kerchief on her head, and demonstrate how you could do this. And she would do this in rooms full of people, through small towns all across Minnesota, and I think she traveled to Iowa, and the Dakotas and she became very well known, and apparently, there were other traveling Aunt Jemimas around the country who were doing this--$$I've heard this, this kind of story before, and it may have been in Minnesota.$$Yeah.$$There's somebody, who may just be related to you. We'll talk about this after, (laughter). I'll try and think of who it is.$$Oh really, no, because this is--my mother hates this story.$$But there, there's, I heard this, yeah (unclear).$$And you know what, it's interesting, because it's--and it's not because of any kind of shame, my mother--I don't want you to think that she was ashamed of this at all, but it's very painful, because, I mean, you know the stigma associated with Aunt Jemima, but at the same time, you know, what a wonderful thing, that my grandmother was able to travel at a time when African Americans, in particular, African Americans didn't travel, and see the country, and receive a certain amount of accolade, and respect and was able to earn money, you know, doing this. And I think it set her on a path to becoming the community leader and the wise elder that she became in the community, so that's part of our, our, story too (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Now, I've heard different stories--$How many siblings do you have?$$I have two sisters [Cindy McGraw and Marguerite McGraw], yeah.$$Two sisters, okay. And where do you fall in the order?$$I'm the youngest, by ten years.$$Okay.$$They're ten and twelve years older than me. My mother [Elizabeth Brown Norris] was previously married to Donald McGraw [ph.], and my two sisters, were the product of that marriage, so (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Okay. All right, do have, have an earliest childhood memory?$$I don't know what my earliest childhood memory is, I have, I have several. I, I, remember playing dress up, you know, they kept a big dress up box for us, and, well a lot of it was my sisters' cast off clothes, 'cause you know my sisters were the coolest people on earth, we had a rec room in the basement, and you know, they had the hair tape, that they would curl right here, and I used to, used to sit in the basement and watch them dance to James Brown records, and I just thought they were the coolest people in the land.$$What's the gap between you?$$Ten and twelve years.$$Ten and twelve years. Okay, okay, so they were like--yeah (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) So, you know, I was an eight year old watching them--a six year old watching them, at sixteen and eighteen, and eighteen and twenty and they just, they were the personification of hip you know, to me. I remember Halloween, my father [Belvin Norris, Jr.] was a baseball fanatic, would watch baseball on television but listen to it on the radio, and I do remember on Halloween, I remember this very clearly, I wanted so badly to be--you know, the Sears [Sears, Roebuck and Co.] catalog would come with all of the Halloween costumes, and I wanted something that had tiaras and wands and I wanted to be a fairy princess, because all the other little girls in the neighborhood, were going to be like fairy princesses, my father dressed me up as Tony Oliva, and it was this Sears costume, you know, you would get, you know, the baseball costume, that doubled as pajamas, so, you know, you'd and then, I had to wear the Tony Oliva costume for months afterward (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) The, the great baseball player for Minnesota [Minnesota Twins] or something?$$Yes, yes (laughter), who, who is still spends time in Minnesota, 'cause, my sister and her husband, Tim [ph.], say that they went indoor to the Mall of America [Bloomington, Minnesota] to see him, at a local eatery or something, but yeah, I do, I have, distinct memories of that, and I remember going down to Birmingham [Alabama] a lot. I remember the summers in Birmingham, and spending time with my [paternal] grandparents [Fannie Walker Norris and Belvin Norris, Sr.], and all the cousins would be down there. I remember my grandfather, drove this gigantic car with suicide doors. The doors that opened up like this, instead of one door opening, it would open up so that the whole of the car was, sort of open, and he would drive, after he worked in the steel mills, and he would--after he retired, and most of his sons worked in the steel mills, my father never did, he moved up to Chicago [Illinois], right out of the [U.S.] Navy--he would drive back and forth to Bruno's [Bruno's Supermarkets, LLC] which was a grocery store, a chain down there, and I do remember driving, and I would love sitting in this gigantic car with my grandfather, who was also a very big man, big hands, big shoulders, and he would drive a woman back and forth to Bruno's. And I remember that, and we had sort of a lending system in the neighborhood, in Birmingham, and I also remember being there and they, they--and I guess that at the time, they couldn't use the library, the public library, so they had this sort of lending system, within the neighborhood in Ensley [Birmingham, Alabama], and I actually do remember, running books back and forth, and they kept a list of who had what book, and someone would want a book next, and I remember that when I was a kid also, was running the books all over. Those are some of my earliest memories.

Deborah Roberts

One of the top black women in broadcast journalism, Deborah Roberts has worked as an anchor, a talk show host, and a reporter. Born on September 20, 1960 in the small town of Perry, Georgia, Roberts was one of nine children. Her father, Ben Roberts, owned a carpet installation business. Even as a girl, Roberts admired television newscasters and dreamed of making it big. She attended the University of Georgia and graduated in 1982 with her B.A. degree in journalism.

After graduating from college, Roberts began working at WTVM-TV in Columbus, Georgia. She later worked in Knoxville, Tennessee for a time, and then, in 1987, moved to WFTV-TV, ABC-TV’s Orlando affiliate. In Orlando, Roberts became a bureau chief and served as the station’s field anchor at NASA during shuttle launches. She also co-anchored the weekend news. The Orlando Sentinel named Roberts the top local female anchor.

In 1990, Roberts began working for NBC news as a general assignment reporter for the Atlanta and Miami bureaus. She traveled to the Middle East in the wake of the Gulf War. In 1992, she went to Barcelona to cover the Summer Olympics and her coverage later garnered her a Sports Emmy. Later that year, when NBC started the newsmagazine Dateline NBC, Roberts was picked as a reporter for the show. She also worked as substitute anchor on the evening news. After five years at NBC, three of them with Dateline NBC, Roberts returned to ABC, as a correspondent for Dateline NBC’s rival show, 20/20. In her time on 20/20, Roberts has reported on such varied topics as sexual abuse in the Amish community, the plight of refugees in Rwanda and manic depression in young children. She did a segment on the emotional journey of African Americans returning to the places in Africa where their ancestors were held as slaves as well as an interview with baseball’s Darryl Strawberry exploring the destructiveness of alcohol abuse. She has also worked as a substitute anchor on other ABC shows, including Good Morning America and World News Weekend. Roberts’ work is widely acclaimed, and she has received the Clarion Award for excellence in communications.

Roberts married NBC weatherman Al Roker in 1995. The couple now lives in New York City with their children.

Roberts was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 26, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.213

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/26/2007 |and| 2/26/2008

Last Name

Roberts

Maker Category
Schools

Perry High School

Perry Elementary School

Perry Middle School

University of Georgia

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Deborah

Birth City, State, Country

Perry

HM ID

ROB15

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Southern France

Favorite Quote

Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/20/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pasta

Short Description

Television news reporter and television news correspondent Deborah Roberts (1960 - ) worked for the news magazines Dateline NBC and 20/20. She also served as substitute anchor on ABC's Good Morning America and World News Weekend.

Employment

NBC News

ABC News

WFTV-TV

WBIR-TV

WTVM-TV

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
0,0:4453,131:5183,143:8103,201:8760,212:10001,233:17301,369:18688,393:25475,468:26043,478:28954,527:29309,534:34563,661:35415,676:37900,742:38255,763:40669,810:43935,887:45923,960:46207,965:47343,991:48763,1023:49118,1029:57634,1094:58222,1102:62590,1190:64186,1221:69226,1311:69646,1317:77710,1446:79222,1473:86370,1519:89538,1562:91122,1586:98160,1658:105584,1759:107042,1785:107447,1791:109630,1805:110080,1811:114880,1933:115780,1945:119380,2021:119980,2031:124705,2177:125230,2202:131680,2360:132055,2374:142850,2693:154930,2822:177710,3147:179222,3188:179726,3196:180086,3202:180518,3208:188798,3363:189302,3371:190238,3395:192542,3439:193046,3447:199522,3464:200260,3475:207558,3614:208788,3633:209116,3638:211330,3647$0,0:345,13:828,21:6348,148:6900,158:7797,177:9246,220:9729,232:10902,257:11178,262:11454,267:12351,286:15318,355:15732,369:17388,398:23715,419:24445,430:25321,447:25978,457:27511,482:28022,491:30358,535:33789,617:34884,645:35614,659:36855,675:37439,684:44685,788:45513,812:46479,868:53862,1029:55656,1068:55932,1073:56898,1087:57243,1093:61245,1174:66560,1183:73787,1349:75831,1404:76415,1420:76780,1426:79335,1482:80138,1496:80503,1502:81087,1511:82766,1550:97418,1796:98084,1807:98602,1815:99194,1828:99490,1833:102450,1893:106460,1930:106810,1936:110310,2012:111220,2032:111570,2038:112200,2049:114510,2098:115140,2117:115770,2129:117240,2166:117590,2172:118080,2180:124080,2241:124506,2252:125287,2265:129405,2373:130044,2387:130612,2398:133594,2467:136079,2519:136576,2527:137996,2558:144628,2611:146761,2652:147077,2657:150790,2734:151106,2739:154424,2811:154740,2816:156557,2834:157189,2845:157900,2855:168252,2960:170700,3028:174870,3090:181830,3232:188310,3348:188950,3358:189270,3363:190470,3409:201480,3535:205110,3567
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Deborah Roberts' interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Deborah Roberts lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Deborah Roberts describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Deborah Roberts describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Deborah Roberts describes her mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Deborah Roberts describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Deborah Roberts lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Deborah Roberts remembers her neighborhood in Perry, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Deborah Roberts describes the sights and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Deborah Roberts remembers her home life

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Deborah Roberts describes her childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Deborah Roberts describes segregation in the South

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Deborah Roberts remembers New Hope Baptist Church in Perry, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Deborah Roberts recalls the beginning of school integration in Perry, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Deborah Roberts recalls integrating Perry Elementary School in Perry, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Deborah Roberts talks about the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Deborah Roberts recalls joining the cheerleading squad

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Deborah Roberts remembers instances of interracial dating

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Deborah Roberts recalls instances of skin color discrimination

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Deborah Roberts remembers her teacher, Dorothy Hardy

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Deborah Roberts describes her experiences as a cheerleader

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Deborah Roberts recalls her decision to attend the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Deborah Roberts recalls her first impression of the University of Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Deborah Roberts describes her early interest in television journalism

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Deborah Roberts describes her early career aspiration

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Deborah Roberts remembers her first reporting job

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Deborah Roberts describes the beginning of her journalism career

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Deborah Roberts remembers becoming a NBC correspondent

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Deborah Roberts recalls her work as a NBC News correspondent

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Deborah Roberts remembers her assignment to Kuwait, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Deborah Roberts describes lessons that she learned as a correspondent

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Deborah Roberts talks about working with Tom Brokaw at NBC News

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Deborah Roberts remembers joining the ABC News program, '20/20'

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Deborah Roberts recalls travelling to Kuwait

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Deborah Roberts remembers reporting on the Persian Gulf War in Kuwait, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Deborah Roberts remembers reporting on the Persian Gulf War in Kuwait, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Deborah Roberts describes the management hierarchy of television networks

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Deborah Roberts' interview, session 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Deborah Roberts remembers the University of Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Deborah Roberts remembers her journalism professors

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Deborah Roberts recalls joining NBC News in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Deborah Roberts describes her early career at NBC News

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Deborah Roberts remembers her assignment in Kuwait, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Deborah Roberts recalls returning to NBC News in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Deborah Roberts describes how she met Al Roker

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Deborah Roberts remembers her early friendship with Al Roker

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Deborah Roberts talks about making mistakes on the air

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Deborah Roberts describes her early attraction to Al Roker

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Deborah Roberts remembers her transition to ABC News

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Deborah Roberts talks about Barbara Walters

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Deborah Roberts describes the ABC News magazine show, '20/20'

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Deborah Roberts recalls interviewing Rosa Parks

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Deborah Roberts remembers her '20/20' assignment to Ethiopia

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Deborah Roberts recalls reporting on the Rwandan genocide

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Deborah Roberts remembers her trip to Ethiopia

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Deborah Roberts describes her experiences in Ethiopia

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Deborah Roberts remembers Lydia Dawson's reunion with her mother in Ethiopia

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Deborah Roberts recalls experiencing the culture in Ethiopia

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Deborah Roberts describes the reaction to her segment, "Her Lost World"

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Deborah Roberts talks about the impact of her segment, "Her Lost World"

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Deborah Roberts describes her introduction to news anchoring

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Deborah Roberts talks about balancing motherhood with her career

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Deborah Roberts talks about her family life

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Deborah Roberts describes her social life in New York City

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Deborah Roberts talks about her fundraising campaigns

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Deborah Roberts talks about the importance of hands-on parenting

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Deborah Roberts talks about Al Roker's gastric bypass surgery, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Deborah Roberts talks about Al Roker's gastric bypass surgery, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Deborah Roberts talks about protecting her family's privacy

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Deborah Roberts describes the progression of news media

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Deborah Roberts talks about the Internet's impact for news media

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Deborah Roberts describes her ABC News career

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Deborah Roberts talks about Katie Couric transition to anchor of 'CBS Evening News'

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Deborah Roberts reflects upon her career

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Deborah Roberts talks about retirement

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Deborah Roberts describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Deborah Roberts shares advice to aspiring African American journalists

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Deborah Roberts reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Deborah Roberts describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$2

DATape

4$7

DAStory

2$3

DATitle
Deborah Roberts remembers reporting on the Persian Gulf War in Kuwait, pt. 1
Deborah Roberts describes the reaction to her segment, "Her Lost World"
Transcript
And, you know, it was sort of old-fashioned reporting where we would grab a pad and a pen and just go out combing the countryside, looking for stories. Obviously communication was sort of compromised because of what had happened in this country [Kuwait]. Also too, this was 1991, so this was before you know satellite phones and all these things were just so readily available. We did have some satellite phones there, but we couldn't take them out with us. So, I remember, after arriving, running out, going out in a Jeep with a driver; you had to have somebody to accompany you. And, and going to a hospital for instance, to see what had happened to the hospitals, and what about the children who were at these hospitals. And I did a story [for NBC News] about the doctors who didn't have supplies and what was going to happen to the people who were dependent on them. And that story made it back and made it on the air. Now I didn't have a sense of that because I'm there in this country, but I was hearing from other people that they were well received. And then I started hearing stories about little landmines that were scattered out around the countryside. And there was a story about a reporter who had lost a finger, somebody who had lost a foot--a toe. And then, sort of the gravity of the whole thing hit me. There was this black acrid smoke that was hanging over the place because a lot of these oil wells had been set on fire. And during the day, sometimes it actually looked like it was dusk because it was just smoky and, and sort of filthy. And I began to worry, too, a little bit about what I was breathing. So there was like this, this underlying, low grade fear in me at all times, you know, traveling around this bombed out countryside, trying to do these stories. But also, this excitement as a reporter, that I'm over here, you know, covering this amazing assignment. And I remember calling my sister once because we had satellite phone and we could use it from time to time, and I called my sister in Miami [Florida], Janet [Janet Davis]. And she was just so excited to hear from me, and she was so nervous. And, I mean, I can kind of feel it now. I remember just feeling, like, almost in tears because I'm talking to my family and I've, you know, been there for probably more than a week at this point. And she was happy to know that I was okay, and she'd seen one of my reports, and so forth. So it was a brief conversation, but it was just a chance to check in with family.$$Can I ask a question? What--how--had they prepared you about the more- the mores of the Middle East and what, what to do (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Not much.$$They just--$$I mean I was aware, you know, that obviously that women were subjugated and, and, you know, there was a very patriarchal society.$$But even how to dress or not dress?$$No, no. And Kuwait was a very modernized country, so we didn't have to wear the headscarves and things like that. We certainly saw the women in the hijabs and, you know, and the black flowing dresses. But we, as Western correspondents, didn't have to wear them. But I heard some of the producers and correspondents talking about Saudi Arabia and the hypocrisy, and the men who, you know, went to prayer and, you know, and gave these outward appearances, but yet they had alcohol, you know, flowing freely in the bars, and things like this. So I heard my colleagues talking about, you know, this, this culture and how different it was and how hypocritical it was. And women in particular, my women colleagues were really quite insulted and taken aback by, by what they saw.$And the next morning when we got up in our same clothes, and you know somehow I grabbed a brush and managed to just sort of brush my hair together, having no idea what I looked like, and smeared a little lip gloss on my face. I've never gone on television like this before. But I was just going with it. We followed her to the next village because the mother [Asha] wanted her to see some other people. And then we discovered that night--that morning a whole group of villagers from her mother's village had walked the whole night just to come see this long lost daughter from the United States. And so, we come outside and there all these people, maybe twenty of them, standing outside just to greet Lydia [Lydia Dawson]. Oh, my heart burst. Absolutely burst. I mean, on the one hand this is an amazing story; as a journalist: "Wow, I'm getting this, are you getting this? This is a great story." But on the other hand, I'm this black American woman who is witnessing to me just the ultimate in just pride of who your people are and what they symbolize for each other and how these people came together. And they're not educated people, and they certainly don't have any kind of communication that we can speak of; but yet, they knew that this long lost daughter from the United States was home to be with her mother, and they wanted to come and witness it. So they were there, and I got to talk to some of these people. And then we went off to go shoot in some other settings, and these children swarmed me and came over and wanted to talk and, you know, I mean, we just sort of talked the language of humanity, you know, I mean, I hugged them and we--I talked to them and they didn't really understand me, or a few of them maybe spoke a little bit of English. But they were just beautiful, amazing children who were spirited; who were curious; who were energetic. And, I was just loving every minute of it. And later that day, we had to wrap up and head back. And Lydia, of course, had to go back too. And I'll never forget the scene when sh- when we walked back--when we ride back, but then get back to the field where the plane was parked and start walking back to the plane, and her mother along with her brother and sister are standing and watching, and the mother just becomes so despondent, and just so overcome with grief and, you know, huddles down onto the ground and just is clutching--. And Lydia gives her picture of herself and her children. And she's clutching the picture and just holding herself and rocking, and just, just, you know, overwhelmed with grief at losing her daughter yet again in a way. And it was just powerful. And it was difficult for Lydia, too, but she vowed that she would come back, and she has since come back I've understood, she told me. But we came back and told the story, and everybody here at '20/20' was blown away by the majesty, the beauty, the wonder, the adventure, the reveal in this story. I mean, it had everything you could possibly want.$$And how long were you there, did you end up being there?$$I would say three or four days; not very long. I mean, obviously it takes a day to get there. Well, you know, I probably arrived one night, and started shooting the next day, and then jumped on this plane that afternoon, and spent the night, and we spent the next day shooting, came back to Addis [Addis Ababa, Ethiopia], stayed that one more day, and then, I think head- headed back home. So really only three or four days, a brief trip. But it was so magical; so magical and amazing.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault

Award-winning journalist, author, and school desegregation pioneer Charlayne Hunter-Gault was born on February 27, 1942, in Due West, South Carolina, to Charles and Althea Hunter. Because her father, a chaplain in the United States Army, was often re-assigned, Hunter-Gault and her siblings attended schools in California, Indiana, Ohio, Georgia and Alaska. Hunter-Gault graduated third in her class from Atlanta’s Henry McNeal Turner High School in 1960. Backed by a group of black businessmen and accompanied by fellow student Hamilton Holmes, Hunter-Gault applied for admission to the segregated University of Georgia. Initially denied admittance, she enrolled at Wayne State University in Detroit, but Constance Baker Motley of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and a group of Atlanta lawyers won her admittance to the University of Georgia in January of 1961. Hunter-Gault transcended the expected racial hostility, served a summer internship with the Louisville Times and graduated with her B.A. degree in journalism in 1963.

That same year, Hunter-Gault accepted a job as an editorial assistant with the New Yorker magazine. She won a Russell Sage Fellowship for a year and then served as a reporter and evening anchor for WRC-TV in Washington, D.C. She returned to print journalism by accepting a post with the New York Times in 1968, establishing the newspaper’s Harlem bureau. In 1978, Hunter-Gault joined PBS’s McNeil-Lehrer Newshour where she served as national correspondent and filled in as an anchor. She joined NPR in 1997 as chief correspondent in Africa. In 1999, Hunter-Gault became the Johannesburg, South Africa bureau chief for CNN.

Hunter-Gault has received numerous awards for journalism including two National News and Documentary Emmy Awards and two George Foster Peabody Awards. She has been recognized by the National Urban Coalition and the American Women in Radio and Television. Named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists, Hunter-Gault has written articles for Essence, Ms., Life, and Saturday Review. Her courage as a pioneer integrationist has been chronicled by Calvin Trillen and recognized by the University of Georgia, where a hall is named for her and fellow student Hamilton Holmes. Her autobiography, In My Place, was published in 1992. Hunter-Gault’s exploration of modern Africa, entitled New News out of Africa: Uncovering Africa’s Renaissance, was published in 2006.

Hunter-Gault is the mother of a grown son and daughter and currently lives in South Africa with her husband, banker Ron Gault.

Accession Number

A2006.092

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/15/2006 |and| 6/17/2006

Last Name

Hunter-Gault

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Henry McNeal Turner High School

Frank L. Stanton Elementary School

E. R. Carter Elementary School

University of Georgia

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Charlayne

Birth City, State, Country

Due West

HM ID

HUN05

Favorite Season

Summer

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

My Values Are A Suit Of Armor.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

2/27/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Sarasota

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Newspaper reporter, television news correspondent, and civic activist Charlayne Hunter-Gault (1942 - ) won admittance to the segregated University of Georgia in 1961. She has reported for 'The New York Times', PBS’s 'McNeil-Lehrer Newshour', NPR, and CNN, for whom she is the Johannesburg, South Africa bureau chief.

Employment

The New Yorker

Washington University, St. Louis

NBC News

The New York Times

The MacNeil/Lehrer Report

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:465,7:837,12:2139,29:6455,185:7145,198:13416,285:15480,316:15824,321:19041,355:19753,364:24292,428:24826,435:30700,509:46010,690:52130,781:52940,791:54290,825:56000,868:57800,913:70220,1033:72950,1069:80275,1099:80770,1105:85258,1148:85530,1153:85938,1160:87502,1193:90594,1222:91080,1230:91728,1239:92538,1251:93834,1274:94401,1282:103837,1389:104596,1402:109538,1423:114172,1481:114480,1486:115019,1495:116174,1527:116713,1536:117406,1546:121270,1573:123140,1602:124245,1615:125435,1634:125775,1639:130568,1675:151957,1942:152636,1951:153606,1962:156940,1978:165506,2071:166370,2092:166946,2105:167378,2112:167666,2122:169538,2180:170042,2188:179700,2369:184459,2414:184767,2419:186384,2447:186846,2454:187539,2493:193853,2592:194623,2605:196856,2631:200937,2709:201322,2718:213810,2978:218420,3063:221232,3126:222120,3145:223082,3161:223378,3166:231898,3256:232618,3269:234410,3287$0,0:2160,47:3360,75:3920,83:6720,164:7040,169:7840,180:9360,200:15726,307:16474,312:17086,325:17426,331:17698,336:20470,356:21964,380:34375,634:84430,1146:84790,1151:91062,1214:92994,1264:96214,1293:97410,1309:98146,1325:104400,1403:104984,1413:105276,1418:109802,1522:110240,1533:110751,1542:112138,1586:113306,1607:114912,1671:115423,1679:122122,1758:122650,1768:122914,1773:123178,1778:125158,1807:125422,1812:126610,1837:137547,2014:148840,2108:149120,2113:152445,2171:154020,2207:158900,2255:161960,2291:162770,2308:164750,2343:171412,2420:173181,2467:173730,2477:173974,2486:174340,2493:182101,2603:188452,2708:189148,2718:189670,2725:192367,2782:199150,2849:215250,3039:216330,3052:222777,3120:229497,3197:230012,3203:232587,3228:233308,3238:255136,3468:259648,3515:272210,3666:273302,3681:274849,3704:277397,3749:277761,3754:278671,3774:280764,3807:281310,3817:281856,3831:282948,3853:292880,3964
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Charlayne Hunter-Gault's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault explains the significance of the church in her life

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls the origins of her love for Africa

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls how her family valued education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her father's U.S. military service

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls her father's experience as a U.S. military chaplain

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recounts how her parents met, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recounts how her parents met, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her mother

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers moving to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers visiting New York City with her maternal grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her middle-class background

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers moving to the Alaska Territory in 1954

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her time in Anchorage, Alaska Territory

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her year in Anchorage, Alaska Territory

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers Henry McNeal Turner High School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls her high school accomplishments

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her influences as a high school student, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her influences as a high school student, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes the impact of historically black schools in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers volunteering to integrate the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers the process of applying to University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault explains the policies used to exclude African Americans from public universities in Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls being admitted by court order to University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her state of mind as she prepared to enroll at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers registering at University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls the riot on her second night at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers leaving the University of Georgia after the riot

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls the drive back to Atlanta, Georgia after the riot at University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes returning to the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls her time at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls her supporters at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers her friends at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls a breakthrough she had with fellow students at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault compares her experience at University of Georgia with Hamilton Holmes'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes Hamilton Holmes

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault reflects upon the courage of her generation

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks about her marriage to Walter Stovall

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes the Henry W. Grady School of Journalism at University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls moving to New York City to work for The New Yorker

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes writing for the The New Yorker

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers New Yorker Editor William Shawn helping her develop as a writer

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls why she cut short her fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis in St. Louis, Missouri

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her accomplishments at NBC

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault shares her thoughts about being a news anchor

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls reporting on Ralph Featherstone's funeral

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers white editors' discomfort with black journalists

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers opening a bureau of The New York Times in Harlem, New York City

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls changing The New York Times' standard term for African Americans from Negro to black

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks about being mistaken as white in Africa

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault reflects upon how she grew as a reporter at The New York Times

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls leaving The New York Times to work for 'The MacNeil/Lehrer Report'

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers discrimination suits against The New York Times

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls the first African American wedding announcement in The New York Times

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault explains how she landed an interview with President Hafez al-Assad of Syria

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers her interview with President Hafez al-Assad of Syria

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks about 'Apartheid's People'

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls covering Nelson Mandela's release from prison

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her relationship with Nelson Mandela

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault explains what made 'The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour' unique

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault explains her motivation for creating 'Apartheid's People'

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls 'Apartheid's People' interview subjects, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls 'Apartheid's People' interview subjects, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers interviewing Thabo Mbeki

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault compares public broadcasting to corporate broadcasting

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault remembers interviewing Mengistu Haile Mariam

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault reflects upon the treatment of African leaders accused of crimes against humanity

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault reflects upon reporting in Zimbabwe

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks about Robert Mugabe's rule of Zimbabwe

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault considers the future of Zimbabwe

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes the African American community's response to her work

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks about cultural production in South Africa

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her current work

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault considers the history of post-colonial Africa

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks about the contemporary African renaissance

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes issues facing African women and children

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her hopes and concerns for the African American and African communities

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault reflects upon her life

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks about her family

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$8

DAStory

3$5

DATitle
Charlayne Hunter-Gault recalls being admitted by court order to University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia
Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks about 'Apartheid's People'
Transcript
But we were determined to do this, and so, I enrolled at Wayne [State University, Detroit, Michigan] and Hamp [Hamilton Holmes] enrolled at Morehouse [College, Atlanta, Georgia], and I think he was enjoying it. I certainly was enjoying Wayne. It was a--you know, it wasn't a typical university, it was more like a city college. You know, there was one building that was about fifteen or sixteen floors, and it had university office building, offices, et cetera, and I think the student dormitories were in there, student rooms on the, you know, on three of the floors--three of the higher floors, one for graduate students, one for guys and one for girls. So, it wasn't a huge boarding school, because most of the students who went there were from Detroit [Michigan] or within commuting distance. And a lot of them were older, too, you know, because it, it was a city college. Some of them were coming back from [U.S] Army stuff or, you know, having to work their way through. But still, I got into it and enjoyed it and, you know, made a lot of friends and, in fact, I came back in--for the court case in December of '60 [1960], and it was just before Christmas, and the case lasted a week, and I had wanted to go after I finished testifying, because it was all the parties that were leading up to the end of the term and the judge--the state refused to let me go. I think it was just totally punitive. And so we stayed and then I flew back to Detroit, got my things and came home for Christmas. It was home however long the Christmas holidays were. And then I went back to Detroit for the next term in January, and I had just arrived. And one day, I had walked from one of the buildings into my dormitory and everybody was saying, "You got a phone call, you got a phone call," and I found that it was a reporter. I must try and remember her name, I thought I would never forget it, and she said it was such and such, so and so from the Associated Press. And she said, "Congratulations." And I said, "For what?" She said, "Oh, you haven't heard?" And I said, "No." And she said, "Well, you've just been admitted to the University of Georgia [Athens, Georgia]. Federal Judge [William Augustus] Bootle has just ordered you admitted to the University of Georgia." And I said, "Oh, my God, I can't believe it!" And of course, you know, I hadn't heard from [Donald] Hollowell who was like--he was more than a lawyer to me, he was almost like a father, and I certainly thought that, you know--but he just hadn't had--I mean, they just--it was just so big they hadn't--because this was the first major desegregation case in the South, other than Little Rock [Arkansas], but at certainly at the level of higher education.$$This was before the University of Alabama [Tuscaloosa, Alabama], I think that was in '63 [1963], or before [University of] Mississippi [Oxford, Mississippi]?$$Well--actually, Autherine Lucy had applied [to University of Alabama] earlier and been admitted under court order, but had been suspended for the riots which happened similar to us, but that's getting ahead of the story. And she wasn't re-admitted because she was very critical of the administration.$$Now she was in, in--$$Alabama.$$Alabama. Okay.$$And, so this was the first big opening.$But then I went to South Africa in '85 [1985]; that was one of the biggest stories that I did for them ['The NewsHour'; 'PBS NewsHour']. We did a five-part series that ultimately became 'Apartheid's People,' and we got a Peabody Award for that, the highest award in broadcast journalism, and it recognized that this was the first time that, you know, any television had actually looked at the people of apartheid, as opposed to the caricatures of the good and the evil and, you know, the oppressed and the oppressor. We actually tried to understand why an Afrikaner might be the way he was and, you know, what he thought and all of that. And--$$What conclusion did you reach, I mean, what, what were some of the insights gained?$$Well, you know, those who practiced apartheid or believed in apartheid could give you justification in the Bible for the supremacy of whites, and they--I think they actually believed it. That they had these God-given--this God-given right to rule. They actually could find in the Bible the justification for oppression. They believed it. And one of the people I interviewed told me that one of the Afrikaners said that, you know, "Well, we believe in giving black people their rights, but we have to first bring them up to the first world standards," that South Africa is first world and third world. Of course, it was a rationalization. He may have believed it. Because I went back and visited some of them after the end of apartheid and then said, "Okay, now how do you feel that blacks are about to take over?" "Well, you know, those who are taking over, they're first world, they, you know, they're different." And you know, without being racist, I mean, when I heard that I was so appalled. But, you know, now that I've been over there, it's--I would say the same thing, but for different reasons and for different motivations. I mean, it is first world and third world, I mean. Johannesburg [South Africa] is like Atlanta [Georgia] or New York [New York], or you know, city. Skyscrapers. High tech. Boutiques. Anything you wanna find. But five minutes from Johannesburg is third world. It's just when I analyze it that way, I'm not meaning it to say that black people will never be able to achieve rights 'til they're educated to the rights. I mean, that was the whole point of saying that, then. But Thabo Mbeki, the president of South Africa, talks about two economies now, and it's very much like the two societies that the Kerner Commission [National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders] talked about in 1968, you know, there's a white, prospering, economically stable white society and then there's the black one. And South Africa is doing things to change that equation, but it's gonna take a long time. So, you still have those two societies--one white and prospering, with few blacks joining it, and then one massively deprived, black, poor black community. So, anyway, those were--that was a critical intervention on our part in those days, '85 [1985]. And then I subsequently went many other places around the world to--I think I went Haiti, I think for [Jean-Bertrand] Aristide and, you know, some of the big stories of those times. I went abroad to cover, as well as, you know, big domestic stories, but we did analysis and in-depth reporting of these issues, and it was a great growing experience for me.$$Did you think in the late '80s [1980s] when you were there, in '85 [1985] and on, that apartheid would be over as soon as it was over?$$No, nobody did. Not even the African National Congress [ANC]. They were totally surprised when, when [Nelson] Mandela was released. I'd been planning to go back around about that time and had sent a producer down to kind of nose around and see what stories we might do, and she got back on a Friday, and I think it was Saturday that [F.W.] de Klerk said he was going to release Mandela. So we left on a Sunday. She was back for two days.