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Barbara Rodgers

Television news anchor Barbara Rodgers was born on September 27, 1946 in Knoxville, Tennessee to Anna Connor, a homemaker, and Jackson Rodgers, a minister. In 1968, she received her B.S. degree in business education from Knoxville College. She attended graduate school at SUNY Buffalo in 1976 for creative writing, and also completed graduate coursework at the University of Chicago in 1986.

The Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, New York hired Rodgers in 1968 as a computer programmer, one of only a few African American female computer programmers at the time. Rodgers later became a public affairs researcher for Kodak, before becoming an instructor and department head of the business skills department of the Rochester Educational Opportunity Center in 1971. In 1972, Rodgers joined WOKR-TV in Rochester, New York where she became the station’s first female news reporter and first African American news anchor. Rodgers joined KPIX-TV, a CBS affiliate in San Francisco, California in 1979 as a reporter, later becoming a co-anchor on the weekend and noon Eyewitness News broadcasts. She helped to create and host Bay Sunday in 1989, an award-winning public affairs program. She co-founded the Bay Area Black Journalists Association (BABJA), the Bay Area chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, in 1982. In 1985, Rodgers was selected for the William Benton Fellowship in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Chicago, the first African American woman to become a Benton Fellow. Rodgers was chosen in 1993 as one of five journalists to participate in the South Africa Journalists Exchange, a collaboration between the National Association of Black Journalists, the Freedom Forum and South Africa. She earned an Emmy for her hour-long documentary, “South Africa After Apartheid.” Rodgers retired from KPIX in 2008. In 2010, she joined Comcast as a regular host on Comcast Newsmakers, and in 2011 became host of the “Bronze Report” cable show. Rodgers co-founded Friends of Faith, Inc., an organization that helps provide information and financial support to low income and underinsured individuals undergoing breast cancer treatment.

Rodgers received numerous honors and awards for her work. She won seven Emmy Awards and the Governors’ Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. In 1992, she was selected by the San Francisco League of Women Voters as a “Woman Who Could Be President.” Between 1981 and 2007, she won five “Excellence in Journalism Awards” from the National Association of Black Journalists, and was awarded the Madam C.J. Walker Pioneer Award from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women in 2004. Rodgers received the Frederick D. Patterson Outstanding Individual Award from the United Negro College Fund in 2008, and was recognized twice by American Women in Radio and Television, Inc. for her outstanding work in broadcasting.

Barbara Rodgers was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 15, 2015.

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University of Chicago

Austin-East Magnet High School

Knoxville College

Lyons View School

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Favorite Quote

Never Let Anyone Define Your Reality.

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Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco



Favorite Food

Fried Chicken, Mom's Chicken And Dumplings.

Short Description

Television news anchor Barbara Rodgers (1946 - ) was an anchor for KPIX-TV in San Francisco, California for thirty years, and co-founded the Bay Area Black Journalist Association.


The Bronze Report

Comcast Newsmakers

KPIX-TV/CBS 5 San Francisco


Educational Opportunity Center at SUNY Brockport

Eastman Kodak Company

Favorite Color


Brenda Payton Jones

Journalist Brenda Payton was born Brenda Joyce Williams on August 24, 1952, in Omaha, Nebraska. At three years of age, Payton’s parents (Dr. James B. Williams and Willeen Williams) moved the family to Chicago, Illinois. Payton was raised in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, attending the University of Chicago Laboratory School for elementary and high school. While at the Laboratory School, she began her interest in writing. As a high school student in the late 1960s, Payton was active in cheerleading and theater. Payton attended civil rights events at Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr.’s Operation PUSH, and rallies with Fred Hampton and the Black Panther Movement. By her senior year in high school, Payton was a National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist. She then began her college career as a theatre arts major at Pomona College.

Payton eventually changed her major and received her B.A. degree in history from Pomona College in 1973. She then studied West African literature in Ghana for one year as a Watson fellow. In 1974, Payton returned to the United States to attend graduate school. Upon receiving her M.A. degree in journalism from Boston University, she worked for the New Bedford Standard Times and the Boston Phoenix. Payton then took a position at the San Francisco Examiner covering general assignments in the area. In 1980, Robert Maynard, the first Black editor and publisher of a mainstream newspaper, recruited Payton to work at the Oakland Tribune.

For the past twenty-five years, Payton has written for the Oakland Tribune covering local and national political and social issues including the link between the health of African Americans and racial discrimination, underage prostitution, the internment of Japanese Americans, the United States war on terror, and Hurricane Katrina. Her writings have been published in The New York Times and Thinking Black, an anthology of African American columnists. She has also been a recipient of Stanford University’s John S. Knight Fellowship.

In 1992, Payton was an associate producer and the investigation director for a PBS documentary on mortgage lending discrimination entitled Your Loan is Denied. In 1994, her national report addressing violence among African American youth was published by the Children’s Defense Fund’s Black Community Crusade for Children. The Bay Area Black Journalists Society honored Payton in October 2005 for her contributions to journalism. In March 2006, CityFlight Newsmagazine honored Payton as on the Ten Most Influential African Americans in the Bay Area. She continues to write for the Oakland Tribune, and does monthly radio commentary on public radio station, KQED-FM.

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University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

St. Thomas The Apostle School

Pomona College

Boston University

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Favorite Season

Spring, Summer



Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica, Hawaii

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Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/Oakland



Favorite Food


Short Description

Newspaper columnist Brenda Payton Jones (1952 - ) wrote for the Oakland Tribune and provided radio commentary on KQED-FM in the Bay Area.


The Standard Times

Boston Pheonix

Oakland Tribune

San Francisco Examiner

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Timing Pairs

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Brenda Payton Jones' interview</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Brenda Payton Jones lists her favorites</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Brenda Payton Jones talks about her family's U.S. military service</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her father's surgical training</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her maternal grandparents</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her paternal grandparents</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her family</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Brenda Payton Jones describes Hyde Park in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Brenda Payton Jones recalls experiencing racial discrimination in Hyde Park</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Brenda Payton Jones describes the smells of her childhood</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Brenda Payton Jones remembers her favorite elementary school teachers</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her childhood personality and aspirations</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her social life at University of Chicago Laboratory School</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her political involvement as a teenager, pt. 1</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her parent's community involvement</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her political involvement as a teenager, pt. 2</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Brenda Payton Jones recalls her teenage pastimes</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her desire to attend Yellow Springs' Antioch College</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Brenda Payton Jones recalls attending Pomona College in Claremont, California</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her academic interests at Pomona College</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Brenda Payton Jones recalls her Thomas J. Watson Fellowship in Ghana</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Brenda Payton Jones recalls the desegregation of Boston's schools, pt. 1</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Brenda Payton Jones recalls the desegregation of Boston's schools, pt. 2</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Brenda Payton Jones recalls writing for The Standard-Times in New Bedford, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Brenda Payton Jones describes Massachusetts' Cape Verdean population</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Brenda Payton Jones recalls writing for The Boston Phoenix</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Brenda Payton Jones recalls joining the staff of the San Francisco Examiner</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Brenda Payton Jones explains the importance of diversity in journalism</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Brenda Payton Jones remembers Robert C. Maynard</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her column for the Oakland Tribune</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her documentary on lending discrimination</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Brenda Payton Jones recalls the integration of two congregations after a church burning</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her work in public radio</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Brenda Payton Jones reflects upon African American journalists' progress in Oakland</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Brenda Payton Jones describes her passion for dance</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Brenda Payton Jones describes the demographic changes in Oakland, California</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Brenda Payton Jones reflects upon her life and how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Brenda Payton Jones narrates her photographs</a>







Brenda Payton Jones describes her political involvement as a teenager, pt. 2
Brenda Payton Jones recalls writing for The Boston Phoenix
'Cause oh, yeah, at, in high school [University of Chicago High School; University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Chicago, Illinois] too, we did have, I guess my junior year, we started organizing and we were organizing for, we had no black teachers, wanted black teachers, more black students and black curriculum there, because there was none, and that was an important organizing lesson for me. I was a junior and so it was mostly juniors and seniors doing this and we took the principal, this is, I always laugh when I think about it, took the principal to a black Muslim restaurant for our meeting and I don't know if we really truly understood how intimidating that was but, so he agreed to everything, right, but what the truth of it, which I found so many times with other institutions that, you know, also, I don't, you know, the seniors graduated, so when we came back and what we had was, you know, like a no actual class, black studies class, we had a, like a voluntary, how do we get along session or something, no black teachers, you know, nothing that he officially agreed to, but what were we going to do about it because most of the organizers were graduated, so, that was kind of a lesson I always remembered later and I was also very active in college in, you know, student organizing.$So you've, you worked there [The Standard-Times] for a few months and then you moved on (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) And then I, I went to The Boston Phoenix which was anoth- is, an alternative newspaper. They recruited me to come. Also, I was commuting sixty-five miles so that was killing me. And, and The Phoenix is a weekly newspaper and it was out of that, and came out of that anti-war, you know, the whole journalism, anti-war journalism, but it was also a good place for me because it was much, it was a writer's paper and you really, you know, got a lot of guidance and development. They put, you know, much more development into--daily newspapers they don't really spend that much time, it's kind of just go as you, you know, but this took much more time. So I think I really was able to develop my writing there and much longer articles, and that was kind of an interesting, again, I was the first black reporter there and may still be the only, I'm not sure if they, what they've done. They, the alternative press is not much better than the mainstream press or, worse actually, and that's been kind of a disappointment to me and, you know, that we haven't made more progress. But there, oh, and on, kind of on the personal side there, it's again, an interesting thing. I, when I first went there, I would come home sometimes crying and really felt very, at the time, felt very much that, and again, I'd been, I've been a minority in school situations most of my life but there I was really very conscious of feeling unaccepted or that they didn't think I could do the work and in hindsight though, I thought about that, and the editor was British and said to me later, I think as, I don't know if the issue of affirmative action was talking to me like, well, yeah, I hired you because we needed a black reporter but if you couldn't have done the work, I would have fired you. I mean, that was his attitude. It wasn't any of this, you know. But later, and I ended up feeling very much a part of that staff and then later it kind of dawned on me that what I took for racial resistance or something, some of it could have, really might have been because I was so young and that some of their feelings that, that were patronizing, were more because of my age but I took it as racial and I think that's been a lesson to me to one of the issues that we struggle with is we don't know what's going on, you know, and you can, sometimes you can mistake something for racial but we're constantly in that, you know (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Territory.$$--and the kind of stress and insecurity but there, I think, it also made me tough so that when I came through that and I was determined, then I felt like, well, I'll never be soft or vulnerable in that way again.