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Cheryl Burton

Broadcast journalist Cheryl Burton was born on December 25, 1962 in Chicago, Illinois to Hattie and Simpson Burton. She graduated from Chicago's Lindblom Technical High School in 1980, and then received her B.S. degree in psychology and biology from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1984.

Burton was first seen on television on Romper Room and as a contestant on Star Search. She then hosted an hour long cable television show entitled Simply Elegant and worked as a special education teacher for two years. In 1989, she was hired at WGN-TV in Chicago, Illinois, where she co-anchored “MBR: The Minority Business Report,” a nationally syndicated weekly series. In 1990, Burton moved to Peoria, Illinois, and worked as a reporter at WMBD-TV. From 1990 to 1992, she served as an anchor for KWCH-DT in Wichita, Kansas, where she also hosted the talk show Viewpoint. Burton then joined Chicago’s WLS-TV ABC 7 as a weekend co-anchor and reporter in November of 1992. In 2003, she was promoted to 5 p.m. weekday co-anchor and 10 p.m. contributing anchor for WLS-TV’s newscasts.

Burton has received numerous honors for her work, including three Chicago Association of Black Journalists awards; the 1997 Phenomenal Woman Award from the Expo for Today's Black Woman; a 1998 Kizzy Image and Achievement Award; the 2004 and 2005 Thurgood Marshall Awards; the Vernon Jarrett Par Excellence Award in Journalism; the coveted 2008 National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Salute to Excellence International Award; 2009’s Proctor and Gamble Pioneer Award for community service; and several Emmy Awards. She was also the first recipient of the 2005 "Sisters in the Spirit" Award, given by Chicago area gospel singers to persons who exemplify a faith-based life, and was the first alumnus to be inducted into the Robert Lindblom High School’s hall of fame in 2007.

Burton is a volunteer for the Boys and Girls Club of America and serves as a motivational speaker for the Chicago Public Schools. She serves on the boards of the Life with Lupus Guild, the Multicultural Dance Center and City Year. In addition, Burton is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Chicago Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists.

Cheryl Burton was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 20, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.152

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/20/2014

Last Name

Burton

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Annette

Organizations
Schools

Jane A. Neil Elementary School

Arthur J. Dixon Elementary School

Robert Lindblom Math & Science Academy High School

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Cheryl

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

BUR25

Favorite Season

Holiday Season

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

South Africa

Favorite Quote

God Is Good

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/25/1962

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Thanksgiving Dinner

Short Description

Broadcast journalist Cheryl Burton (1962 - ) is the 5 p.m. weekday co-anchor and 10 p.m. contributing anchor for Chicago’s WLS-TV ABC 7 newscasts.

Employment

Andy Frain

Marshall Fields

Elaine Powers

Figure Salon

Paper Girl

Xerox

ABC/Disney

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131043">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Cheryl Burton's interview, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131044">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of Cheryl Burton's interview, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131045">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131046">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Cheryl Burton describes her father's background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131047">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Cheryl Burton remembers her paternal great-grandparents in Homewood, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131048">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Cheryl Burton describes her parents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131049">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Cheryl Burton describes her mother's background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131050">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Cheryl Burton talks about her mother's education and career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131051">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Cheryl Burton describes her childhood personality and her relationship with her siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131052">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Cheryl Burton recalls her earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131053">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Cheryl Burton describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131054">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Cheryl Burton describes her family's experience of racial discrimination in Cheyenne, Wyoming</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131055">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Cheryl Burton talks about her family's move to Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131056">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton describes growing up in the Chatham community of Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131057">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Cheryl Burton recalls the churches she attended in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131058">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Cheryl Burton talks about her grade school years in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131059">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Cheryl Burton recalls her experience in the Girl Scouts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131060">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Cheryl Burton describes the activities she participated in as a child and the sacrifices her parents made to make them possible</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131061">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Cheryl Burton describes her personality and intelligence as a young girl</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131062">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Cheryl Burton talks about academic excellence in her family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131063">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Cheryl Burton recalls working for her sister at the Elaine Powers Figure Salon in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131064">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton recalls running away at age twelve so her parents would buy her a scooter</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131065">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Cheryl Burton describes Lindblom Math & Science Academy High School in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131066">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Cheryl Burton talks about her extracurricular and athletic activities at Lindblom High School in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131067">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Cheryl Burton talks about graduating from Lindblom High School in Chicago, Illinois in 1980</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131068">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Cheryl Burton talks about appearing on the TV shows 'Romper Room' and 'Kiddie-a-Go-Go' as a child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131069">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Cheryl Burton recalls traveling to Washington, D.C. and to Civil Rights Movement sites with her uncle</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131070">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Cheryl Burton talks about her experience and her roommates at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131071">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Cheryl Burton talks about being a cheerleader for the Chicago Bears while attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131072">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Cheryl Burton talks about her decision not to attend medical school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131073">Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Cheryl Burton recalls working at Marshall Field's and as an Andy Frain usher in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131074">Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Cheryl Burton talks about her medical internship at the University of Illinois Chicago Circle Campus</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131075">Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Cheryl Burton describes being a Chicago Honey Bears cheerleader</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131076">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Cheryl Burton talks about the Chicago Bears and the Honey Bears cheerleaders</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131077">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Cheryl Burton describes her schedule while she was a Chicago Honey Bears cheerleader and working at Xerox</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131078">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton describes being a Chicago Honey Bears cheerleader when the Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl in 1986</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131079">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Cheryl Burton recounts how she met Jim Rose and how he proposed to her</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131080">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Cheryl Burton recalls working for Xerox and the 1983 election of Chicago mayor Harold Washington</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131081">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Cheryl Burton talks about her engagement to Jim Rose and her time on 'Star Search'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131082">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Cheryl Burton recalls auditioning for 'Charlie's Angels' with Halle Berry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131083">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Cheryl Burton relates her mother's recollections of life in Cheyenne, Wyoming</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131084">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Cheryl Burton describes her appearance on 'Star Search,' her audition for 'A Different World,' and the beginning of her broadcast news career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131085">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Cheryl Burton recalls losing her job at the 'Minority Business Report' in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131086">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Cheryl Burton describes working at the Home Shopping Network</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131087">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton talks about her ex-husband Jim Rose</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131088">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Cheryl Burton describes working at WMBD-TV in Peoria, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131089">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Cheryl Burton describes working at KWCH-DT in Wichita, Kansas, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131090">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Cheryl Burton describes working at KWCH-DT in Wichita, Kansas, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131091">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Cheryl Burton talks about 'Baby Your Baby,' her news segment on KWCH-DT in Wichita, Kansas</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131092">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Cheryl Burton recalls working at KWCH-DT in Wichita, Kansas during the Gulf War</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131093">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Cheryl Burton talks about getting her job at WLS-TV in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131094">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Cheryl Burton recalls her father's death</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131095">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Cheryl Burton describes working with HistoryMaker Harry Porterfield and others at WLS-TV in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131096">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Cheryl Burton talks about working at WLS-TV in Chicago, Illinois while building a home with her then-husband, Jim Rose</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131097">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton describes working for Joe Ahern at WLS-TV in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131098">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Cheryl Burton talks about producing five news broadcasts a day at WLS-TV in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131099">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Cheryl Burton talks about covering violence as a reporter for WLS-TV in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131100">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Cheryl Burton describes her sister's support after her divorce from Jim Rose</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131101">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Cheryl Burton talks about her divorce from Jim Rose, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131102">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Cheryl Burton talks about her divorce from Jim Rose, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131103">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton describes how she started her annual Christmas toy drive</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131104">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Cheryl Burton talks about her charitable efforts in South Africa and in the United States</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131105">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Cheryl Burton talks about her friendship with Oprah Winfrey, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131106">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Cheryl Burton talks about her friendship with Oprah Winfrey, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131107">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Cheryl Burton describes Oprah Winfrey's 2006 Legends Ball</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131108">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Cheryl Burton recalls being assaulted in downtown Chicago, Illinois in 2008</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131109">Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Cheryl Burton considers her most difficult interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131110">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Cheryl Burton talks about how she maintains a positive outlook</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131111">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Cheryl Burton talks about her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131112">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton recounts her carjacking experience</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131113">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Cheryl Burton describes how broadcast news has changed over the course of her career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131114">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Cheryl Burton talks about her awards and her personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131115">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Cheryl Burton talks about the children's book series she hopes to publish</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131116">Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Cheryl Burton reflects upon her life and what she would do differently</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131117">Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Cheryl Burton talks about her independent learning style</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131118">Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Cheryl Burton reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131119">Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Cheryl Burton recounts her role with The HistoryMakers since hosting 'An Evening with Harry Belafonte' in 2000</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131120">Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Cheryl Burton narrates her photographs, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131121">Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Cheryl Burton narrates her photographs, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/131122">Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Cheryl Burton narrates her photographs, pt. 3</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$6

DAStory

7$5

DATitle
Cheryl Burton describes her mother's background
Cheryl Burton talks about covering violence as a reporter for WLS-TV in Chicago, Illinois
Transcript
So talk about your mother [Hattie Burton] and her background and what you know about her family?$$Well, my sister--when I was, you know, discussing that this was gonna take place, she said that, you know, my father's [Simpson Leo Burton's] descendants [sic, ancestors] were field slaves and my mom's descendants were house slaves. So it's very different. On my mother's side, everybody is educated. My grandparents are college educated. My mom and dad, you know, my mom and all of her siblings are college educated, and my mom has master's degrees, but on my father's side, they might go to high school, his parents and their grandparents might have gone to eighth grade. My father, though, and all of his siblings have post-graduate college degrees. My mom, she was born--$$Give her name too.$$Oh, my mom's name, she was born Hattie Eloise Woods, and then she married my dad, and her name became Hattie Eloise Burton, of course. And she was born in 1930 [April 5, 1930], during the [Great] Depression. So she talks a lot about that, you know, being poor in the South. But her parents were entrepreneurs, of course. They had a store in the back of their house because they had to, you know, make a way and make money. They sold candy and cookies and bread. They'd sell a slice of bread, one slice of bread. They'd sell one cookie. They'd sell one cigarette, whatever they could sell, you know, or you know, one gulp in their cup and sell that. But so my mom was educated in a one-room schoolhouse, an actual little, red schoolhouse. There were kindergarten all the way up to twelfth grade in this one-room schoolhouse. And my mom had to walk miles and miles to get to school 'cause they lived in the country. And she said they would stop halfway between and build a fire to stay warm before they could get to school. So I like to think my mom was incredibly intelligent because she was going to school with people who were seniors in high school, and she was just five in kindergarten. And her parents were educated. So they made sure that their children were educated as well. My mom excelled and she skipped so many grades when they finally moved out of the country, my mom went from like kindergarten to third grade when she started school. And they didn't say anything because she was smart, and she got right in there. My mom probably, always wanted to be a teacher. Her sister was a teacher and her other sister was a registered nurse, and my mom taught forty years in the Chicago [Illinois] Public School system. She loved having children. And, actually, though they didn't plan on having five. I think my dad probably wanted one or two, but, you know how that is (laughter), so my mom's pretty cute. So (laughter), but so my mom went to high school, and she excelled very well. She, you know, she learned how to sew. Like I said, she wanted us to sew. We all had our own personalized sewing machines where each one was labeled with our names, and we had to sew an item. If we wanted to spend the night over a friend's house, you had to make some clothes. So that was very big for my mom, and then, of course, she goes to college. I think my mom was a virgin when she met my dad. I really do. I ask her all the time, and she doesn't answer. But I think she was, and they went to prom in a Jeep, and she thought my father was so handsome and so smart 'cause she was raised in the country, you know, and he was that slick, Rosedale [Homewood, Alabama], entrepreneur, you know, I've got visions and dreams. We're gonna move to Chicago. We, you know, we're gonna do things. I got plans. I'm gonna president and so she was very impressed. But he was very nice to her, but a go-getter, you know. He had a great spirit about life, and he was always doing something that would better the lives of his family, no matter what the risk. He would do that. And so they met, and mom's the baby of three girls, by the way.$So you're--you know, it looks like a very steady growth, but are you--and you make everything seem so easy, you know--(simultaneous)--$$No.$$--in some respects. But can you--I know besides that, but what have been some of your low points? And what have been some of your--and I have some things here that I know are high points, but can we talk about low points?$$Some of the, you know, when I was a reporter, I worked the night shifts, from two [o'clock AM] to ten [o'clock AM]. So things happen a lot between that time. And I was a reporter Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, two to ten. And I would go out regularly on stories about child molestations and drive-by shootings and child abuse stories, regularly. And it began to chip away at my spirit. It was very hard to keep going to these homes and ask families for photographs of their loved ones who had been killed in a drive-by shooting or who had been molested by their teacher or who had been hit by a car. That, I have a very compassionate spirit, so I take that with me at home. And it was very hard, and it began chip away at who I was. And, you know, I know Oprah [Winfrey] talks very often about when she worked in Baltimore and that's why she auditioned for the job in Chicago [Illinois] to be this talk show host for 'AM Chicago' because she couldn't do it anymore. And I totally understand what she was saying. And people would say, Cheryl, I don't know how you do it. You know, I would go, and I would go into some of the projects in some of the most dangerous neighborhoods. And I'd be climbing up stairs in dark and hoping I wouldn't get shot or attacked with a cameraman, going to get pictures and talk to people, and hoping I wasn't gonna get beat up, coming to a crime scene very soon after, and it does happen to reporters and cameramen, things do happen like that. So I was concerned, and one time I went to a rally, and I have a picture in my office. And I'm holding hands praying with some kids, and he has a t-shirt on that says "Stop the Violence", and somebody took that picture of me and sent it. And, you know, reporters aren't supposed to get involved, but that was who I was. I needed to pray with these people and hold their hands. I'm covering the story, but they started, they asked for prayer, and I held hands and did that. And it got to me so bad that I went to Emily Barr, and I said, "Emily, we have to do something. All of these young people are being killed. And some of them are the brightest." They had futures that were just so shiny, and I said, we must do something. So she agreed with me, and we started a campaign called "Stop the Violence", and our first project that we did was, we had a town hall meeting with the mayor of Chicago [Richard M. Daley], the superintendent of Chicago, the superintendent of Chicago Public Schools. And we had some psychiatrists, some psychologists, and we had a gentleman by the name of [HistoryMaker] Roland Martin. And he will tell you that he gives me credit for starting his television career in the city of Chicago because I had hand-picked him to come and be a part of this discussion. Emily liked him so much--she was a little nervous though 'cause he could be controversial. But his verbiage was so on point, and so profound, and it was inspiring. It was motivational, and it got you to think. And so that was our very first project. After that, we did half hour specials where we began to talk to people who worked in the community. But those have been some of my--you know, I've arrived on plane crash scenes, and the deceased are still in the plane. And I've seen dead bodies, and I had to go home, and I couldn't get that out of my head. I've seen them in, dead bodies in sewers, where I've come upon a crime scene, and the police haven't arrived yet. And it was just very challenging.