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Sarah-Ann Shaw

Boston’s first African American television reporter, Sarah-Ann Shaw was born, Sarah-Ann King, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Annie Bell Bomar King and Norris King, Jr. Growing up in Roxbury, Shaw’s father, who was active in the Roxbury Democratic Club, took her to lectures at Jordan Hall, the Ford Hall Forum, and Tremont Temple; there, young Shaw met Paul Robeson. Shaw’s mother worked along side the selfless Melnea Cass. Shaw attended William P. Boardman Elementary School and Henry Lee Higginson Elementary School, was a Girl Scout, and was active at St. Mark’s Social Center. A student at Girls Latin School, Shaw was involved with the NAACP Youth Movement; graduating in 1952, Shaw enrolled at Boston University, but left school in 1955 to get married.

Increasingly involved in community activities, Shaw worked with St. Mark’s Social Center and as a member of the Boston Action Group (BAG). Shaw joined other activists like Otto P. and Muriel S. Snowden in 1957; national Student Movement head, Bill Strickland then asked her to head the Boston Northern Student Movement where she coordinated student led voter education, high school tutoring, and economic housing education with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), BAG, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the Unitarians. In 1968, Shaw became involved with Ray Richardson’s Say Brother public affairs show on WBEZ-TV; she would go on to appear on the program more than twenty times. In 1969, Shaw was hired by WBZ-TV 4 as Boston’s first African American reporter; she remained a news reporter at WBZ TV 4 for more than thirty years. As a civil rights organizer and human services advocate, Shaw demonstrated a rare ability to unite Boston residents and tackle big picture issues. At WBZ, Shaw anchored another black oriented public affairs program, Mzizi Roots.

Shaw, who helped define minority affairs programming and news content, received numerous journalistic awards for her work, including an award from the Boston Radio-Television News Directors Association, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Black Journalists in 1998, and the Yankee Quill Award from the New England Society of Newspaper Editors. Shaw also volunteered for Boston Partners in Education; served as a board member of Boston Neighborhood Network; and served as the President for both the Boston Coalition of Black Women, and the League of Women for Community Service.

Accession Number

A2007.067

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/13/2007

9/10/2007

Last Name

Shaw

Maker Category
Middle Name

Ann

Schools

William P. Boardman Elementary School

Henry Lee Higginson Elementary School

Boston Latin Academy

Higginson-Lewis K-8 School

Boston University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Sarah

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

SHA05

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bermuda

Favorite Quote

I'm Here By Being Careful

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Interview Description
Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

USA

Favorite Food

String Beans

Short Description

Civil rights activist and television reporter Sarah-Ann Shaw ( - ) was the first African American television reporter in Boston.

Employment

Boston Action Group

Boston Northern Student Movement

'Say Brother'

WBZ-TV

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495817">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sarah-Ann Shaw's interview, session 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495818">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sarah-Ann Shaw lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495819">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495820">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sarah-Ann Shaw remembers her maternal aunt's farm in Inman, South Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495821">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about her mother's education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495822">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her mother's move to Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495823">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her father's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495824">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her father's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495825">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about her parents' move to Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495826">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her father's career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495827">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her parents' personalities and social activities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495828">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sarah-Ann Shaw remembers her father's community involvement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495829">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes the leaders of her community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495830">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495831">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes the racial history of Boston's Roxbury neighborhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495832">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her community in Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495833">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495834">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sarah-Ann Shaw recalls her early organizational participation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495835">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her schooling in Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495836">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Sarah-Ann Shaw remembers her early interests</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495837">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Sarah-Ann Shaw recalls her high school teachers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495838">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her experiences at the Girls' Latin School in Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495839">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sarah-Ann Shaw recalls her aspirations upon graduating from high school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495840">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes the radio programs of her youth</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495841">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sarah-Ann Shaw remembers attending dances as a teenager</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495842">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sarah-Ann Shaw recalls attending Camp Atwater in North Brookfield, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495843">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495844">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her community activism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495845">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes the impact of urban renewal in Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495846">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Sarah-Ann Shaw recalls the leaders of Boston's Roxbury community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495847">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her role in the Northern Student Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495848">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes the Agency Row in Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495849">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about the Northern Student Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495850">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sarah-Ann Shaw recalls the achievements of the Northern Student Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495851">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes the shortcomings of the Northern Student Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495852">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about the racial demographics of Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495853">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes the creation of the 'Say Brother' television program</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495854">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sarah-Ann Shaw remembers Melnea Cass</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495855">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about 'Say Brother,' pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495856">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about 'Say Brother,' pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495857">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Sarah-Ann Shaw remembers hosting 'Mzizi Roots'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495858">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Sarah-Ann Shaw's interview, session 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495859">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sarah-Ann Shaw recalls becoming a reporter at WBZ-TV in Boston, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495860">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sarah-Ann Shaw recalls her experiences as Boston's first black woman reporter</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495861">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sarah-Ann Shaw remembers the desegregation of the Boston Public Schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495862">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her approach to reporting on the black community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495863">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about unbiased media coverage</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495864">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Sarah-Ann Shaw remembers Melvin King's mayoral campaign</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495865">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about the Charles Stuart case</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495866">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about discrimination in the Boston Police Department</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495867">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes the government of the City of Boston</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495868">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Sarah-Ann Shaw recalls her experiences at the majority white WBZ-TV station</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495869">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her commitment to unbiased reporting</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495870">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about her racial identity</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495871">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Sarah-Ann Shaw remembers the protests at Boston City Hall Plaza</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495872">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Sarah-Ann Shaw recalls the topics on 'Mzizi Roots'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495873">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her guests on 'Mzizi Roots'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495874">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about the decline of public access television</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495875">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Sarah-Ann Shaw remembers mentoring young black journalists</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495876">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her advice to young black journalists</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495877">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes the National Association of Black Journalists, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495878">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes the National Association of Black Journalists, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495879">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about her retirement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495880">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495881">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Sarah-Ann Shaw reflects upon her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495882">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Sarah-Ann Shaw reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495883">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Sarah-Ann Shaw talks about her family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/495884">Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Sarah-Ann Shaw describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

DASession

2$2

DATape

5$6

DAStory

5$6

DATitle
Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her approach to reporting on the black community
Sarah-Ann Shaw describes her guests on 'Mzizi Roots'
Transcript
Then as time went on I started doing after school (unclear) schools desegregation calmed down so I started to do a lot of different kinds of stories. I tried to do stories that showed positive events happening in the black community and not just--for a two-fold purpose. I thought it was important particularly for young black kids to see themselves not on television for fighting, for doing drugs, et cetera. But for doing something positive, for them to have a positive image of themselves and I also thought it was important for people who lived outside the city--white people who didn't live in Boston [Massachusetts] who lived in the suburbs to know that there were positive things happening in the black community. That there were people who lived in Roxbury [Boston, Massachusetts], in Dorchester [Boston, Massachusetts], Mattapan [Boston, Massachusetts] who went to work every day, who went to church every week, who raised families, who were as concerned about--who were buying houses, who were just as concerned about achieving the American dream as these people who lived in the suburbs. What I tried to do was to present the kinds of stories that would allow people to see that there was more than one side to the black community. In those days you could do a lot more. I hardly ever--I find the news now very, very lacking. Very seldom do you see those kinds of stories about the black community. It's mostly someone got shot, someone got arrested, something else happened. You don't really see stories about kids who are doing something in school. You don't see kids who are being entrepreneurial. I'm sure that the same way kids do lemonade stands to raise money for good causes in the suburbs that there are kids in the inner city doing the same thing but you don't really see it. But that's what I did, I was at BZ [WBZ-TV, Boston, Massachusetts] for thirty-one years and during that time I tried the best I could to be even handed and fair and that to me was important.$What do you think was your most significant show on ['Mzizi Roots']--?$$I don't know because we covered such a wide variety. I remember I had [HistoryMaker] Harry Belafonte on talking about Africa and the situation in Africa and then I had the South African tour band but then I also had people like Jimmy Slyde who is a preeminent tap dancer who was well known around the world as a tap dancer. So I think that I tried to do--I tried to do a variety of different things that illustrated who black people were, what they had accomplished and what they could do. I'd do history shows--black history shows, I would do shows about black people in Boston [Massachusetts] who had accomplished things. I can't even say what I would consider to be the most significant show because to me all of them were significant because they all had their own story they told, they all had a point that they were making so I don't think I can say one above the other. But they were all interesting, I mean as I said. I tried to participate when Jimmy Slyde the tap dancer was on he said, "Let me show you some steps," and there I was trying to (laughter) tap dance with Jimmy Slyde. Or people would come in--I tried to participate. I wish I had some of those tapes now because there were a lot of interesting people. If people were well-known who were coming to town for something else, we would get them on the show. We would get them to be on the show if they were in town at Harvard [Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts] lecturing, we'd get them to come on the show. If they were in town playing someplace, we'd get them at Storyville [Boston, Massachusetts] or some of the other clubs; we'd get them to come on the show. So there was a lot of--Joe Williams was on the show who sang with Count Basie. So there were many, many different music, politics, cooking shows, you name it we tried to do it.$$It seems like Boston is the kind of place that has a, in terms of black history, there's all kinds of people have had some kind of connection with Boston. Everybody from Malcolm X lived here; Dr. King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] lived here at one time. I don't think there's any other city where (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Malcolm's nephew was on the show talking about Malcolm.$$Du Bois [W.E.B. Du Bois] you know you can go down the line, everybody was here at some point.$$The African Meeting House [Boston, Massachusetts]--the people who built African Meeting House those people. David Walker, the appealed David Walker, you know there's a lot of black history in Boston. Black people lived on Beacon Hill [Boston, Massachusetts], they owned Beacon Hill practically--not that they owned it but this is where they lived and then it wasn't a fashionable place to live but that's where they lived until they moved to South End [Boston, Massachusetts], and then out.