The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon

Search Results

Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

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

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/4/1966

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

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.