Here are some really awesome Black journalists who’ve changed the world of journalism.
1. Gwen Ifill
Born in New York on September 15, 1955, Gwen Ifil attended Simmons College in Boston in 1977. She began her career in journalism at the “Boston Herald-American”. She worked at the “Baltimore Evening Sun”, “The Washington Post”, and “New York Times” before landing at PBS in 1999 as a moderator for the “Washington Week in Review.” This Peabody award-winning journalist along with co-anchor Judy Woodruff became TV’s first national female anchor team in 2013. Gwen Ifill died at the age of 61 in 2016 after losing her battle with cancer. (Photo Credit: Associated Press)
2. Max Robinson
Born May 1, 1939, Robinson was the first African American to anchor a network news broadcast. Robinson is also the founder of the famed National Association of Black Journalist. During his time he spoke out on issues of concern to him as a Black journalist and was a trailblazer for other Black journalists. Robinson died of AIDS on December 20, 1988, at the age of 49.
3. Nancy Hicks Maynard
Nancy Hicks Maynard was born in New York on November 1, 1946. She was the first African American reporter at the “New York Times” when she first started out in journalism at the age of 21. Together she and her husband co-founded the “Oakland Tribune” that is still one of the only metropolitan daily’s owned by an African American. She was also the co-founder of the Maryland Institute of Journalism Education. Maynard died September 21, 2008, at the age of 61 from multiple organ failures.
4. Robert C. Maynard
Robert C. Maynard was a trailblazer for many Black journalists in the field as he was the first Black editor and owner of a major daily newspaper. This newspaper called the “Oakland Tribune” co-founded and owned by himself and his wife journalist Nancy Hicks Maynard. His career first took off when he became the White House correspondent for The “Washington Post” in 1965. He eventually became an editor, national columnist, television panelist, Pulitzer Prize juror and a leader in professional organizations. Maynard died of prostate cancer at the age of 56 on August 17, 1993.
5. Ida B. Wells
Ida B. Wells was a journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist and feminist known for her work in the African American community. Born on July 16, 1862, Wells was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1909. In the 1890’s Wells documented lynchings across the United States.
6. Ed Bradley
This award-winning journalist was born on June 22, 1941, in Philidelphia. Wounded while covering the Vietnam War, Bradley was the first Black White House correspondent for CBS news. Breaking many racial barriers, Bradley inspired a generation of journalists after him. He spent a long 26 years at CBS covering the news. He died of lymphocytic leukemia on November 9, 2006.
7. Jim Vance
Jim Vance began his career in journalism at the “Philadelphia Independent” as a reporter while teaching English for three years. He then moved to WRC-TV in 1969 to become a TV reporter. He became their main co-anchor in 1972 which made him the first African American to serve in this position at any American television station. Vance earned 19 local Emmy awards for his work receiving one specifically for his coverage of the 1982 crash of Air Florida Flight 90 in the Potomac River. Vance died from complications with cancer at the age of 75 on July 22, 2017.
8. Alice Allison Dunnigan
Alice Allison Dunnigan was the first female African American White House Correspondent and the first black female member of the Senate and House of Representative’s press galleries. Born on April 24, 1906, in Kentucky, Dunnigan seriously broke barriers in the world of journalism and in general for African Americans in her day. At the age of 13, she got into journalism by writing one sentence news for the “Owensboro Enterprise” newspaper. She died on May 6, 1983, at the age 77.
9. John H. Johnson
John H. Johnson was an American businessman and publisher who founded the Johnson Publishing Company. He became the first African American to appear on the Forbes 400 list. His magazines “Ebony” and “Jet” are among the most influential African American businesses in media. Receiving many awards, in 1951, he was the first African American to be selected as the “Young Man of the Year” by the United States Chamber of Commerce. Johnson died at the age of 87 on August 8, 2005.
10. Carl Rowan
Born August 11, 1925, in Tennesse during Jim Crow, Rowan grew up very poor. He earned money to attend college at Tennesse State College by scrubbing porches at a tuberculosis hospital. While there he passed a national competition that made him one of the first 15 African-Americans to be commissioned officers in the United States Navy in World War II. After that, he went onto the University of Minnesota where he earned a master’s in journalism. His first job in the field was at the “Minneapolis Tribune” where he covered civil rights trials in the South. His dedication to reporting on race relations made him a distinct character in the fight. This prompted President John F. Kennedy to appoint him deputy assistant secretary of state with the assignment to help integrate the State Department. He was 75 years old when died of various illnesses on September 24, 2000.