I am a wife, mother, retired newspaper editor, author, and public speaker. My memoir, COMING FULL CIRCLE: From Jim Crow to Journalism was published in February 2020 by NewSouth Books of Montgomery, and I am enjoying sharing my stories in a national virtual book tour.
I left Savannah right after high school for college and career. I couldn’t wait to get away, because Savannah was segregated and not very welcoming for my aspirations to tell stories for a living. I wanted to be a newspaper reporter. I couldn’t do that in Savannah, which had two newspapers — morning and afternoon — owned by the same conservative family firm. They didn’t hire many women or African-Americans at the time. Local television was the same — almost no women, no African-Americans. But that was OK for me, I never wanted to be on TV.
My career has taken me to places I never dreamed about as a black girl growing up in the South, living under the restrictions of Jim Crow laws where everything was separate and far from equal. I rose to work as an editor at some of the nation’s most important daily newspapers, met many powerful people, including presidents, vice presidents, members of Congress, governors, judges, big-city mayors and small-town lawmakers. Through journalism, I learned how to measure the pulse of the community through my own community service and through leading staffs that told stories of the real people we served. I have traveled to dozens of states and to other countries. I have hired and mentored hundreds of journalists. I still mentor some of them. I am blessed.
I grew up as an only child and I still have some only-child traits — introspective, nerdy, selfish of my space and relationships, too fond of some materialistic things. No apologies, I just am.
As a wife and mother, I think I’ve done a pretty good job. I’ve been married (to the same man!) for more than 45 years. I got lucky. Somehow I seem to have attracted a man who loves me and never cared that my career drove our family dynamics. He never resented the fact that I made more money, my career determined where and how we lived and traveled and how we retired. My husband is the textbook example of how a man can be supportive of his woman.
We raised a daughter who is about the best a daughter can be. Yes, she, too, grew up as an only child with some of her mother’s only-child traits. But in adulthood she is much more selfless and less selfish than her mother. She is smart, compassionate, giving, thoughtful, creative, beautiful and career driven. Maybe too career driven. I take much of the blame for that. And, she has a great sense of humor, often teaming up with her dad to make Mom the victim of family humor.
I share all of this so you’ll know where I’m coming from as you read my blog posts.
After a career in newspapers, I returned to Savannah with the opportunity to spend time on a university campus by chairing the department training the next generation of students interested in careers in journalism and mass communications. These days I am retired; I spend a lot of time volunteering in my community — and writing.
I am sharing some of my memoir stories in this blog, plus other musings from my life. I left Savannah for decades and now I am back, having come full circle.