Cross, June 1954-

views updated

Cross, June 1954-

(June Victoria Cross)


Born January 5, 1954, in New York, NY; daughter of James Cross and Norma Booth Storch; married Waldon Ricks, c. 1999. Education: Harvard/ Radcliffe College, B.A., 1975.


Office—Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University, 2960 Broadway, New York, NY 10027-6902. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer, journalist, television producer, and educator. Boston Globe, Boston, MA, correspondent, 1975-76; WGBH-TV, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Boston, MA, assistant director, 1976-78; WGBH-TV (PBS), Boston, MA, production manager, 1977-78; MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour (PBS), reporter for urban regional affairs, 1978-80, reporter for defense and national security, 1980-84, reporter for politics, 1984-85, producer/correspondent, beginning 1985; CBS News, producer, 1987-91; Frontline, producer, 1991—, senior producer, 2001—. Columbia University, New York, NY, visiting assistant professor. Also served as an executive producer for This Far by Faith, a six-part PBS series.


Harvard-Radcliff Black Alumni Association (New York, founding board member; and Washington), TransAfrica, National Press Club (council on foreign relations), National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, National Association of Black Journalists.


Journalism fellowship at the Carnegie-Mellon School of Urban/Public Affairs, 1979; Emmy Award, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, 1983, for outstanding coverage of breaking news story (invasion of Grenada); Emmy nomination for Outstanding Series, 1986, and Joan S. Barone Award, both for The 1985 Defense Debate; Emmy Award, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and duPont-Columbia Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism, both 1997, both for film Secret Daughter; fellow at the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for Afro-American Studies at Harvard.


Secret Daughter: A Mixed-Race Daughter and the Mother Who Gave Her Away (memoir), Viking (New York, NY), 2006.

Also writer and producer of the film Secret Daughter, Public Broadcasting Service, c. 1997. Author of the blog June Cross Web log.


A longtime journalist and television producer for the Pubic Broadcasting Service (PBS), June Cross is also the author of the memoir Secret Daughter: A Mixed-Race Daughter and the Mother Who Gave Her Away. The memoir tells the story of Cross, whose white mother gives her away in the 1950s to live with an African American family not long after she left Cross's African American father.

Living in Atlanta far from her mother, Cross becomes confused about many issues growing up, not the least of which is racial identity and her mother's alternative lifestyle in the world of entertainment in Los Angeles after marrying a well-known white comedian. Cross is told she is her mother's niece when she goes to visit her as a child, a charade perpetrated largely because Cross's mother feels her real identity will threaten her husband's acting career due the racial divide and prejudices in the United States at the time. Cross recounts her battles with her conservative black "mother" as she enters into African American radicalism in college, as well as her successful career as a journalist. She also writes about her discovery of her true identity and confrontation with her mother in 1997. Cross's final conclusion, however, is that her mother did the right thing when she gave her up all those years ago. "A searing, personal account of race and racism in mid-century America," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor of Secret Daughter. Vanessa Bush, writing in Booklist, called the book a "powerful story of race and abandonment." Angela P. Dodson wrote in the Black Issues Book Review that the author's "probing and telling of this story opens a rare window on how race takes its toll on the lives of specific people in real but unique situations."



Cross, June, Secret Daughter: A Mixed-Race Daughter and the Mother Who Gave Her Away, Viking (New York, NY), 2006.


Black Issues Book Review, May-June, 2006, Angela P. Dodson, review of Secret Daughter, p. 43.

Booklist, May 15, 2006, Vanessa Bush, review of Secret Daughter, p. 18.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2006, review of Secret Daughter, p. 271.

Library Journal, April 1, 2006, Kristin Whitehair, review of Secret Daughter, p. 103.

Publishers Weekly, March 20, 2006, review of Secret Daughter, p. 49.


African American Literature Book Club, (October 31, 2006), message from author about memoir.

Secret Daughter Web site, (November 1, 2006).

Women's E-News, (July 7, 2006), Alexandra Poolos, "Writer's Life Shines Light on Racial Crosscurrents."