Williams, Lena (Marguerite) 1950-
WILLIAMS, Lena (Marguerite) 1950-
PERSONAL: Born March 2, 1950, in Washington, DC; daughter of Ralph (a chef) and Lena (a homemaker; maiden name, Adams) Williams. Ethnicity: "Black." Education: Howard University, B.A. (cum laude), 1972; Columbia University, M.S., 1973. Politics: Independent. Religion: Baptist. Hobbies and other interests: "Watching sports on television, attending sporting events, dinner and wine with friends."
ADDRESSES: Home—New York, NY. Office—New York Times, 229 West 43rd St., New York, NY 10036. Agent—John Ekizian, 407 West 44th St., Suite 3E, New York, NY 10036.
CAREER: WHUR-FM, worked as reporter; Washington Post, Washington, DC, reporter-intern, 1972; Black Sports, worked as associate editor; New York Times, New York, NY, began as clerk in sports department, became reporter and senior writer, 1974—, and member of mentoring program. Duke University, visiting journalist fellow, 1993; guest lecturer at other institutions, including Mary Washington College. New York Times Pension and Benefits Fund, trustee.
MEMBER: National Association of Black Journalists, Newspaper Guild of New York (second vice president; chair of New York Times Unit).
AWARDS, HONORS: Black Achievers Award, Harlem Young Men's Christian Association, 1978; Award of Excellence, soft features category, National Association of Black Journalists, 1990; Penney-Missouri Journalism Award, 1992, for newspaper article "When Blacks Shop Bias Often Accompanies Sale."
It's the Little Things: Everyday Interactions That Get under the Skin of Blacks and Whites, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2000, published as It's the Little Things: The Everyday Interactions That Anger, Annoy, and Divide the Races, 2001.
SIDELIGHTS: Lena Williams told CA: "I credit my mother for my writing and my wanting to become a writer. When I was, oh, about ten, I asked my mother what should I do when I grew up. She asked me what I liked to do best. 'Play,' I responded. My mother smiled and told me I couldn't really make a living from playing all day. I did enjoy writing, I told her. And sports. I loved sports. It may have seemed rather odd for a ten-year-old girl growing up in the 1950s to love sports. Back then, such girls were called 'tomboys.' But my mother and father always encouraged their four daughters to participate in sports: basketball, softball, volleyball, and track. I still fondly remember sitting down in front of the television with my mom, dad, and siblings to watch the Gillette Friday Night Fights.
"In response to my two loves, my mother offered the following suggestion. 'Why don't you become a writer? You could write about sports or travel. That way, you'd never be bored with your job.'
"My mother was right. From that moment on, I started writing about anything that came to mind. Although there weren't many, if any, women sportswriters back in those days, let alone African-American female sportswriters, I refused to be deterred from pursuing my chosen profession.
"Today, whenever I write, be it about sports, politics, American life, or popular culture, I think back on that day, more than forty years ago, when a mother inspired her daughter to dream beyond her wildest expectations."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
ABC News.com,http://abcnews.com/ (March 11, 2003), "Race Is No Gray Matter: Why Do Black and Whites Quarrel?"