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Hunter-Gault, Charlayne 1942–

Charlayne Hunter-Gault 1942

Journalist

At a Glance

Future Reporter Became Important Newsmaker

Attacked Prejudiced Editorial Policy

Acclaimed Memoir Put Life in Perspective

Selected writings

Sources

Charlayne Hunter-Gault has staked her claim as one of the leading journalists in the United States, having won many of the top honors in her field for excellence in investigative reporting. One of the springboards into her career came when she herself was the subject of journalistic investigation at the height of the civil rights era: In 1961, Hunter-Gault was one of two black students who first broke the color barrier in higher education in Georgia. While braving the protests of white students during that tumultuous time in American history, she also underwent an important learning experience by observing the styles and techniques of reporters who chronicled the event.

Hunter-Gault has built a reputation as a keen investigator of social injustice, especially among African Americans. She became known to millions of television viewers as the national correspondent on PBS-TVs MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour and has also written landmark articles on subjects ranging from the ravages of heroin addiction to the evils of apartheid in South Africa.

Born in 1942 in the small town of Due West, South Carolina, Hunter-Gault was one of three children of Charles and Althea Hunter. Her father was a Methodist Army chaplain who often served long tours of duty away from home, leaving the care of the children to Charlaynes mother and grandmother.

The resilience and pride that have served Hunter-Gault well in her career owe a lot to the strong values passed on to her during her formative years. She has often cited her grandmother as a key role model. Though not educated beyond the third grade, her grandmother read three newspapers a day and helped spark a healthy curiosity about the world in the future award-winning reporter. Hunter-Gaults father was also a critical influence, despite his frequent absences. He was an important part of my life and development because he set standards for me that were very high, Hunter-Gault told Southern Living.

Hunter-Gaults first encounter with prejudice over race occurred when she was a child: she was mocked by other black children for having a light complexion. Her early childhood years were spent in Covington, South Carolina. But in 1951 the family moved to Atlanta, and by age 12 Charlayne had decided to pursue a career in journalism. With a passion bordering on obsession, she revealed in her autobiography In My Place, I wanted to be a journalist. Her hero at the time was Brenda Starr, the comic-strip reporter.

Hunter-Gault excelled at Turner High School in Atlanta, the top black school in a city where black and white students were still educated under separate roofs. She edited the school newspaper and wrote for a community weekly during her high school years. Much to her disappointment, though, the family went to Alaska in the mid-1950s to live where her father was stationed at the time. Hunter-Gault attended a school there that had no other students of color, and she had to enter a lower grade because her school in the South lagged academically behind white schools. The entire family returned to Georgia after a year, and Hunter-Gault went back to

At a Glance

Born Charlayne Hunter on February 27, 1942, in Due West, SC; daughter of Charles S. H., Jr. (a Methodist Army Chaplain) and Althea Hunter; married Walter Stovall (a journalist and writer), 1963 (divorced); married Ronald Gault (an investment banker), 1971; children: Susan, (with Stoval I); Chuma (with Gault). Education: Attended Wayne State University, 1959-61; University of Georgia, Athens, B.A., 1963; Russell Sage Fellow at Washington University, St. Louis, c. 1967-68.

Career: Wrote for the New Yorker, 1964-67; New York Times, 1968-77, became Harlem bureau chief; MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, New York City, general correspondent, 1978-83, national correspondent and substitute anchor, 1983-97; National Public Radio, chief correspondent for Africa, 1997-99; CNN, Johannesburg Bureau Chief, 1999-.

Awards: New York Times Publisher Awards, 1970 (with Joseph Lelyveld), 1974, and 1976; George Foster Peabody Broadcasting Award, 1986; named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists, 1986; Good Housekeeping Broadcast Personality of the Year Award; American Women in Radio and Television Award for excellence in journalism; Woman of Achievement Award from the New York Chapter of the American Society of University Women; Newswomens Club of New York Front Page Award; two National News and Documentary Emmy Awards; National Urban Coalition Award for distinguished urban reporting; Lincoln University Unity Award; Peabody Award, 1999; Lifetime Achievement Award, Annenberg School of Communication, University of Southern California, 2000.

Addresses: Office CNN, One CNN Center, P.O. Box 195366, Atlanta, GA 30348-5366.

Turner High School. She became the schools homecoming queen and graduated number three in her class in 1959.

Future Reporter Became Important Newsmaker

The University of Georgias practice of barring black students made it impossible for Hunter-Gault to attend the only college in her state that had a journalism school. Her opportunity to overcome that restriction came when she, along with fellow Turner High student Hamilton Holmes, was recruited by civil rights leaders who wanted to break the color line in Georgia education. Georgia State University was originally selected as the school to be integrated. However, Holmes suggested that they go to the University of Georgia because it offered a better quality education, and Hunter-Gault agreed. Despite the historic significance of entering a previously whites-only college, Hunter-Gault said that she was not motivated to be such a symbol. Quoted in Essence magazine, she said, To become a historic symbol was not the point of what I did. The point of what I did was to have access to the best education I could in the state to become a journalist.

Hunter-Gault attended Wayne State University in Detroit for a year and a half before the courts opened the door to her entry into the University of Georgia. When she and her mother finally arrived on the Georgia campus in 1961, white students converged on their car and started rocking it until they were chased away by a dean. Two nights later, a crowd 1,000-strong gathered outside her dormitory, one of them heaving a brick through a window. According to an article in Essence, during these riots a white woman went up to Hunter-Gault and tossed a quarter at her feet, saying, Here, nigger, do my sheets. Hunter-Gault and Holmes were suspended for their own safety, then ordered by a federal court to return the next day.

Although Hunter-Gault was occasionally threatened during her stay at the universityand faculty members often stood guard outside her classes to make sure she was not abusedshe never considered leaving. She stated in Southern Living: I think it was the result of having a goal and having support for that and being supported by a lot of really good people who made sacrifices for us. Shortly before earning her journalism degree in 1963, Hunter-Gault secretly married fellow journalism student Walter Stovall, who was white. Although they were divorced several years later due to diverging career paths, they have remained close friends. (Hunter became Hunter-Gault in 1971 when she married Ronald Gault, an investment banker.)

Part of Hunter-Gaults training for her career turned out to be her exposure to the throng of journalists who followed the story of her enrollment at the University of Georgia. Her observations of reporters in action served as an apprenticeship in the art of interviewing. During the summers of her college years, Hunter-Gault further honed her reporting skills by working for the Inquirer, a black Atlanta newspaper.

After graduating in 1963, Hunter and her husband moved to New York City and had a daughter. Her first job was as a secretary at the New Yorker, a position she accepted on the condition that she be considered for future writing assignments. From 1964 to 1967 she contributed pieces to the Talk of the Town feature section of the magazine, and she also wrote short stories. Then she received a Russell Sage Fellowship to study social science at Washington University in St. Louis. During that study period she also edited articles for Trans-Action magazine.

Attacked Prejudiced Editorial Policy

While covering a story in Washington, D.C., Hunter-Gault was hired by WRC-TV, an NBC affiliate, as an investigative reporter and anchor of the local evening news program. In 1968 she accepted a position with the metropolitan staff of the New York Times and later created the post of Harlem bureau chief. During this tenure she wrote a scathing memo to top editors objecting to their practice of changing the term black to Negro in her pieces; she went on to attack the presumptions her white bosses seemed to be making about people of color. Her points were taken to heart, and the Times adopted the word black as standard usage. Nowadays it seems almost silly, she was quoted as saying in People magazine. But it was one of those defining moments in the history of black journalism in major white institutions.

Her next stop on the journalism career track came in 1978 when she became a correspondent for the MacNeil/Lehrer Report, later renamed the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. Five years later, she was promoted to national correspondent and fill-in anchor. Her skills as an interviewer resulted in her meeting with some of the most famous people in the world, including British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, archbishop of Capetown Desmond Tutu, U.S. president George Bush, U.S. Army general Norman Schwarzkopf, German statesman and chancellor Helmut Schmidt, and comedian and business mogul Bill Cosby. Hunter-Gault was one of the first correspondents allowed into the West Indian nation of Grenada after the American-led invasion in 1983, and also reported on location during the Gulf War. She won an Emmy Award for her Grenada coverage, as well as one for her report on Admiral Zumwalt, who authorized the spraying of Agent Orange in Vietnam and unwittingly poisoned his own son. In 1986 Hunter-Gault was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists. Most cherished among her honors, though, is the George Foster Peabody Broadcasting Award presented to her in 1986 by the H. W. Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia for her documentary Apartheids People.

Hunter-Gault has striven to find the essence of her investigative subjects and remain objective in her reporting. Both as a television journalist and a writer, she has produced riveting stories about racial prejudice, the underclass in the United States, and a host of other pressing social concerns. Throughout her successful career, she has never lost sight of herself as a black journalist, and in a piece for Fortune, she emphasized the need for the media to present African Americans as whole people. In his 1989 book I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed the World, Brian Lanker quoted her as saying: You have to assess every situation that youre in and have to decide, is this happening because Im black? Is this happening because Im a woman? Or is this happening because this is how it happens?

Acclaimed Memoir Put Life in Perspective

In 1992 Charlayne Hunter-Gault produced a much-praised account of her life entitled In My Place. In it she recalls her early years growing up black and female in the Deep South, as well as the turmoil of entering the University of Georgia. Her book downplays her own courage in living through the adversity of her college years, giving credit instead to the black community and her family for supporting her and paving the way for her giant step forward.

In My Place is a stirring story of Hunter-Gaults journey from a world of segregationattending schools in the South where children often had no textbooksto a world of international exposurecovering events of worldwide impact for a major news show. Most vivid of all is her recounting of the injustice and horror of her first days at the University of Georgia, when riots ignited around her. As she noted in the books prologue: We would be greeted by mobs of white students who, within forty-eight hours would hurl epithets, burn crosses and black effigies, and finally stage a riot outside my dormitory while nearby state patrolmen ignored the call from university officials to come and intervene. The impact of In My Place was not lost on the critics, either. The New Yorker concluded: This book is a vivid retelling of history, and should take its place as one of the informal literary classics of the civil rights movement.

In fitting recognition of her personal successand the social, economic, and political advancements people of color have been making in the United States over the past few decadesCharlayne Hunter-Gault was asked to deliver the commencement address at the University of Georgia in 1988. She was the first African American to do so in the schools history. In an interview with Southern Living, Hunter-Gault said, I knew that we had really reached a significant milestone in the reconciliation between the Georgia we entered and the Georgia that I wanted it to be. As recounted in the Atlantic, Hunter-Gaults address to the university stressed the need for acknowledging the guiding principles of fundamental human decency and then living by them in a waiting and needful world.

After nearly twenty years at PBS, Hunter-Gault left The MacNeil/Leher NewsHour in 1997 for a position with National Public Radio (NPR). She moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, joining her husband, who had moved there the year before for a position with J.P. Morgan. In Johannesburg, Hunter-Gault acted as NPRs chief correspondent for Africa. Africa conceivably could be one of the most exciting places in the world this coming decade, she told Jet.

Two years later, Hunter-Gault left NPR and returned to television. She accepted an offer from CNN to become the networks Johannesburg Bureau Chief. In Africa, every restaurant you walk into has CNN on the television, Hunter-Gault told Electronic Media. That kind of power is something you dont treat lightly.

Hunter-Gault has held her ground against racism to become a voice of consciousness in the field of American broadcast journalism. During her years with MacNeil/Leher, her face became a well-known symbol for accuracy and integrity. After moving on to NPR and then CNN, Hunter-Gault remained dedicated to her journalistic ideals.

Selected writings

In My Place, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1992.

Sources

Books

Contemporary Heros and Heroines, Book IV, Gale, 2000.

Hunter-Gault, Charlayne, In My Place, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1992.

Lanker, Brian, I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed the World, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1989, p. 62.

Periodicals

Atlanta Journal and Constitution, October 25, 1992, p. N-l; January 12, 1993, p. D-1.

Atlantic, December 1992, p. 151.

Boston Globe, January 31, 1993, sec. BGM, p. 9. Essence, March 1987, pp. 41-42, 110.

Editor & Publisher, January 31, 2000.

Electronic Media, March 15, 1999.

Fortune, November 2, 1992, p. 118-19.

Jet, March 1, 1993, p. 30; May 26, 1997; June 7, 1999.

Los Angeles Times, December 17, 1987, sec. VI, p. 1; June 12, 1988, p. I-4; November 30, 1992, p. E-1.

New Yorker, December 21, 1992, p. 135.

New York Times Magazine, January 25, 1970, pp. 24-25, 50.

People, December 7, 1992, pp. 73-76.

Southern Living, June 1990, pp. 78-83.

USA Today, July 16, 1993, p. A-13.

Ed Decker and Jennifer M. York

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Hunter-Gault, Charlayne 1942–

Charlayne Hunter-Gault 1942

Journalist

At a Glance

Future Reporter Becomes Important Newsmaker

Attacked Prejudiced Editorial Policy

Acclaimed Memoir Puts Life in Perspective

Selected writings

Sources

Charlayne Hunter-Gault has staked her claim as one of the leading journalists in the United States, having won many of the top honors in her field for excellence in investigative reporting. One of the springboards into her career came when she herself was the subject of joumalistic investigation at the height of the civil rights era: In 1961, Hunter-Gault was one of two black students who first broke the color barrier in higher education in Georgia. While braving the protests of white students during that tumultuous time in American history, she also underwent an important learning experience by observing the styles and techniques of reporters who chronicled the event.

Hunter-Gault has built a reputation as a keen investigator of social injustice, especially among African Americans. She is known to millions of television viewers as the national correspondent on PBS-TVs MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour and has also written landmark articles on subjects ranging from the ravages of heroin addiction to the evils of apartheid in South Africa.

Born in 1942 in the small town of Due West, South Carolina, Hunter-Gault was one of three children of Charles and Althea Hunter. Her father was a Methodist army chaplain who often served long tours of duty away from home, leaving the care of the children to Charlaynes mother and grandmother.

The resilience and pride that have served Hunter-Gault well in her career owe a lot to the strong values passed on to her during her formative years. She has often cited her grandmother as a key role model. Though not educated beyond the third grade, her grandmother read three newspapers a day and helped spark a healthy curiosity about the world in the future award-winning reporter. Hunter-Gaults father was also a critical influence, despite his frequent absences. He was an important part of my life and development because he set standards for me that were very high, Hunter-Gault told Southern Living.

Hunter-Gaults first encounter with prejudice over race occurred when she was a child: she was mocked by other black children for having a light complexion. Her early childhood years were spent in Covington, South Carolina (where the television series In the Heat of the Night is filmed). But in 1951 the family moved to Atlanta, and by age 12 Charlayne had decided to pursue a career in journalism. With a passion bordering on obsession, she revealed in her autobiography In My Place, I wanted to be a journalist. Her

At a Glance

Born Charlayne Hunter, February 27, 1942, in Due West, SC; daughter of Charles S. H., Jr. (a Methodist army chaplain) and Althea Hunter; married Walter Stovall (a journalist and writer), 1963 (divorced); married Ronald Gault (an investment banker), 1971; children: Susan (with Stovall); Chuma (with Gault). Education: Attended Wayne State University, 1959-61; University of Georgia, Athens, B.A., 1963; Russell Sage Fellow at Washington University, St. Louis, c. 1967-68.

Wrote for the New Yorker, 1964-67; New York Times, 1968-77, became Harlem bureau chief; MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, New York City, general correspondent, 1978-83, national correspondent and substitute anchor, 1983.

Awards: New York Times Publisher Awards, 1970 (with Joseph Lelyveld), 1974, and 1976; George Foster Peabody Broadcasting Award, 1986; named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists, 1986; Good Housekeeping Broadcast Personality of the Year Award; American Women in Radio and Television Award for excellence in journalism; Woman of Achievement Award from the New York Chapter of the American Society of University Women; Newswomens Club of New York Front Page Award; two National News and Documentary Emmy Awards; National Urban Coalition Award for distinguished urban reporting; Lincoln University Unity Award.

Addresses: OfficeMacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, WNET-TV, 356 West 58th St., New York, NY 10019.

hero at the time was Brenda Starr, the comic-strip reporter.

Hunter-Gault excelled at Turner High School in Atlanta, the top black school in a city where black and white students were still educated under separate roofs. She edited the school newspaper and wrote for a community weekly during her high school years. Much to her disappointment, though, the family went to Alaska in the mid-1950s to live where her father was stationed at the time. Hunter-Gault attended a school there that had no other students of color, and she had to enter a lower grade because her school in the South lagged academically behind white schools. The entire family returned to Georgia after a year, and Hunter-Gault went back to Turner High School. She became the schools homecoming queen and graduated number three in her class in 1959.

Future Reporter Becomes Important Newsmaker

The University of Georgias practice of barring black students made it impossible for Hunter-Gault to attend the only college in her state that had a journalism school. Her opportunity to overcome that restriction came when she, along with fellow Turner High student Hamilton Holmes, was recruited by civil rights leaders who wanted to break the color line in Georgia education. Georgia State University was originally selected as the school to be integrated. However, Holmes suggested that they go to the University of Georgia because it offered a better quality education, and Hunter-Gault agreed. Despite the historic significance of entering a previously whites-only college, Hunter-Gault said that she was not motivated to be such a symbol. Quoted in Essence magazine, she said, To become a historic symbol was not the point of what I did. The point of what I did was to have access to the best education I could in the state to become a journalist.

Hunter-Gault attended Wayne State University in Detroit for a year and a half before the courts opened the door to her entry into the University of Georgia. When she and her mother finally arrived on the Georgia campus in 1961, white students converged on their car and started rocking it until they were chased away by a dean. Two nights later, a crowd 1,000-strong gathered outside her dormitory, one of them heaving a brick through a window. According to an article in Essence, during these riots a white woman went up to Hunter-Gault and tossed a quarter at her feet, saying, Here, nigger, do my sheets. Hunter-Gault and Holmes were suspended for their own safety, then ordered by a federal court to return the next day.

Although Hunter-Gault was occasionally threatened during her stay at the universityand faculty members often stood guard outside her classes to make sure she was not abusedshe never considered leaving. She stated in Southern Living: I think it was the result of having a goal and having support for that and being supported by a lot of really good people who made sacrifices for us. Shortly before earning her journalism degree in 1963, Hunter-Gault secretly married fellow journalism student Walter Stovall, who was white. Although they were divorced several years later due to diverging career paths, they have remained close friends. (Hunter became Hunter-Gault in 1971 when she married Ronald Gault, an investment banker.)

Part of Hunter-Gaults training for her career turned out to be her exposure to the throng of journalists who followed the story of her enrollment at the University of Georgia. Her observations of reporters in action served as an apprenticeship in the art of interviewing. During the summers of her college years, Hunter-Gault further honed her reporting skills by working for the Inquirer, a black Atlanta newspaper.

After graduating in 1963, Hunter and her husband moved to New York City and had a daughter. Her first job was as a secretary at the New Yorker, a position she accepted on the condition that she be considered for future writing assignments. From 1964 to 1967 she contributed pieces to the Talk of the Town feature section of the magazine, and she also wrote short stories. Then she received a Russell Sage Fellowship to study social science at Washington University in St. Louis. During that study period she also edited articles for Trans-Action magazine.

Attacked Prejudiced Editorial Policy

While covering a story in Washington, D.C., Hunter-Gault was hired by WRC-TV, an NBC affiliate, as an investigative reporter and anchor of the local evening news program. In 1968 she accepted a position with the metropolitan staff of the New York Times and later created the post of Harlem bureau chief. During this tenure she wrote a scathing memo to top editors objecting to their practice of changing the term black to Negro in her pieces; she went on to attack the presumptions her white bosses seemed to be making about people of color. Her points were taken to heart, and the Times adopted the word black as standard usage. Nowadays it seems almost silly, she was quoted as saying in People magazine. But it was one of those defining moments in the history of black journalism in major white institutions.

Her next stop on the journalism career track came in 1978 when she became a correspondent for the MacNeil / Lehrer Report, later renamed the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. Five years later, she was promoted to national correspondent and fill-in anchor. Her skills as an interviewer resulted in her meeting with some of the most famous people in the world, including British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, archbishop of Cape Town Desmond Tutu, U.S. president George Bush, U.S. Army general Norman Schwarzkopf, German statesman and chancellor Helmut Schmidt, and comedian and business mogul Bill Cosby. Hunter-Gault was one of the first correspondents allowed into the West Indian nation of Grenada after the American-led invasion in 1983, and also reported on location during the Gulf War. She won an Emmy Award for her Grenada coverage, as well as one for her report on Admiral Zumwalt, who authorized the spraying of Agent Orange in Vietnam and unwittingly poisoned his own son. In 1986 Hunter-Gault was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists. Most cherished among her honors, though, is the George Foster Peabody Broadcasting A ward presented to her in 1986 by the H. W. Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia for her documentary Apartheids People.

Hunter-Gault strives to find the essence of her investigative subjects and remain objective in her reporting. Both as a television journalist and a writer, she has produced riveting stories about racial prejudice, the underclass in the United States, and a host of other pressing social concerns.

Throughout her successful career, she has never lost sight of herself as a black journalist, and in a piece for Fortune, she emphasized the need for the media to present African Americans as whole people. In his 1989 book I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed the World, Brian banker quoted her as saying: You have to assess every situation that youre in and have to decide, is this happening because Im black? Is this happening because Im a woman? Or is this happening because this is how it happens?

Acclaimed Memoir Puts Life in Perspective

In 1992 Charlayne Hunter-Gault produced a much-praised account of her life entitled In My Place. In it she recalls her early years growing up black and female in the Deep South, as well as the turmoil of entering the University of Georgia. Her book downplays her own courage in living through the adversity of her college years, giving credit instead to the black community and her family for supporting her and paving the way for her giant step forward.

In My Place is a stirring story of Hunter-Gaults journey from a world of segregationattending schools in the South where children often had no textbooksto a world of international exposurecovering events of worldwide impact for a major news show. Most vivid of all is her recounting of the injustice and horror of her first days at the University of Georgia, when riots ignited around her. As she noted in the books prologue: We would be greeted by mobs of white students who, within forty-eight hours would hurl epithets, burn crosses and black effigies, and finally stage a riot outside my dormitory while nearby state patrolmen ignored the call from university officials to come and intervene. The impact of In My Place was not lost on the critics, either. The New Yorker concluded: This book is a vivid retelling of history, and should take its place as one of the informal literary classics of the civil rights movement.

In fitting recognition of her personal successand the social, economic, and political advancements people of color have been making in the United States over the past few decadesCharlayne Hunter-Gault was asked to deliver the commencement address at the University of Georgia in 1988. She was the first African American to do so in the schools history. In an interview with Southern Living, Hunter-Gault said, I knew that we had really reached a significant milestone in the reconciliation between the Georgia we entered and the Georgia that I wanted it to be. As recounted in the Atlantic, Hunter-Gaults address to the university stressed the need for acknowledging the guiding principles of fundamental human decency and then living by them in a waiting and needful world. Clearly, she has lived up to these words, having held her ground against frightening adversity on that same campus back in 1961 and having become a voice of consciousness in the field of American broadcast journalism.

Selected writings

In My Place, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1992.

Former writer for the New Yorker and the New York Times. Author of numerous articles for Vogue and other magazines.

Sources

Books

Hunter-Gault, Charlayne, In My Place, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1992.

Lanker, Brian, I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed the World, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1989, p. 62.

Periodicals

Atlanta Journal and Constitution, October 25, 1992, p. N-l; January 12, 1993, p. D-l.

Atlantic, December 1992, p. 151.

Boston Globe, January 31, 1993, sec. BGM, p. 9.

Essence, March 1987, pp. 41-42, 110.

Fortune, November 2, 1992, pp. 118-19.

Jet, March 1, 1993, p. 30.

Los Angeles Times, December 17, 1987, sec. VI, p. 1; June 12, 1988, p. 1-4; November 30, 1992, p. E-l.

New Yorker, December 21, 1992, p. 135.

New York Times Magazine, January 25, 1970, pp. 24-25, 50.

People, December 7, 1992, pp. 73-76.

Southern Living, June 1990, pp. 78-83.

USA Today, July 16, 1993, p. A-13.

Ed Decker

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

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  • APA

"Hunter-Gault, Charlayne 1942–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Hunter-Gault, Charlayne 1942–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/hunter-gault-charlayne-1942

"Hunter-Gault, Charlayne 1942–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved September 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/hunter-gault-charlayne-1942

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Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

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http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Hunter-Gault, Charlayne 1942–

Hunter-Gault, Charlayne 1942–

PERSONAL:

Born February 27, 1942, in Due West, SC; daughter of Charles S.H., Jr. (a minister and chaplain), and Althea Hunter; married Walter Stovall (divorced); married Ronald T. Gault (an investment banker), September 17, 1973; children: (first marriage) Susan Stovall; (second marriage) Chuma. Education: University of Georgia, A.B., 1963.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Johannesburg, South Africa. Office—CNN, 1 CNN Center NW, Box 105366, Atlanta, GA 30347-5366.

CAREER:

Journalist, New Yorker, New York, NY, "Talk of the Town" reporter, beginning 1963; Trans-Action (magazine), former staff member; WRC-TV, Washington, DC, former investigative reporter and news anchor; New York Times, New York, NY, began as metropolitan reporter, became Harlem bureau chief, beginning 1968; MacNeil/Lehrer Report (became MacNeil/Lehrer News-Hour, 1983), PBS-TV, correspondent, 1978-97; National Public Radio, Washington, DC, chief correspondent in Africa, 1997-99; Cable News Network (CNN), Atlanta, GA, Johannesburg bureau chief and African correspondent, beginning 1999, then African correspondent for National Public Radio. Correspondent for programs, including Learning in America, MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, 1989, and for Rights and Wrongs (weekly news magazine), 1993-96. Former adjunct professor of journalism, Columbia University.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Journalist of the Year, National Association of Black Journalists, 1986; Russell Sage fellowship; Distinguished Urban Reporting Award, National Urban Coalition; two George Foster Peabody Awards for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism, University of Georgia; Broadcast Personality of the Year Award, Good Housekeeping; American Women in Radio and Television Award; awards for excellence in local programming, Corporation for Public Broadcasting; Emmy Awards, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, for outstanding coverage of a single breaking news story, and for outstanding background/analysis of a single current story (segments); Sidney Hillman Award, 1990, for television series Out of Reach: People at the Bottom; over two dozen honorary degrees from colleges and universities, including University of Massachusetts and Morehouse College.

WRITINGS:

In My Place (memoir), Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1992.

New News out of Africa: Uncovering Africa's Renaissance, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals, including New York Times Magazine, Essence, New York Times Book Review, Saturday Review, New Yorker, and Vogue.

SIDELIGHTS:

Charlayne Hunter-Gault is a broadcast journalist who has served as an investigative correspondent and anchorwoman on television and radio. Best known for her twenty-year tenure with Public Broadcasting System (PBS)'s MacNeil/Lehrer News-Hour, Hunter-Gault has covered breaking events in the United States, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa, and she has interviewed numerous important international figures, such as former South Africa president Nelson Mandela. In 1999 Hunter-Gault became South African bureau chief for the Cable News Network (CNN), and from that base she has traveled widely in Africa to report on news events and political trends. Honored with Emmy Awards and George Foster Peabody awards for her work in television journalism, Hunter-Gault is one of the best known African-American women broadcasters at work today.

A younger generation might not know that Hunter-Gault was a pioneer in the civil rights movement. In 1961 she and Hamilton Holmes became the first two black students at the University of Georgia. She recalled what it was like to be on the front lines of desegregation in her memoir, In My Place. The author begins with a pleasant account of her childhood in the Deep South (and, for a brief period, Alaska), describing school and church activities. A gifted student, Hunter-Gault decided in high school she was going to be a journalist and applied to a number of colleges. Although she was accepted at Wayne State University in Detroit, Hunter-Gault was "encouraged by local civil rights leaders to apply … to the University of Georgia," according to a Kirkus Reviews contributor. The same reviewer commented that Hunter-Gault's account of facing racial prejudice there is "remarkably generous." Indeed, Hunter-Gault told Publishers Weekly that "the people who attacked me didn't know me." The author added: "They stood outside my dormitory and threw rocks, but it was the idea, not the person they were against." In My Place concludes with Hunter-Gault's graduation from college and presents her "stirring" 1988 University of Georgia commencement speech "as a sort of epilog," commented Gwen Gregory in Library Journal. A contributor to Publishers Weekly considered the work a "warmhearted, well-observed memoir" and believed "that Hunter-Gault could write a rich sequel."

If she does pen a sequel, Hunter-Gault will certainly have enough accomplishments to fill a second book. She went to work at the New Yorker and the New York Times in the 1960s, covering the civil rights movement and urban race riots. She joined the MacNeil/Lehrer Report in 1978 as a national correspondent and anchor-woman and stayed with the PBS nightly newscast for nearly twenty years. When her duties allowed, she also served as a reporter for numerous PBS specials on human rights and on breaking political stories such as the Gulf War and the civil war in Yugoslavia. Her move to Africa in 1997 was undertaken on both a professional and personal front, as her husband had a position with a banking firm in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Reporting first for National Public Radio, and more recently for CNN, Hunter-Gault has helped to cast African news reporting in a more optimistic light. Her dispatches from South Africa reveal a continent full of nations that are industrializing, improving the lot of their citizens, and making important strides in the areas of human rights and desegregation. As she noted in Essence: "There are dynamics here [in Africa] that seem to be delivering something new not only for the continent but also for the world in the coming century."

The journalist told Frazier Moore in the Detroit News: "I like to think of myself as a journalist who is (a) a woman, (b) black, and (c) out of a particular historical experience, and all of the above have had an impact on my values and perspective. It's not the sort of baggage you carry from a lifetime of experience, not in the sense of a yoke or a millstone, but in the Louis Vuitton sense of baggage."

After making her home in South Africa for several years and serving as a correspondent there for both CNN and National Public Radio, Hunter-Gault wrote New News out of Africa: Uncovering Africa's Renaissance. "The book grew out of three … lectures that I gave at Harvard University," Hunter-Gault told Jason Zasky in an interview for Failure.mag.com. "The audiences were very interested in Africa, but I could tell from the questions they asked that they didn't have a clue about [recent] developments on the continent. The questions revolved around what I call the four D's of the African apocalypse—death, disease, disaster and despair. When I sat down to write the book I tried to focus on things I thought were important for Americans to know about Africa."

In New News out of Africa Hunter-Gault writes about various positive or improving aspects of life on the continent of Africa, including the progressive democracy in South Africa. She also sheds light on a changing Africa through the prism of her own experiences growing up during the civil rights movement in the United States. Writing in African Business, a contributor noted that "Hunter-Gault argues that America's knowledge of the continent is hugely distorted by the dictum ‘if it bleeds, it leads’—in other words, only Africa's conflicts and disasters make the news. Hunter-Gault illustrates how pervasive this editorial policy is by telling us that just three years after the democratic dispensation that saw a relatively peaceful transition to majority rule in South Africa, three US broadcasters quit the country, leaving only CNN with a local bureau."

Reviewers praised New News out of Africa. "With more than 40 years of experience in the industry, Hunter-Gault has painted a poignantly complex picture of Africa in her latest book," wrote Robtel Neajai Pailey on the News America Media Web site. Despite the author's emphasis on improvements in African life, reviewers observed that Hunter-Gault includes both sides of the story. For example, Todd Steven Burroughs, writing in Black Issues Book Review, commented that "she takes the reader deep into the post-apartheid era, warts and all." In a review in the Library Journal, James Thorsen called the book "a well-researched, fact-filled account of recent positive changes in Africa."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Hunter-Gault, Charlayne, In My Place, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1992.

PERIODICALS

African Business, November, 2006, review of New News out of Africa: Uncovering Africa's Renaissance, p. 78.

American Scholar, summer, 2006, David Chanoff, review of New News out of Africa, p. 126.

Black Issues Book Review, July-August 2006, Todd Steven Burroughs, review of New News out of Africa, p. 40.

Booklist, June 1, 2006, Vanessa Bush, review of New News out of Africa, p. 22.

Broadcasting & Cable, May 17, 1999, "Coverage of Africa on National Public Radio," p. 12.

Columbia Journalism Review, July-August, 2006, James Boylan, review of New News out of Africa, p. 61.

Detroit News, June 27, 1997, Frazier Moore, "Charlayne Hunter-Gault's Next Stop: Reporting in Africa."

Ebony, July, 2006, review of New News out of Africa, p. 30.

Essence, May, 2000, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, "Freedom's Promise," p. 203.

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 1992, review of In My Place, pp. 1106-1107; April 15, 2006, review of New News out of Africa, p. 391.

Library Journal, October 15, 1992, Gwen Gregory, review of In My Place, p. 74; June 15, 2006, James Thorsen, review of New News out of Africa, p. 87.

New Statesman, August 28, 2006, Karolin Schaps, review of New News out of Africa, p. 51.

Publishers Weekly, August 17, 1992, interview with Hunter-Gault, pp. 36, 40; September 7, 1992, review of In My Place, pp. 83-84; April 3, 2006, review of New News out of Africa, p. 54.

ONLINE

Africa Files,http://www.africafiles.org/ (May 4, 2007), review of New News out of Africa.

allAfrica.com,http://allafrica.com/ (October 6, 2006), interview with author.

BookPage,http://www.bookpage.com/ (May 4, 2007), Anne Bartlett, review of New News out of Africa.

Failure Online,http://www.failuremag.com/ (May 4, 2007), Jason Zasky, interview with Hunter-Gault.

Foreign Policy Association Web site,http://www.fpa.org/ May 4, 2007), review of New News out of Africa.

Global Policy Forum Web site,http://www.globalpolicy.org/ (July 31, 2006), Kimi Paull, "It Shouldn't Have to Bleed to Lead," review of New News out of Africa.

Harvard University Gazette Online,http://www.hno.harvard.edu/gazette/ (May 4, 2007), Beth Potier, review of New News out of Africa.

History Makers,http://www.thehistorymakers.com/ (May 4, 2007), "Charlayne Hunter-Gault."

Inthefray.org,http://inthefray.org/ (December 30, 2006), Nicole Marie Pezold, review of New News out of Africa.

MVGazette.com,http://www.mvgazette.com/ (May 4, 2007), James Kinsella, "From Oak Bluffs to South Africa: A Life, a Career.

News America Media Web site,http://news.newamericamedia.org/ (July 10, 2006), Robtel Neajai Pailey, "Acclaimed Journalist Tells Africa Correspondents to ‘Come in Right.’"

Online NewsHour Forum,http://www.pbs.org/newshour/forum/ (October 18, 2000), "Charlayne Hunter-Gault Farewell Forum."

Smithsonian Online,http://www.smithsonianmagazine.com/ (May 4, 2007), Amy Crawford, interview with the author.

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