Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Moment In Afro Herstory: American Journalist Melba Tolliver

Melba Tolliver is a distinguished journalist, writer and journalism teacher. She accidently became an anchor woman in April, 1967, when on-air personnel at the three broadcast networks went on strike. ABC News executives tapped Tolliver to substitute for Marlene Sanders, anchor of “News With The Woman’s Touch.” and the rest is history.

Historically, Miss Tolliver became the first Black woman ever to anchor a network news program. Her academic work includes writer-in residence at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn; adjunct instructor in journalism at the College of Old Westbury, Long Island, NY; and Howard R. Marsh Visiting Professor of Journalism at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Tolliver holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Empire State College of the State University of New York and a nursing diploma from New York University-Bellevue, NYC.

An honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Molloy College, Long Island, NY; a political reporting award from Lincoln University; a Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York Association of Black Journalists, the John B. Russwurm Award from the New York City Urban League, the Matrix Award from New York Women in Communications, and a National Endowment of the Humanities Fellowship to the University of Michigan are among her many honors.

Tolliver has served on the boards of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in New York, the Empire State College Foundation, and the Institute for Student Achievement advisory board. A longtime resident of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, Tolliver moved to Lower Mt. Bethel Township, PA in 1994 and is currently at work on her memoir, “Accidental Anchorwoman: Chance, Choice and Change.”

1 comment:

Moni @ CL Journal said...

Wow, I wondered whatever happened to Ms. Tolliver! She was a fixture in my household; during the 70's she was one of the reporters on Channel 7's Eyewitness News in New York (which had a very diverse news team that included Ms. Tolliver, John Johnson, Geraldo Rivera and I believe Pablo Guzman). Ms. Tolliver was also the first female newscaster that I remember wearing her natural hair. She always had grace, charm and a fierce TWA. I loved watching her as a child!

What a wonderful woman to honor! : )

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