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Charlayne Hunter-Gault

Award-Winning Journalist


Charlayne Hunter-Gault is an award-winning journalist with more than 40 years in the industry, extending her work at various times to all media. A trailblazer in her own right, she is the author of four books — the most recent, Corrective Rape, a book about violence against gay women in South Africa, soon to be published Agate e book and To the Mountaintop: My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement, a historical narrative for young readers grade nine through young adult published in 2012 by The New York Times and Roaring Brook Press; paperback in 2013 by Squarefish. Her other two books are New News Out of Africa: Uncovering the African Renaissance, Oxford University Press and In My Place, a memoir of the Civil Rights Movement, fashioned around her experiences as the first black woman to attend the University of Georgia, published by Farrar Strauss and Giroux and in paperback by Vintage Press.

Hunter-Gault joined NPR in 1997 after 20 years with PBS, where she worked as a national correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. She joined CNN in April 1999 from National Public Radio, where she worked as the network's chief correspondent in Africa and was awarded a Peabody in 1998 for her coverage of the continent. In 2005, Hunter-Gault returned to NPR as a Special Correspondent. She began her journalism career as a reporter for The New Yorker; then worked as a local news anchor for WRC-TV in Washington, D.C.; and as the Harlem bureau chief for The New York Times. She is also frequent contributor to The New Yorker and The Root.

Her numerous honors include two Emmy awards and two other Peabody awards — the first for her work on "Apartheid's People," a NewsHour series about South African life during apartheid. Over the years, Hunter-Gault has been the recipient of numerous other awards and citations from the National Association of Black Journalists, including for her CNN series on Zimabawe; the Sidney Hillman Foundation, the American Women in Radio and Television, and Amnesty International for her Human Rights reporting, especially her PBS Series, Rights and Wrongs, a Human Rights Television magazine. In 2014, she received the International Freedom Award from the National Civil Rights Museum at the historic Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated. In 2010, she received the D. C. Choral Arts Society Humanitarian award and in 2011, she was honored with both the Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award and the W. Haywood Burns award from New York’s Neighborhood Defender Service. In August 2005, she was inducted in the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame.

In 2014, she received the International Freedom Award from the National Civil Rights Museum at the historic Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated. In 2015, she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Washington Press Club Foundation. Hunter-Gault is a sought-after public speaker, holds more than three dozen honorary degrees, is on the board of The Committee to Protect Journalists, the Carter Center, the Peabody Board and Digital Promise Global. She is vice president of the Clara Elizabeth Jackson Carter Foundation, established by Camille Cosby in honor of her mother.


From Closed Doors to Open Roads: A Journalist's Journey

Keynote speaker Charlayne Hunter-Gault, one of the world's most distinguished journalists, describes how she grew up in a segregated society and what enabled her to successfully challenge the decades-old Southern laws that were created to keep her and all black people "in their place." She goes on to trace fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming "Brenda Starr" to being Brenda and beyond and – some years after her successful career in magazines, newspapers, and television – departing to South Africa to chronicle the familiar yet unique end of segregation there. And finally, she describes why she is still out there, attempting to bring "new news" to people the world over, through all the media she has mastered – including print, radio, television and the blogosphere.

From Jim Crow America to Apartheid South Africa & Beyond: An Activist Journalist's Journey

Charlayne Hunter-Gault describes her historic entry into the University of Georgia as its first black woman student and the road she took through Jim Crow South to get there. She chronicles her rise from there to the top of her profession and the stories she covered along the way. This includes South Africa and its "Jim Crow" like system of apartheid, the victory of its people over the system, and where that has taken them and the continent.

Africa Rising: A Continent in Motion

Africa today stands poised to take control of its own destiny--one of the most exciting developments since the end of colonialism. Can Africa heal itself, by itself? What will it take? And what are the consequences of failure? Charlayne Hunter-Gault will talk about the challenges facing Africa and tell why they are America's challenges too.

Africa's Women on the Move

Charlayne Hunter-Gault takes a look at the advances of the last Africans in taking their place in helping to build new societies on the continent.

Revolutions I Have Known and Loved

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