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Charlayne  Hunter-Gault

Charlayne Hunter-Gault

Award-Winning Journalist

Charlayne Hunter-Gault

Award-Winning Journalist


Charlayne Hunter-Gault is an award-winning journalist with more than 50 years in the industry, extending her work at various times to all media. She is the author of four books, including an eBook, called Corrective Rape, which details the devastating way some men in South Africa attempt to “correct” gay women’s sexual identity; To the Mountaintop: My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement, is a historical narrative for young readers grade nine and up, published by The New York Times and Roaring Brook Press. 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, in 1961, now a Vintage Press paperback.  Her latest book, My People, a collection of her reporting and writing throughout her career, will be published by Harper Collins in late 2022.

In 2005, Hunter-Gault returned to NPR as a special correspondent after six years as CNN's Johannesburg bureau chief and correspondent. 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.

Hunter-Gault worked for 20 years with PBS NewsHour, alternately as substitute anchor and national, as well as international, correspondent. And she has now returned to the NewsHour as a special correspondent, doing an unprecedented series called Race Matters: Solutions, focusing on solutions to American’s enduring race problem.

She began her journalism career as a reporter for The New Yorker, to which she still contributes; she then worked as a local news anchor for WRC-TV in Washington, D.C., later creating and serving in the position of the Harlem bureau chief for The New York Times. Her numerous honors include a New York Times Publisher's Award for a story she worked on detailing the life of the youngest victim of a heroin overdose in 1970. Hunter-Gault has also won two Emmy Awards and two Peabody Awards—the first for her work on Apartheid's People, a NewsHour series about South African life during apartheid; the second for her work in Africa for NPR, in which, according to the Peabody citation, she "demonstrated a talent for ennobling her subjects, and revealed a depth of understanding of the African experience that was unrivaled in Western media." Over the years, Hunter-Gault has been the recipient of numerous other awards for her work and in August 2005, she was inducted in the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame. In 2014, she received Black Enterprises Legacy Award. In 2015, she was honored with the Washington Press Club Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award and that same year was also inducted into the Atlanta Press Club's Hall of Fame.

Hunter-Gault is a sought-after public speaker and holds some three dozen honorary degrees. She is married to businessman Ronald T. Gault and has two adult children, Suesan, an artist and singer, and Chuma, an actor and director.

Speaker Videos

Celebrating Desegregation: A Student Returns

Queen for a Week

Leading Journalists

Importance of Black History

Speech Topics

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 & Loved