“Inspiring reading for aspiring journalists and students of civil rights.” — Kirkus Reviews
Wanda Smalls Lloyd’s Coming Full Circle: From Jim Crow to Journalism—with a foreword by best-selling author Tina McElroy Ansa—is the memoir of an African American woman who grew up privileged and educated in the restricted culture of the American South in the 1950s–1960s. Her path was shaped by segregated social, community, and educational systems, religious and home training, a strong cultural foundation, and early leadership opportunities. Despite Jim Crow laws that affected where she lived, how she was educated, and what civil rights she would be denied, Lloyd grew up to realize her childhood dream of working as a professional journalist. In fact, she would eventually hold some of the nation’s highest-ranking newspaper editorial positions and become one of the first African American women to be the top editor of a mainstream daily newspaper. Along the way she helped her newspapers and other media organizations understand how the lack of newsroom and staff diversity interfered with perceptions of accuracy and balance for their audiences. Her memoir is thus a window on the intersection of race, gender, culture and the media’s role in our uniquely American experiment in democracy. How Lloyd excelled in a profession where high-ranking African American women were rare is a memorable story that will educate, entertain, and inspire. Coming Full Circle is a self-reflective exploration of the author’s life journey from growing up in coastal Savannah, Georgia, to editing roles at seven daily newspapers around the country, and circling back to her retirement in Savannah, where she now teaches journalism to a new generation.
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About the Author
She is an alumna and former trustee of Atlanta’s Spelman College, which awarded her a 2016 honorary doctorate. She has been a four-time juror for the Pulitzer Prize, co-edited The Edge of Change: Women in the 21st Century Press, and served on the journalism advisory boards at Virginia Commonwealth, Auburn, Alabama State, and Savannah State universities.
Her expertise on media diversity led to her role as the founding executive director of the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute at Vanderbilt University. For the National Association of Black Journalists, she directed the landmark study and report Muted Voices: Frustration and Fear in the Newsroom, a survey of black journalists and newsroom managers. The NABJ inducted Lloyd into its Hall of Fame in August of 2019.
She has served with the Accrediting Council on Education for Journalism and Mass Communications and is a former director of the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) and was co-editor of the ASNE Bulletin. Lloyd also previously served as a member of the advisory boards of the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund and the Alfred Friendly Press Foundation.
Table of Contents
Prologue: A Seat at the Table 3
1 The Beginning 9
2 An Only Child 18
3 The Family I Created 26
4 My Village 31
5 Growing Up … Under Jim Crow 38
6 Jim Crow as a Matter of Life or Death 49
7 With 'All Deliberate Speed' 57
8 Continuing the Legacy 76
9 Privileged Black Girl 81
10 The Spelman Years 90
11 Pathway to Providence 108
12 A Summer in the City 128
13 A Newsroom 'Family' in Miami 145
14 A Bad Fit in Atlanta 154
15 Witness to Greatness in D.C. 165
16 Work-Life Balance 175
17 Catapult to Leadership 186
18 ASNE and a Presidential Question 202
19 From Big to Small 215
20 On Becoming a Diversity Guru 224
21 The Final Newsroom 235
22 Full Circle 254
Epilogue: Life Lessons and a Seat for Women 261