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Coming Full Circle: From Jim Crow to Journalism

Coming Full Circle: From Jim Crow to Journalism

by Wanda Smalls Lloyd


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A 2021 "Books All Georgians Should Read" Georgia Center for the Book Selection

“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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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781588384072
Publisher: NewSouth Books
Publication date: 02/04/2020
Pages: 296
Sales rank: 1,110,932
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Wanda Lloyd is a retired newspaper editor and leader in journalism education. As executive editor of the Gannett-owned Montgomery Advertiser, she was the first African American responsible for the news content of that daily newspaper and several weeklies, and she wrote commentary about local issues. In previous Gannett experience, she was a senior editor at USA Today, and then managing editor at the Greenville (S.C.) News. She has also worked as an editor at the Washington Post, Providence Evening Bulletin, Miami Herald, and Atlanta Journal. Most recently she was associate professor/chair of journalism and mass communications at Savannah State University.

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

Foreword ix

Preface xiii

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

Photographs 133

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

Index 269

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