Coming Full Circle: From Jim Crow to Journalism is the memoir of an African American woman who grew up privileged and educated in the segregated culture of the American South before and during the twentieth-century civil rights movement. Despite laws that restricted her housing, education, voting rights, and virtually every other aspect of life, Wanda Smalls Lloyd grew up to become one of the nation's highest-ranking newspaper journalists, and among the first African American women to be the top editor of a major newspaper.
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, and finally back to Savannah to make a difference in her childhood community. Her path was shaped not only by the segregated social, community, and educational systems, but also by religious and home training, a strong cultural foundation, and early leadership opportunities.
That Southern upbringing produced an adult woman who realized her professional dream of working for daily newspapers and rose to become an editor at the Washington Post and a senior editor at USA Today before returning South as the executive editor of the Montgomery Advertiser. Along the way, she was an advocate and an example for how diversity helped newsrooms become reflections of accuracy for their audience. Lloyd's memoir opens a window on the intersection of race, gender, and culture in professional journalism. How she excelled in a profession where high-ranking African American women were rare is a reminder for older readers and an inspiring story for a younger generation.
WANDA SMALLS LLOYD parlayed her passion for storytelling when she transitioned from journalism to writing non-fiction. A newspaper editor for more than four decades, she now writes from her home in Savannah, Georgia, where she grew up in the 1950s and 1960s and left for college and career. In 2013, her award-winning work as an editor at seven daily newspapers brought her full circle back to Savannah as a professor. Lloyd, co-editor of The Edge of Change: Women in the 21st Century Press, retired from daily journalism after serving more than eight years as executive editor of the Montgomery Advertiser, the daily newspaper in Alabama’s capital city. She has also been an editor at The Washington Post, USA Today, the Miami Herald, the Atlanta Journal, the Greenville (SC) News and the Providence Evening Bulletin. She was the founding executive director of the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Most recently she was associate professor and chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications at Savannah State University. At home when she is not writing, Lloyd enjoys volunteering with service organizations, gardening and doting on her family – her husband, Willie, their daughter, Shelby who lives in Florida, and Bella, the family’s mini pinscher. Spelman College, Lloyd’s alma mater, awarded her an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2016. She was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists’ Hall of Fame in 2019.