Charlayne Hunter-Gault is a woman of distinguised “ firsts”. She holds a place in Georgia civil rights history as one of the first two African -American students admitted to the University of Georgia and she was the first African-American reporter for The New Yorker magazine .
Born on February 27, 1942, in Due West, South Carolina) she is the oldest child of Althea Ruth Brown and Charles S. H. Hunter Jr., Hunter moved frequently during her childhood as her father, an army chaplain, was transferred from one base to another. She was an active student participating in numerous clubs and student organizations, including the school newspaper, the student council, and the honor society in high school- Atlanta's most prestigious black public high school, Henry McNeal Turner High.
A talented writer, Hunter took interest in journalism at a young age and wanted to attend a college with a good journalism program. She applied to the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens, which at the time did not admit African Americans, so she applied to other schools and got accepted to Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Never a quitter, she continued to submit her application to UGA each quarter. After two years of legal battles Hunter and student Hamilton Holmes were admitted to UGA in 1961.
Hunter went on to break the ‘norm’ in her journalism career as well. She was an investigative reporter and anchorwoman for WRC-TV (1967-1968), and also wrote for the New York Times for more than ten years as their first African American reporter. She was the Johannesburg, South Africa bureau chief for CNN from 1999-2005. She is currently a foreign correspondent with National Public Radio. She is on the board of the Committee to Protect Journalists and was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists’ Hall of Fame in 2005.
Charlayne Hunter-Gault is an living example of why you should never take “ no” as an answer and how hard work and determination always prevails in the end.
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