Journalist Dorothy Butler Gilliam on Her Groundbreaking Career
Today, a conversation about diversity in the news media with Dorothy Butler Gilliam, a journalist who has spent a lifetime breaking down barriers. She has been a journalist for more than six decades. She started in the Black press, working in Louisville, Memphis and Chicago.
And then, at the age of 23, she became the first woman of color to be a reporter at The Washington Post. When Ms. Gilliam was hired by The Post in 1961, there were only two people of color in The Post newsroom. Both were men. And of the small handful of women who were reporters, all were white. And they were mostly restricted to writing about so-called “women’s issues.”
Dorothy Butler Gilliam began to change all of that. She started her career at The Post as a general assignment reporter, not a women’s reporter. She later worked as an editor and a columnist, as well.
Ms. Gilliam helped others break down barriers too. In the mid 1990s, she served as the president of the National Association of Black Journalists, and for decades, she worked with young journalists of color to cultivate their careers. Some of those she helped eventually joined her as journalists at The Post.
Her new memoir is called, Trailblazer: A Pioneering Journalist's Fight to Make the Media Look More Like America.
She will be appearing tonight at the Enoch Pratt Central Library in Baltimore as part of the Brown Lecture Series. The event begins at 7 pm.