Telling those at the Wittenberg Series’ Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Convocation, Jan. 16, “that the best way to honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy is not to sit but to stand up for justice and equality,” award-winning journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault applauded the university for scheduling a week of events in King’s honor.
Currently a correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR), Hunter-Gault replaced Henry Louis Gates, who was unable to attend because of health problems. Hunter-Gault made civil rights history in 1963 when she became the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Georgia. The target of racial epithets and a riot outside her dormitory room, she said she was moved to tears when King recognized her sacrifices in a brief exchange in a crowd following one of his speeches.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, she became the first African American reporter for The New Yorker. Since then, she has worked for The New York Times, received numerous awards and served as a national correspondent for PBS’ The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. She also served as CNN’s Johannesburg bureau chief and correspondent before joining NPR.