Black History Month is an annual period of reflection, remembrance and honor for black people around the globe. For Gwen Sommers Redwine, the first female, black or white, CNN Headline News anchor in the 1980’s, it means so much more.
She will be coming to VSU Thursday, Feb. 17 to speak about her experiences and show faculty and students what this month symbolizes for her.
Redwine’s return to VSU to speak at a Black History Month event about her journey is significant enough for her. Formerly Valdosta State College, this is where she first went and obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts with a Radio and Television Emphasis.
“VSU properly prepared me for my field in journalism, and I’m proud to be able to come back and talk about how that preparation helped me in producing the first documentary for WTBS [the news station for which she was the news/documentary producer and news talk show host from 1978-1986],” Redwine said.
During her speech on Thursday, she will be showing clips of her award-winning documentary “1980s: Blacks in America” and providing attendees with further insight to the obstacles she had to overcome as a black woman in the field of news and journalism during times of heightened prejudice and racism.
“The barrier for me was not being taken seriously as a journalist and my background [as a southern black girl] being used against me sometimes,” Redwine said. “I never let that keep me from producing documentaries- it was my determination and trying very hard to overcome those barriers that pushed me.”
Some of the advice she’ll give to anyone aiming to enter this competitive field of news and journalism like she did is, “you must have passion, curiosity, tenacity and integrity.”
These are four traits that carried her through her struggles and barriers that, without them, she wouldn’t have been able to overcome. It takes a strong-willed and passionate individual to become a skilled journalist.
To learn more about Redwine’s story, visit Odum Library Auditorium on Thursday Feb. 17 at 3:30 p.m. Hors d’oeuvres will be available before and after her presentation.
Written by Meghan Hicks, Staff Writer. Photo courtesy of VSU.