Carole Simpson Remembers Martin Luther King

Carole Simpson's NewsLady

Carole McFall
January 11, 2011

With Martin Luther King’s 82nd birthday approaching on January 15, Carole Simpson’s new book NewsLady is especially timely. In Newslady, the legendary news anchor gives a candid account of her experiences as one of the first African American women to break into the news business.

Simpson, who now teaches journalism as Leader-in-Residence, met Dr. Martin Luther King early on in her career. After spending the night on the floor of his hotel corridor to get an exclusive interview, he provided her with a story that scooped the nation. “He told me he admired my perseverance and expected I would be successful as a reporter." She said the story earned her the respect of Chicago’s competitive press corps, and that Dr. King’s words were a major boost to her career and gave her more courage to forge ahead in a white male-dominated profession. “Meeting Dr. King was a life-changing experience,” Simpson recalls. “I decided I would do what I could, where I was, to fight discrimination while struggling to climb the television ladder.”

Simpson broke a lot of ground in the news industry for African American women: She was the first to broadcast radio news and anchor a local newscast in Chicago, and the first to become a correspondent and eventually anchor a national network newscast. She was also the first woman or minority to moderate a presidential debate.

NewsLady is a story of survival in a profession that placed the highest premium on white males. The book recounts how Simpson endured and conquered sex discrimination and racial prejudice to reach the top ranks of her profession. Along the way, she covered some of the most important news events over the four decades of her illustrious broadcasting career. Her inspirational story is for anyone trying to succeed in a corporate environment.

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