What a Class Act!

Such a Class Act!
I can’t let another day go by without sharing how much I appreciate the SCHOOL of Global Journalism and Communication at Morgan State University for inviting me to speak with journalism/multimedia students about my book: “Truth Tellers: The Power and Presence of Black Women Journalists Since 1960.” From the moment I stepped into the SGJC’s building in Baltimore on May 4, I was welcomed by Dr. Janice Smith, interim chairman of the School’s strategic communication department, along with Associate Professor Wayne Dawkins, Journalism Department Chairman Benjamin Davis and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and journalism educator E. R. Shipp. And then there was my new friend, SGJC student Chase “like the bank” Gilliam, who believes that he is related to Dorothy Gilliam, one of the women in my book.

I felt so comfortable and at home while visiting WEAA, the NPR-affiliate radio station’s spacious floor and meeting administrators, staff and on-air personalities (including students) who ensure that the station runs smoothly each day. MSU truly is one of those HBCUs where everyone wears several hats and don’t mind doing so. The pride in every inch of the building was evident. SGJC is led by SGJC Dean Jackie Jones, a beloved administrator, academic and journalist who is continuing a legacy of excellence established by SGJC’s former dean, DeWayne Wickham. Dean Jones is mentioned several times in my book, and rightly so as someone who helped guide the careers of numerous Black women journalists.

Thank you again, Dean Jones!! (Former Dean Wickham, of course, is one of the lead endorsers of my book). When I entered the room where the book discussion was to take place, I nearly fainted! Spread out on a table were two dozen copies of my book, ready for me to sign for every student in attendance!! YES!! God is GOOD!! The discussion that followed was even better. The students were amazing. They listened, asked probing questions, shared some of their personal stories and more. But further validation of the excellence taking place at SGJC came when I received an email yesterday afternoon from my longtime colleague Wayne Dawkins containing an article that two students wrote about my visit, along with a photo taken by another student!

Talk about meeting a deadline! As often as the word “intentional” is used these days, I cannot think of a better word to describe SGJC’s faculty, staff and students regarding my visit. And EXCELLENCE! I am humbled, honored and blessed. Thank you, again, Morgan State University and the School of Global Journalism and Communication. Jackie Jones Wayne Dawkins DeWayne Wickham Janice E. Smith, Ph.D., APR
I LOVE this article! Please enjoy

“Truth Tellers” goes to Washington

By Bonnie Newman Davis

It was a Friday afternoon in the nation’s capital. Cold. Raining. Traffic. It didn’t matter. I felt good in the company of a friend and soror, Marylinn Minor, who drove with sleepy me to DC’s National Press Club. As I fumbled with my bags, a woman with a familiar brisk pace breezed past me. I heard her mention my book and I said, “that’s me.” She turned around and we screamed. Laverne McKay Henson, a dear high school and college classmate had driven from Northern Virginia for my book discussion!

We entered the NPC’s Fourth Estate Room where the employees and staff were extremely kind, helpful and attentive to all our needs. And why wouldn’t they be, I asked silently while reminding myself that world leaders and news media luminaries come through the NPC’s doors daily. Laverne did what friends do….grabbed everything out of my hands and started placing bookmarks and other items in the waiting seats.

More people trickled into the room. Dorothy Butler Gilliam, the beloved former Washington Post columnist and my Sheroe–the woman who read my clips 40+ years ago and saw promise in me. At 86 she’s still got it going on. Denise Bridges and her husband Jerome, who’ve been with me on every step of this book journey, came in next.

Then my girl Yolanda McCutchen of WABJ who helped round up DC journalists and others interested in learning more about what we do. Then Fateema Blackwell, my former VCU student who used to follow me around and continues to do so all these years later. Fateema is awesome, and as a multimedia journalist takes care of many of my technical needs.

They kept coming. Renowned freelance journalist Stephenie Overman who is bringing me back into the regional and national fold of the Society of Professional journalists (SPJ). Dorine Bethea, a tenacious journalist whom I once worked with at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Dorine has a testimony that I hope she will share one day. She still rises, currently at the Washington Post. Bousaina Ibrahim, a young sister fresh out of Nebraska, came to learn how to further spread her wings in a business that is not for the faint of heart. Phil, a young brother from the Huffington Post. Slav who said he’s “from Ukraine and knows Joe Biden,” before asking about the U.S.’s relationship with Africa.

Dr. Sherri Williams, a journalist and journalism professor at American University who is so sharp and witty and focused that it makes my head spin. Sonya Ross, equally smart, strategic and funny is a former Associated Press reporter and one of the women featured in my book, “Truth Tellers: the Power and Presence of Black Women Journalists Since 1960.” Sonya shared with us what it was like to witness and record the George W. Bush administration’s response to 9-11 because she was part of the White House press pool in Florida that fateful day 22 years ago. Amazing as Sonya also details her heroic moment in my book!

Oh, did I mention that Virginia Congressman Robert “Bobby” Scott was in an adjourning room filled with Black historians? Or that Kemba Smith Pradia briefly stepped into my book event, nodded and smiled before disappearing, further signaling to me that God is Good. Thank you so much, Sonya Ross for suggesting that I host my book event at the NPC. We did that.

Special thanks to my sponsors: Dorothy B. Gilliam, Leigh Battle, Senior2Senior Health Plans & Retirement Planning Group LLC; Vinara Mosby, OWNER/AGENT AT MAXAMUS INSURANCE SERVICES LLC; BND Institute of Media and Culture Inc., MLH Assets Management, InfraPros, LLC.

Join us Jan. 26 for a “Truth Tellers”discussion

Featuring Bonnie Newman Davis, author of “Truth Tellers” and Diane Walker, former NBC 12 news anchor

Truth Tellers: The Power and Presence of Black Women Journalists Since 1960

“The first Black woman to run for vice president of the United States was Charlotta Bass – a journalist. That happened 70 years ago.

For nearly four decades before her 1952 run for the vice presidency, Bass was the crusading editor and publisher of the California Eagle, the largest Black-owned newspaper on the West Coast. But those who write the history of that time have largely forgotten—or simply ignored—Bass.

Bonnie Newman Davis’ book, Truth Tellers: The Power and Presence of Black Women Journalists Since 1960, tells the stories of 24 Black women whose journalism careers spanned the last forty years of the 20th century. They are print and broadcast journalists and, like Bass, courageously bore the burden of being a Black person in America’s newsrooms.

Norma Adams-Wade to Lynne K. Varner, Wanda Lloyd to Barbara Ciara, and Patrice Gaines to Sandra Daye Hughes, the stories Davis tells are of Black women journalists who took on the challenges of being what W.E.B. DuBois called the “two-ness” of being an American and Black.

These women aren’t household names. This book, hopefully, will change


DeWayne Wickham Journalist, Columnist and Founding Dean School of Global Journalism & Communication Morgan State University

Style Magazine Reviews “Truth Tellers”!

More about the author: Bonnie Newman Davis

Details: Thu, January 26, 2023, 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM EST

Libbie Mill – Henrico County Public Library 2100 Libbie Lake East Street Richmond, VA 23230

*Light refreshments available!

Register on Eventbrite!!

Climbing Kilimanjaro

How much do you know about Mount Kilimanjaro? I must admit, before last Thursday, I knew two things: 1-it’s in Africa; and, 2-it’s one of the highest mountains in the world. Thanks to the BND Institute of Media and Culture and the Black History Museum, we were able to spend ‘An Evening on Kilimanjaro,’ featuring a man I’m honored to call friend and a true Renaissance Man, Robert L. Dortch, Jr. Robert wowed us with his enlightening story of successfully reaching the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. Moderated by the humorous Kym Grinnage, and featuring an introduction by my good friend and Tanzania-born and raised, Zarina Fazaldin, the event was simply inspirational. On average, only 50 percent of people who climb Mount Kilimanjaro reach the summit, and of that number, only 1percent are Black. And now all of Richmond can boast that we know someone in that 1percent!

Renee Walston Johnson

December12, 2022

Learn more about Mr. Dortch’s journey in this Nov. 3, 2022 Richmond Free Press article:

An Evening on Kilimanjaro: Richmond Free Press December 8, 2022.

New book chronicles Black women journalists

Truth Tellers: The Power and Presence of Black Women
Journalists Since 1960

The first Black woman to run for vice president of the United States was Charlotta Bass—a journalist. That happened 70 years ago.

For nearly four decades before her 1952 run for the vice presidency, Bass was the crusading editor and publisher of the California Eagle, the largest Black-owned newspaper on the West Coast. But those who write the history of that time have largely forgotten—or simply ignored—Bass.

Bonnie Newman Davis’ book, Truth Tellers: The Power and Presence of Black Women Journalists Since 1960, tells the stories of 24 Black women whose journalism careers spanned the last forty years of the 20th century. They are print and broadcast journalists and, like Bass, courageously bore the burden of being a Black woman in America’s newsrooms.

“These women aren’t household names. This book, hopefully, will change that.”

– DeWayne Wickham, Journalist, Columnist and Founding Dean, School of
Global Journalism & Communication at Morgan State University

“While we have become accustomed to seeing Black women journalists on screen, there are so many who are lesser known and unsung, but who have paved important paths in the field. Bonnie Newman Davis lifts their names and tells their important stories. This is an important book for students and scholars who want (need) to know the full history of journalism.”

—Tamara Jeffries, Journalist, Former Executive Editor, Essence Magazine


ISBN: 978-0-578-29935-8
Size: 6 x 9 | 256 pages
Retail: $25.00


Other ways to purchase:

Paypal:  bonnienewmandavis@gmail.com

Zelle: 804 683-7203

Cashapp: $bonnienewmandavis

Checks or Money Orders: 
Bonnie Newman Davis
c/o Truth Tellers
P.O. Box 2444 
Mechanicsville, Va. 23116

Truth Tellers: The Power and Presence of Black Women Journalists Since 1960

Coming Soon!

Order Now for your Oct. 20, 2022 delivery!

Contact: davisbonnie270@gmail.com

Life comes full circle for Bonnie Newman Davis, Richmond Free Press managing editor

This article appeared on the Virginia Press Association on Sept. 28, 2022

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September 28, 2022

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Bonnie Newman Davis, managing editor of the Richmond Free Press

Bonnie Newman Davis will soon release a book that tells the stories of Black women journalists over the span of 60 years.

“Truth Tellers: The Power and Presence of Black Women Journalists since 1960” has been a work in progress for the Richmond Free Press managing editor for the past seven years.

The idea for the book came when she was teaching at Virginia Commonwealth University and was writing articles for National Association of Black Journalists magazine. Davis noticed that most of the profiles published in the magazine were about Black males. Black women had been in the field longer, she noted.

Davis interviewed 24 Black women journalists from around the country to tell the story of their individual experiences working in mainstream media.

“I’m excited about it,” the 65-year-old said. “For me it was full circle—definitely one of my proudest moments in life—being able to start something and finish it.”

It has been an emotional experience, though, she said, learning about the atrocities and indignities some of the women have gone through during their careers.

“When we were coming up, not just Black women, but women period, in a male-dominated newsroom—it’s brutal,” she said. “It’s not an easy business.”

The book contains stories about one reporter who covered school integration during the civil rights movement being forced to sleep in a funeral home because she couldn’t stay at a hotel because of the color of her skin.

Another story details the treatment another female journalist received while covering KKK rallies and the offensive actions of a fellow reporter in her newsroom who used racial slurs to refer to her.

“That was shocking, the audacity that so-called professionals would do that,” Davis said. “It just makes your heart hurt to know that people had to go through that because they were pursuing a career.”

Davis expressed her admiration for the women she interviewed and their diligence in not letting the indignities wear them down. The demands of the business coupled with the demands of family is not an easy road, she noted.

The book is the culmination of Davis’s more than 40 years as a student, journalist and teacher at many universities.

Davis grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina, during the civil rights movement. As a child, her understanding of what was happening around her was limited, even though the famous Greensboro sit-in at a Woolworth’s lunch counter took place close to her home.

She was in sixth grade when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were murdered. Her teacher talked about it with the class and Davis began reading stories about Black people, frequenting her local library.

“It had an impact on me and a lot of what I’ve done,” she said.

As a student at North Carolina A&T State University, she took a course that explored elected Black politicians who were coming into their own at the time.

“That kind of opened my eyes to the way things were, “she said.

It was there that she was also introduced to many of the leading African American journalists of the time who came to speak at the university.

“These were the kind of people who were telling us about journalism,” she said. “I bit the bullet, so to speak.”

She gained experience working for the Wilmington Star-News and Greensboro Daily News while in college and interned at The Louisville Times on a minority scholarship before enrolling in the University of Michigan to earn her master’s degree. During her internship at the Ann Arbor news, she interviewed the likes of Barbara Bush and Bootsy Collins, who is recognized by Rolling Stones Magazine as the top bassist of all time.

She became involved in the National Association of Black Journalists and attended a job fair the organization hosted in Washington, D. C.

There she met Dorothy Gilliam, the first African American female reporter at The Washington Post. Gilliam read Davis’s clips and offered the budding journalist encouragement.

“Thinking back on her support and encouragement helped me along the way,” Davis said. “I’m grateful for that.”

Davis was offered a job at the Richmond News Leader, where she started out typing up obituaries and other copy for the newspaper. Before long, she was covering schools, school boards and county government.

She left the paper for a few years for another opportunity, but eventually returned to the News Leader in 1991 just as it was merging into the Richmond Times Dispatch.

Before she left for a second time in 1999, she was editor of the RTD’s Sunday arts and entertainment section, overseeing a 12-person team. She had also established the Richmond Chapter of Black Journalists, which was recognized by the NABJ as Chapter of the Year in 1999.

But Davis had grown restless, trading journalism for academia – first as director of communications for Virginia Union University, and later as a visiting professor at numerous universities where she taught a variety of journalism related courses. She also was a substitute teacher in Henrico County Public Schools.

She was named Journalism Educator of the Year by the NABJ in 2011 and has received numerous awards and honors throughout her long career for both teaching and journalism.

Davis had begun substitute editing for the Richmond Free Press and agreed to help with editing last December while the paper’s editor went on vacation.

A few months later, the paper’s owner, Jean Patterson Boone, called Davis and asked if she would be willing to take over the reins as managing editor.

“I wasn’t going to turn it down,” Davis said. “It’s been great.”

The free weekly newspaper, founded by the late Raymond Boone in 1992, is focused on covering Richmond’s Black community.

Davis’s mission is to provide readers with information that will help them navigate their daily lives – from what’s happening in city hall and in the schools, to policing, law enforcement, utilities, and housing.

“We tend to pay a lot of attention to housing, to available resources,” she said. “There’s a huge issue with homelessness in the city, and impoverishment.”

Davis said that 25 percent of people in Richmond live in poverty, and one of her goals is to shed light on the issue and provide information to people about where they can go for assistance while at the same time letting readers know how they can help.

“That to me is keenly important. I think that’s the role of journalism, providing this information so people know what to do on any given day,” Davis said.

Davis is focused on presenting the Black perspective and said she brings her own personality and unique perspective to the newspaper each week. She has also made it her goal to include more news about young people in the community.

“That’s a natural for me having spent so much time in the classroom–shedding light on what they’re doing,” she said. “And sometimes it depends on what I like or what I’m seeing or how I feel.”

For Davis, whose sisters describe her as a workaholic, life truly has come full circle. The fact that her parents, now both deceased, were able to live long enough to see her career accomplishments is gratifying to her.

“I’ve been able to walk in and out of various news organizations and institutions of higher learning,” she said. “I don’t have any regrets at all. I enjoy what I’m doing,” she said. “It’s been a good ride and I’m looking forward to the future.”

Correction: This article has been corrected to report that Bonnie Newman Davis was a substitute teacher in Henrico County Public Schools, not Richmond City schools as intially reported. 

Article by Deana Meredith, Communications Manager, Virginia Press Association

Jazz Inside Out @ VMFA

Press Release

11th Annual Jazz Inside Out Set for July 2

More than 20 local and national companies will partner with the Virginia Higher Education Fund for an evening of dancing and live jazz to raise scholarship funds for local students. 

The 11th annual Jazz Inside Out event is scheduled from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 2 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Best Cafe and Terrace.

The signature event will be hosted by Jasmine Turner, WWBT/NBC 12 Anchor with Honorary Chair, Dr. Monroe Harris. Entertainment will be provided by national jazz recording artist Phillip “Doc” Martin and singer, Richmond native, Kia Bennett.  

Tickets are $75. and include Hors d’oeuvres, silent auction and dancing.

Tickets are available at


For more information:  (804) 329-1374.

What– 11th Annual Jazz Inside Out.  More than 20 local and national companies will partner with the Virginia Higher Education Fund for an evening with national jazz recording artist, Phillip “Doc” Martin and Kia Bennett to raise scholarship funds for local students.  

When-July 2, 7pm-10pm

Where– Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Best Cafe & Terrace 

Who it benefits– Proceeds this year will provide Momentum Scholarships for local students

What it includes– Hors d’oeuvres, live entertainment, dancing and a silent auction.

For more information:  (804) 329-1374.

Sadeqa Johnson’s ‘Yellow Wife’

Hear a riveting discussion between award-winning author Sadeqa Johnson and motivational speaker Dennis Parker, Ph.D, about the bowels of slavery at the infamous “Devil’s Half-Acre,” a jail where enslaved men and women once were tortured and sold every day in Richmond, Virginia. Learn about the lingering effects of such inhumane treatment. Award-winning author Stacy Hawkins Adams will introduce the speakers and lead a question-and-answer session.

May 17, 2022 – 6:30 p.m.

Free on Zoom


This program is sponsored by MLH Assets Management. LP