Keynote Speaker

Dorothy Butler Gilliam offers the keynote address at the University's 2018 celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

About Dorothy Butler Gilliam

Dorothy Butler Gilliam is an esteemed journalist, and in 1961, became the first African American female reporter at the Washington Post, reporting for the city desk. Gilliam reported on key moments in the civil rights era, including the integration of Little Rock High School and the integration of the University of Mississippi campus. In 1979, Gilliam launched a popular column covering education, politics, and race that ran regularly in the Post for the next 19 years.

Throughout her career, Gilliam has dedicated herself to promoting equity and access in the journalism industry. She helped organize protests in response to the New York Daily News’ firing of two-thirds of its African American staff. She was a founding board member of the Bob Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. She served as president of the National Association of Black Journalists from 1993 to 1995. In 1997, she created the Young Journalists Development Program, an initiative that works with high school students to introduce them to journalism. From 2004 to 2005, Gilliam acted as J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Fellow at the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs. During her tenure as a Shapiro Fellow, Gilliam founded Prime Movers Media, the nation’s first journalism mentorship program for underserved students at urban schools.

The Washington Press Club awarded Gilliam its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. Gilliam's book Trailblazer: A Memoir by the first Black woman reporter at The Washington Post will be published in 2018.

Gilliam graduated cum laude from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She earned her master's degree at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.