10 Black Women News Anchors Who Paved The Way In Broadcast Journalism

Veronica Hilbring Jan, 04, 2018

News anchors are like family — streaming by television into our homes every day to deliver the latest developments around the world. In most cases, they are the first faces we see in the morning, and many times the last faces we see at night.

And in that way, their presence in our lives are expected, and losing them can be devastating.

That was evident with the loss of Atlanta news anchor Amanda Davis, whose death left a city devastated. Davis’ death also reminded the world how hard Black women have had to work to get a seat at the anchor table. As broadcast journalists, Black women have endured racism, sexism, and criticism about everything from our skin tone and hair, to our diction.

It hasn’t been an easy road, but with each anchor, the road gets paved with more opportunities. And with the recent appointment of Hoda Kotb in the coveted Today Show slot left open by disgraced host Matt Lauer, it’s clear Black women have been and will continue to persevere and run the show.

Here are a few news anchors that have broken the broadcasting glass ceiling.

1 of 10 Susan Wood/Getty Images

Before women had the agency to wear their natural hair in all spaces, Melba Toliver had to take the fall for wearing her hair in her natural state. She is best known for her refusing to cover up her afro in order to cover the wedding of President Nixon’s daughter Tricia Nixon in 1971. She refused and many of her stories were sidelined as a result. Toliver went on to work at News 12 Long Island and received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Empire State College in 2015.

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NBC/Getty Images

Hoda Kotb just landed the best job in TV when it was announced that she would be taking over the seat left by disgraced former host Matt Lauer. Kotb will co-anchor the Today Show with Savannah Guthrie. They’re the first women-only duo in Today Show history. Congrats Hoda!

3 of 10 Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

With numerous awards and honors under her belt, Soledad O’Brien has been a force to be reckoned with since she started at MSNBC in 1996. A Harvard alum, O’Brien has anchored at NBC, CNN and now as the host of her own show, Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien, on Hearst Television. She is best known for her CNN documentaries Black in America and Latino in America.

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Carole Simpson has been a trailblazer in journalism for over 40 years. In 1975, she became the first Black woman to anchor a major network newscast. Simpson broke the glass ceiling in 1992 when she became the first minority woman to moderate a presidential debate. She has since retired from television and released her autobiography, Newslady in 2010.

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You may know Jayne Kennedy as a model, actress and pageant queen. But did you know that in 1978, she became one of the first women to enter the male-dominated sports world? Kennedy co-anchored The NFL Today and was the only woman to host the series Greatest Sports Legends.

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For over 20 years, Tamron Hall has worked as a broadcast journalist. Her career began in Chicago as a reporter for WFLD-TV before joining MSNBC and NBC News in 2007. When she joined The Today Show in 2014, she was the first Black woman to co-anchor the program. She resigned from NBC and MSNBC in February of 2017. But Hall is working on big things. She hosts Deadline: Crime on the Investigation Discovery channel and she has a show in the works with Hulu called “Tamron’s Hall Pass.”

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In the age of Trump, Joy-Ann Reid has been the voice of reason. Through her show AM Joy on MSNBC, she breaks down all things politics and pop culture. The Harvard University graduate began her career at a south Florida morning show and served as a writer for The Daily Beast, The Miami Herald and The Reid Report. She authored the book Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons, and the Racial Divide in 2015.

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Harris Faulkner is newscaster and host of Fox Report and Outnumbered. She started in journalism as a freelance writer for LA Weekly and worked her way up the broadcasting ladder. Faulkner is a six-time Emmy Award winning recipient.

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Robin Roberts has had a storied career in broadcasting. From a sportscaster at ESPN to the anchor of Good Morning America, Roberts is an award-winning broadcaster. We’ve followed her journey, even when she publicly came out to battle breast cancer and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). Through it all she has anchored the news with grace and dignity.

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Robin Robinson spent 26 years as the weeknight anchor of WFLD’s 9 p.m. newscast in Chicago. Throughout her career, she has won local Emmy awards for her work. While she has retired from evening broadcasting, she can now be heard on WBBM as a fill-in anchor and hosts her own WVON show ‘Robin’s Nest.’

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