My People

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From a legendary Emmy Award–winning journalist comes a collection of ground-breaking reportage from across five decades, vividly chronicling the experience of Black life in America yesterday and today.

“Charlayne Hunter-Gault is that rarest of historical figures. . . . The essays collected here affirm her status as one of the most consistently original, insightful, and passionate interpreters of both American and African society, politics, and culture. Her thoughtful reflections, delightfully written and deeply engaging, are a testament both to her unique position in the history of journalism and to her status as an acute and keen commentator, reminding us how and why ‘race matters.’ This book is a must-read for all students of race in our times.”—Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

At just eighteen years old, in January 1961, Charlayne Hunter-Gault made national news when she mounted a successful legal challenge that culminated in her admission to the University of Georgia—making her one of the first two Black students to integrate the institution. As an adult, Charlayne switched from being the subject of news to covering it, becoming one of its most recognized and acclaimed interpreters.

Over more than five decades, this dedicated reporter charted a course through some of the world’s most respected journalistic institutions, including the New Yorker and the New York Times, where she was often the only Black woman in the newsroom. Throughout her storied career, Charlayne has chronicled the lives of Black people in America—shining a light on their experiences and giving a glimpse into their community as never before.

My People showcases Charlayne’s lifelong commitment to reporting on Black people in their totality, “in ways that are recognizable to themselves.” Spanning from the civil rights movement through the election and inauguration of America’s first Black president and beyond, this invaluable collection shows the breadth and nuance of the Black experience through the trials, tragedies, and triumphs of everyday lives.