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She Was Oprah Before Oprah

Black Women in the News

She Was Oprah Before Oprah

By Maya S. Cade via

Alice Travis might not be a familiar name now, but in the late 1970s she became the first Black woman to host a nationally syndicated talk show.

Alice Travis was a seasoned reporter when she auditioned in 1975 for the ABC show that would become “Good Morning America.”

Travis, who was then 32, had already co-hosted two major-market news shows: “Panorama” (alongside Maury Povich), in Washington D.C., and “AM New York.” The Black-owned weekly newspaper New York Amsterdam News once described her as “one of the brightest and brainiest of the undiscovered teevee personalities.”

So she was unprepared for what she said a network executive told her after the audition. “‘Quite frankly your color is not to your advantage,’” Travis recounted over lunch in Manhattan this past summer. “Shocking statements, but after a while they no longer shocked.”

Travis was among the first wave of Black television newswomen hired nationwide, part of an early effort to diversify American newsrooms in the wake of the protests and racial conflicts of the…

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I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

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