Ethel Payne, born on August 14, 1911, was a revolutionary journalist who was the first African-American woman to become a radio and television commentator for a national news network.

Payne is known for her fearlessness in her journalism. She reported on topics not normally covered and asked questions that no one else dared to ask. She covered events such as the Civil Rights Movement, Brown vs. Board of Education, the Korean War and the treatment of African American troops.

Payne appeared on CBS as the first African-American woman radio and television commentator in 1970 where she went on to work for CBS from 1972-1982.

She is known as the “First Lady of the Black Press” and revolutionized the field of journalism for African-American women.

To learn more about Ethel Payne, check out her biography from the National Women’s History Museum.

  • Ethel Payne, correspondent for the Chicago Defender, in Shanghai, China – Library of Congress
  • Ethel Payne greeting President Lyndon B. Johnson – Anacostia Community Archives, Smithsonian Institution
  • Ethel L. Payne stamp – United States Postal Service, Smithsonian Institution
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