Pamela Newkirk is an award-winning journalist whose articles have been published in numerous publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, and The Guardian. Her latest book Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga, was published by Harper Collins in June. It was cited as one of the Best Books of 2015 by NPR, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle and The Root, and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work. Newkirk is editor of Letters from Black America (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2009; Beacon Press, 2011), and A Love No Less: More Than Two Centuries of African American Love Letters (Doubleday 2004), and is the author of Within the Veil: Black Journalists, White Media, (NYU Press 2000), which won the National Press Club Award for Media Criticism. Prior to joining the New York University journalism faculty where she is director of undergraduate studies, she worked at four successive news organizations, including New York Newsday where she was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team. She holds an undergraduate journalism degree from New York University and masters’ and doctorate degrees from Columbia University.
What do you do best?
Research and write narratives that illuminate hidden crevices of our present and past.
What makes you the best?
Hard work and perseverance fueled by passion for my work.
What are your aspirations?
To continue to learn and grow as a scholar/writer/journalist and produce work that enlightens and brings us closer to our shared humanity. Most of my work has focused on the African American experience and, more broadly, on the African Disaspora because so much of that history has been under-explored, undervalued or distorted.
Personally, bringing two amazing daughters into the world. Professionally, publishing books and articles that shed light on overlooked aspects of the African African experience. My first book explored the uphill battle of African American journalists to integrate the mainstream American news media, beginning as Civil War correspondents. My second book was a collection of African American love letters which revealed an often under-represented facet of black life. My third was an edited volume of more than two hundred letters written by a wide array of African Americans – from the enslaved to the celebrated -- spanning three centuries. And my most recent book recalls the early years of twentieth century New York and the pernicious racial attitudes embedded in science and popular culture that echo still.
Most Challenging Moment?
Passing an applied regression analysis exam required to earn my doctorate.
The Japanese proverb: "Fall seven times, stand up eight." That and Khalil Gibran's "Work is love made visible."
Too many to cite but mostly all defied the conventions of their day to combat injustice. I'm greatly inspired by the life and work of Ida B. Wells-Barnett
New York City and Luberon Valley, France
I am intrigued by the idea of taking screenwriting classes, learning French and improving my Spanish.