Coming Full Circle: From Jim Crow to Journalism



"Inspiring reading for aspiring journalists and students of civil rights." -- Kirkus Reviews Wanda Smalls Lloyd's Coming Full Circle: From Jim Crow to Journalism--with a foreword by best-selling author Tina McElroy Ansa--is the memoir of an African American woman who grew up privileged and educated in the restricted culture of the American South in the 1950s-1960s. Her path was shaped by segregated social, community, and educational systems, religious and home training, a strong cultural foundation, and early leadership opportunities. Despite Jim Crow laws that affected where she lived, how she was educated, and what civil rights she would be denied, Lloyd grew up to realize her childhood dream of working as a professional journalist. In fact, she would eventually hold some of the nation's highest-ranking newspaper editorial positions and become one of the first African American women to be the top editor of a mainstream daily newspaper. Along the way she helped her newspapers and other media organizations understand how the lack of newsroom and staff diversity interfered with perceptions of accuracy and balance for their audiences. Her memoir is thus a window on the intersection of race, gender, culture and the media's role in our uniquely American experiment in democracy. How Lloyd excelled in a profession where high-ranking African American women were rare is a memorable story that will educate, entertain, and inspire. Coming Full Circle is a self-reflective exploration of the author's life journey from growing up in coastal Savannah, Georgia, to editing roles at seven daily newspapers around the country, and circling back to her retirement in Savannah, where she now teaches journalism to a new generation.

Product Details

$28.95  $26.63
NewSouth Books
Publish Date
February 04, 2020
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About the Author

Wanda Lloyd is a retired newspaper editor and leader in journalism education. As executive editor of the Gannett-owned Montgomery Advertiser, she was the first African American responsible for the news content of that daily newspaper and several weeklies, and she wrote commentary about local issues. In previous Gannett experience, she was a senior editor at USA Today, and then managing editor at the Greenville (S.C.) News. She has also worked as an editor at the Washington Post, Providence Evening Bulletin, Miami Herald, and Atlanta Journal. Most recently she was associate professor/chair of journalism and mass communications at Savannah State University.
She is an alumna and former trustee of Atlanta's Spelman College, which awarded her a 2016 honorary doctorate. She has been a four-time juror for the Pulitzer Prize, co-edited The Edge of Change: Women in the 21st Century Press, and served on the journalism advisory boards at Virginia Commonwealth, Auburn, Alabama State, and Savannah State universities. Her expertise on media diversity led to her role as the founding executive director of the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute at Vanderbilt University. For the National Association of Black Journalists, she directed the landmark study and report Muted Voices: Frustration and Fear in the Newsroom, a survey of black journalists and newsroom managers. The NABJ inducted Lloyd into its Hall of Fame in August of 2019. She has served with the Accrediting Council on Education for Journalism and Mass Communications and is a former director of the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) and was co-editor of the ASNE Bulletin. Lloyd also previously served as a member of the advisory boards of the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund and the Alfred Friendly Press Foundation.


In an era when journalists are often maligned for truth-telling, Coming Full Circle reveals how one woman's inspirational journey was impacted by race, class, and gender, and yet provided the impetus for a stellar career. -- Barbara Bealor Hines, Professor Emerita-Journalism, Howard University
Here is a story of family, discovery, and personal achievement from a time when this nation's racial divide threatened to deny the benefits of each to professional black women. Coming Full Circle: From Jim Crow to Journalism is a good read, full of life lessons from one of this nation's most successful black female journalists and details of the route she took to the pinnacle of her profession. -- DeWayne Wickham, dean and professor of journalism, Morgan State University, and former USA Today columnist
Wanda Lloyd's writing is direct, like the professional journalist she is. Slights, indignities, and prejudices are described with the same candor that recognizes her journalistic triumphs recording civil rights history and everyday breaking news. She's a mom and a mentor who writes and lives with generosity and grace. -- Rexanna Keller Lester, retired Executive Editor, Savannah Morning News
This memoir will inspire young people with big dreams for their own paths in life. -- Cheryl D. Dozier, president, Savannah State University (retired)
An inherently fascinating, candidly informative, and ultimately inspiring life story, Coming Full Circle: From Jim Crow to Journalism is an exceptionally well-written and unreservedly recommended addition to library and supplemental curriculum studies lists. -- Midwest Book Review
A pioneering newspaper editor illuminates the importance of racial diversity in newsrooms and the difficulties of achieving that diversity, especially for black women. In a memoir that runs from her birth in 1949 to 2019, Wanda Lloyd offers hundreds of anecdotes and scenarios about how she managed to ascend to the top spots at major newspapers in an industry dominated by white males. Though Lloyd is not always self-effacing about her accomplishments, it's not bragging if you have done it--and she has done a lot. Inspiring reading for aspiring journalists and students of civil rights. -- Kirkus Reviews
History bears the tracks of excellent black journalists and media leaders who achieved, but those forebears didn't write memoirs to inform, guide, and inspire others. I'm so glad Wanda Lloyd wrote her powerful story. -- Karen B. Dunlap, president emerita, The Poynter Institute
Coming Full Circle is a blueprint for young women of any color wanting to find out how to succeed in the business of newspapers and how to succeed in life. Wanda Lloyd achieved both with intelligence, hard work, and gravitas. -- Carole Simpson, former ABC News anchor and national correspondent
Wanda Lloyd is a consummate storyteller who has always lived a life of purpose devoted to diversity and community. Her memoir is a rich, inspiring tale about race and gender in twenty-first century America. -- Karen Jurgensen, editor, USA Today (retired)
This memoir proves that a successful leader can come from humble beginnings, even beginnings that legally restricted the circumstances of someone who wanted merely to work in a newsroom. -- Richard Prince, columnist,
Coming Full Circle is renowned editor and author Wanda Lloyd's story of the relatives and friends who helped shape her during her formative years, as well as the story of those of us who benefited from her hiring, mentorship, and leadership practices. In garnering the courage to follow her dreams and pursue a career that seemed out of reach due to racial and gender barriers, she helped many others see themselves in those roles, and gave us hope that our dreams could come full circle, too. Brava to Lloyd for penning a memoir that vividly recounts how the sophisticated Southern upbringing of one African American young lady helped shape the course of excellence and diversity in journalism across this nation for several decades. -- Stacy Hawkins Adams, author and journalist
Wanda Lloyd's memoir is a down-memory-lane retrospective that walks us through the harrowing times of separate but not equal 'racial brokenness.' Coming Full Circle displays Lloyd's talents as a gifted journalist. -- Mary Schmidt Campbell, president, Spelman College
Coming Full Circle is an important work about journalism, about courage and overcoming challenges, and about building diversity and bringing others along. -- Phil Currie, retired senior vice president of news, Gannett