Trailblazer by Dorothy Butler Gilliam


Dorothy Butler Gilliam, whose 50-year-career as a journalist put her in the forefront of the fight for social justice, offers a comprehensive view of racial relations and the media in the U.S. Most civil rights victories are achieved behind the scenes, and this riveting, beautifully written memoir by a "black first" looks back with searing insight on the decades of struggle, friendship, courage, humor and savvy that secured what seems commonpla...

Details Trailblazer

Release DateJan 8th, 2019
PublisherCenter Street
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, History, Feminism, Writing, Journalism, Biography

Reviews Trailblazer

  • Sharon
    I am always surprised when I read about a "first" these days ... first black female neurosurgeon candidate was the most recent (never mind that we're so far from parity/equality that it's absurd that these things still happen). Dorothy Butler Gilliam was also a "first" - the first black female reporter at the Washington Post. Having come from covering the Little Rock Nine for one of the country's leading black newspapers, she brought with her a l...
  • Corrie
    There are some really interesting moments here, but the delivery was too "oral history" for my attention span's literary snobbery. There were also name dropping sections and repetitive sections I skipped over.
  • Sarah
    This book is the story of the first black woman to work as a journalist at the Washington Post. And what a story it is--the first section of the book is riveting, 5-star stuff, as Gilliam recounts her early days at the Post and her experiences reporting on the civil rights movement. Her experience in the segregated south at a time of such intense tension is harrowing, and both the atrocities and bravery she witnessed make for a very engaging stor...
  • Scott
    Another super important book about the work being done to improve diversity in journalism and the people we owe a debt of gratitude.
  • Marilyn Shea
    The author, Dorothy Butler Gilliam, tells the story of her career as a black female journalist at a time when there were few women journalists and really no black females in the field. She seemed to know even as a teenager what she wanted to do and despite the many barriers to her in performing her job, she was tenacious and focused and ultimately succeeded in making a path for other people of color to follow. She must have an eidetic memory or a...
  • Sugarpuss
    WOW! What a life Ms Gilliam has lead. The descriptions of her early days on the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement are gripping. Imagine, three weeks into a new job & you are thrusted into one of the most memorable events in our history. The courage it took to go to Little Rock after seeing your boss being beaten on national television is just jaw-dropping. Wow.However.... The book does slow down once Ms Gilliam goes into her years as a Style...
  • Madlyn
    Dorothy Butler Gilliam’s book was captivating to me as I kept reading about all of her life struggles with her job, husband,and peers at the workplace and not to mention how she faced them head on. And I was excited to learn about her accomplishments in helping change the mindset through her writing about the civil rights movement, feminism, and a flawed diversity in the workplace. Learning about how passionate Ms. Gilliam was about her work as...
  • Cat
    I was really excited to read this because the description sounded interesting and I was intrigued by Ms. Gilliam's life, but I had a tough time finishing this book. She told some good stories in the beginning of the book, but she started losing me in the middle with her story telling style. It felt like she was jumping back and forth in time and telling the same story multiple times from different angles. There were a lot of sections where she se...
  • Ruby
    "As an accomplished woman with a graduate degree to face such daily slights, I felt not only pained but "less than," "inferior," "not good enough"-not for what I did or did not do, but simply because of who I was.""Controlling my temper, I made a mental note that I would someday find a way to fight against such arrogance, ignorance, and white supremacy.""Most of my classmates were products of Western society and Western triumphalism, were studyin...
  • Meghna
    Very intriguing story. Drags a little in the middle but well worth the read
  • Sheilah Smith
    I found Dorothy Butler Gilliam’s memoir Trailblazer to be a great read! It was another read that informed me what it is like to be the first and black in a career pre and post civil rights in this country. As was the case with Ms. Gilliam being the first back female reporter at the Washington Post. Being a Southerner I am familiar with so much that occurred that paved the way for people of color to walk through previously closed doors so I real...
  • SundayAtDusk
    Growing up in the South during the Jim Crow era, certainly left Dorothy Butler Gilliam well aware of what it was like to be considered a second-class citizen. Her family, church and community, however, left her well aware that she was loved, was a valuable person, and could succeed in life. Add to that Mrs. Gilliam's burning ambition, and you have a woman who started knocking down barriers in the field of journalism, beginning in the 1960s. After...
  • Nancy
    A compelling story written by a fine journalist. Dorothy Butler Gilliam's life and career spanned so many pivotal moments of revolution. Her spare story telling lacked emotional vibrance, but I read more fiction than memoirs. Her experiences in faith and community could have been more layered. I felt held at arms length throughout the entire book. It's interesting that Gilliam mentions the movie Waiting to Exhale. There is a quality of held breat...
  • R.E. Conary
    Dorothy Butler Gilliam’s memoir is not a straightforward narrative. It wanders back and forth in time and space as each chapter recalls a compelling aspect of her life and the world around her. She writes a personal history of being black and a woman as both a reporter and as one affected by the attitudes and incidents of the times. Her stories can be sad, uplifting, harrowing and amusing. It’s a good look at how much things have changed, but...
  • Rod Van Meter
    An amazing set of stories by one of the, shall we say, trailblazing, African-American women journalists. Gilliam spent most of her career at the Washington Post and saw and did it all.Somewhat surprisingly for a former print reporter, the writing is sometimes a little rambling or not quite as tight as it could be, even repetitive in places. It reads like she told the many stories to someone else who put the book itself together.But those flaws ar...
  • Ken
    Having witnessed the civil rights movement firsthand Dorothy Butler Gilliam's novel shows one woman's strength and perseverance during America's continued ethnocentrism is extremely informative. While I've seen 180-degree changes in numerous areas, I find the overall movement of racial inequality has been stymied by the current presidential administration and policies that have set the progress backward. Dorothy represents everything good in a hu...
  • Maxine
    Forging through the timesMs. Gilliam shares her experience as the first African American woman in the newspaper business at the Washington Post. She accurately overlays the many changes in the American society for African Americans. Ms. Gilliam acknowledges the many people who supported her during her career and offers other supports in her life which brought her peace and joy.
  • Mary
    An insightful and informative memoir about what it was like to come of age as a black woman in the newsrooms during the Civil Rights Era and her fight to give people of color a voice in journalism. Dorothy Butler Giilliam fought for her place at the table and in doing so, set a place for many others.
  • Lesa
    If you are interested in media, in particular print journalism this is an interesting story of Dorothy Gilliam's career and her evolution as a pioneer in the media for diversity. I enjoyed the narrative a great deal, appreciated some othe personal elements of her story she included . If you are not interested in the topic you will not enjoy this book.
  • Lisa D.
    Trailblazer is one of the most informative memoirs by a Black journalist that I've read over the years. I appreciated Ms Gilliam sharing her story of breaking barriers, overcoming obstacles both professional and personal. It is because of journalists like her that I became a journalist in my hometown, Gary, IN.
  • Madge
    I enjoyed this book after seeing her interviewed on The Daily Show. What an amazing life she has led -a lot of firsts in the journalistic world. Not to mention she also was exposed to the art world through her husband.
  • Carol
    I liked this book, which is a memoir by the first black female reporter at the Washington Post. She lived through many interesting times and events, and really was a trailblazer. But although it was interesting, I didn’t feel like she did her own story justice. It doesn’t grab you.
  • Felicia Moore
    This book reminds me just how important the black media is. Gilliam's journey through her career takes you into important historic events. I liked this book and would this book to those who like history or journalism.
  • Jo-jean Keller
    I am thankful for Dorothy Butler Gilliam's achievements and memories. She opened my eyes to a different way of seeing and experiencing that I had seen from a different perspective.
  • Marcea
    3.5 stars. Very interesting but irritatingly repetitive throughout the book.
  • Carol
    Please see my review on Amazon. com under C. Wong. Thank you,
  • Kara Merry
    Tells one story of a powerful Black woman