Today’s Tribute was written by Dr. Tina L. Ligon, Supervisory Archivist at the National Archives at College Park
“Journalists are accused of being lapdogs when they don’t ask the hard questions, but then accused of being rude when they do. Good thing we have tough hides.” ~ Gwen Ifill
On November 14, 2016, Gwen Ifill passed at the age of 61 in Washington, D. C. She was an award winning journalist and television newscaster, who moderated and reported on a range of topics related politics and social injustices. Several town hall sessions that she recently moderated included “America after Ferguson” in 2014, “America after Charleston” in 2015, and “Voters Choices” with President Barack Obama in 2016. She received numerous awards, which included the Gracie Allen Tribute Award in 2004, the Peabody Award in 2008, and the First Amendment Award in 2011. Also in 2011, Ifill was inducted as an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and in 2012, she was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame.
Born Gwendolyn L. Ifill on September 29, 1955, in New York City, New York, she graduated from Simmons College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. Ifill worked for several newspapers after college, including the Baltimore Evening Sun, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. In 1999, she became a moderator of Washington Week in Review on PBS and became the senior correspondent for PBS NewsHour. Ifill also moderated the 2004 Vice-Presidential debate between Vice President Dick Cheney and Senator John Edwards and again in 2008, between Senator Joe Biden and Governor Sarah Palin.Gwen Ifill has participated in several events at both the John F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter Presidential Libraries and Museums. The National Archives also have images of Ifill in the series Photographs Relating to the Secretary’s Trips, Speeches, and Other Functions, and Agency Officials, Events, and Managed Sites, 2005 – 2009 (National Archives Identifier 7682706), when she attended a fundraising gala for the National Park Foundation’s African American Experience Fund (AAEF).