Marcia Ann Gillespie

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Marcia Ann Gillespie "is a trailblazer in the magazine industry, a leader in the women's movement, a champion of gender of racial justice. A provocative writer and thinker, hers has been a consistent eloquent voice affirming the human potential for good, challenging inequality, pushing herself and others to hope, dare and strive for a better world. She is the author of Maya Angelou, A life Celebration, an authorized biography to be published by Random House in 2007 and is currently writing a memoir. Gillespie is also the current Professor of Diversity in Residence for the Johnetta B. Cole Global Diversity and Inclusion Institute at Bennett College.

"She has been a driving force behind two of this nation's most important women's magazines, as the editor in chief of Essence from 1971-1980 and most recently as the editor in chief of Ms. from 1993-2001. Named the Editor in Chief of Essence at the age of 26, Gillespie quickly proved her mettle by rapidly transforming the then fledgling publication into one of the fastest growing women's magazines in the United States. During her tenure (1971-1980), Essence became a trusted source of inspiration, information and affirmation for millions of African American women and won a National Magazine Award the industry's most prestigious honor. A vice-president of Essence Communications, Inc. and a member of the board of directors, Gillespie was named "One of the Fifty Faces for America's Future" by Time magazine. Her association with Ms. dates back to 1980 when she became a contributing editor. She then went on to become a featured columnist and the executive editor before being named the top editor in 1993. Under her leadership the magazine reached an ever more diverse readership, attracting increasing numbers of younger women to the fold. In addition to her role as editor in chief, Gillespie was named the President of Liberty Media for Women, a limited liability corporation comprised of women investors that purchased the magazine in November 1998 and successfully relaunched the publication in March 1999. To further secure the publication's future, she helped negotiate the magazine's transfer to the Feminist Majority Foundation and officially turned the reins over in 2001...

"An award winning writer, Gillespie has also received a number of awards from professional and civic organizations including the Matrix award from New York Women in Communication, and the Mary MacLeod Bethune award from the National Council of Negro Women. Awarded a Doctor of Letters by her alma mater, Lake Forest College, she is also a recipient of the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism, from the University Of Missouri School Of Journalism. Gillespie serves on the Board of Advocates of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and on the Board of Directors for the New Federal Theater in New York City.“ [1]

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