The PBS NewsHour anchor’s stamp was unveiled today featuring a 2008 photo of Ifill by photographer Robert Severi with her name across the bottom and the words “BLACK HERITAGE” emblazoned on the top.
Ifill was born and raised in New York City and got her start in journalism in the late 80s, according to the Smithsonian. Ifill became known as a political commentator, covering issues concerning affordable housing and eventually becoming the White House correspondent for The New York Times. She eventually took over the PBS NewsHour with co-anchor Judy Woodruff, becoming the first two women to anchor a major news program.
Ifill went on to make history as the first Black woman to moderate the vice-presidential debates. But her success was not without challenges, often encountering racism and intense scrutiny of her work. She once wrote in a blog post for PBS saying, “Everybody thinks they can do your job. Suffice it to say this is as tough a job as I have ever had.”
She also hoped that her strides would help to open the door for more women and women of color in journalism. In 2013, she spoke to The NY Times saying, “When I was a little girl watching programs like this…I would look up and not see anyone who looked like me in any way. No women. No people of color. I’m very keen about the fact that a little girl now, watching the news, when they see me and Judy sitting side by side, it will occur to them that that’s perfectly normal — that it won’t seem like any big breakthrough at all.”
Ifill’s Forever stamp is the 43rd postage stamp in the Black Heritage collection. Over the course of her life she covered 8 presidential campaigns and moderated 2 vice-presidential debates. She worked at the PBS NewsHour for 17 years and was the moderator and managing editor of “Washington Week.” In 2017, her alma mater, Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, honored the late journalist by naming a school after her, the Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts and Humanities.
Sherrilyn Ifill, President & Director-Counsel of LDF (NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund), and the cousin of the legendary journalist expressed her excitement via Twitter saying, “I literally cannot catch my breath! Oh, my beloved Uncle & Aunt, look what your journey has wrought. Gwen is deserving of every honor for her contributions to this country. But this one is special.”
Gwen Ifill passed away in 2016 from cancer at the age of 61. She will forever be an inspiration to us all.
by BOTWC Staff