Arts and Entertainment

Television

What African American woman became an executive in public broadcasting?

Jennifer Karen Lawson (1946–) became executive vice president of programming for the Public Broadcasting Service in Washington, D.C., in 1989. As the highest-ranking black woman to serve in public television, she oversees the creation, promotion, and scheduling of national programming for 330 stations. For the first time, her appointment centralized national program decision-making in one executive. The Civil War, which was aired in 1990 under her administration, drew more than fifty million viewers and became the most-watched show in PBS history. Lawson was born in Fairfield, Alabama, and graduated from Columbia University.



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