Born in Baltimore in the 1950s, Mary C. Curtis grew up in a home that valued education and discussion of current events. Three of her siblings were active in the Civil Rights Movement, and her mother was also politically involved.
“Because I was around all that activity when I was very young and I was very encouraged to take part in those discussions, I feel as though I always was an observer and a journalist, in a way. I liked to observe,” Mary C. said.
Mary C. worked as editor of her high school newspaper before attendingFordham University in New York to major in communication. Early on, she developed an interest in entertainment and lifestyle reporting.
“In the newspapers, I did not see a diversity of people reflected in those stories. You mainly saw African-Americans in stories about social issues or crime or everything like that,” Mary C. said.
“You didn’t see them reflected in areas of universal living, like cooking. We do like to cook. Home. We have families, we have relationships. And I always felt that that was a way where everyone could relate. And I saw that that was missing in journalistic coverage. So that’s something that really, I think, got me involved,” she added.
Throughout her career, Mary C. worked as an editor at The Baltimore Sun, The New York Times, and The Charlotte Observer. She now works as a freelance journalist for outlets such as The Washington Post and WCCB-TV’s News Rising in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Mary C. joined JAWS in 2009 as she was making the transition from newspapers to her own freelance business. She served two years on the JAWS board and continues to see the organization as a great supporter for women.
“Where a lot of journalism groups are kind of going by the wayside or having trouble with membership, it seems like JAWS is just growing stronger and stronger,” Mary C. said. “I think that’s a testament to its history and to the caliber of people and their commitment.”
The oral history interview with Mary C. took place at the JAWS camp in Essex, Vermont on October 27, 2013.
( This interview was conducted by Yong Volz )