Delores Handy-Brown

Reporter | Class of 2009

Delores Handy-Brown has made a name for herself as an award-winning African-American journalist, reporter, and news anchor. In over four decades, she has won four Emmy awards for her television work in Washington, D.C., and Boston, Massachusetts.

Delores Handy was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, on April 7, 1947, to the Reverend George G. Handy, Sr., and Myrtle Handy. She is the oldest of fourteen children—nine girls and five boys. George Handy, Sr., pastored a Baptist church in North Little Rock.

Handy attended Horace Mann High School. Her interests included flag football and track and field. She graduated in 1965 and began college in the fall at Little Rock University, now the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She graduated in 1969. After graduation she worked for KAAY-AM 1090 in Little Rock under the pseudonym Mary Donald. Handy’s interest in athletics in school carried over to her career. She was an Arkansas Travelers baseball fan and attended games often. She learned how to keep game records and spent time being mentored by Arkansas Gazette sports editor Orville Henry, Gazette sportswriter Jim Bailey, and local broadcaster Jim Elder.

Handy also worked in media markets in Memphis, Tennessee; Los Angeles, California; and Washington, D.C. In 1976, she joined WJLA-TV in Washington as a co-anchor with David Schoumacher. Then, in January 1978, Handy was abruptly fired from the station, and her contract was not renewed. Her termination became a social and political issue between the District of Columbia City Council and WJLA-TV news director Sam Zelman. Amid allegations that Handy and Schoumacher frequently quarreled, additional concerns included on-air time, billing, story assignments, and salaries. Handy, twenty-nine at the time, was likely making significantly less than Schoumacher’s $150,000 annual salary. Her termination came at a time when council members were fighting for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and an increase in employment-based affirmative action, while the station was involved in a corporate ownership transfer. Hundreds of phone calls and letters were sent to city council members and the station. The story was picked up later in the year by Ebony magazine after Handy had been hired by an independent news outlet in the city. Simone Booker, Ebony’s Washington bureau chief, urged the city’s majority-black population to control the media and wield the power of reporting by turning their television dials to Handy’s new station.

Handy moved to Boston in 1982 to work at WQTV Channel 7. She also worked as a producer, anchor, and host for WGBH 2 and WHDH 68. Boston University purchased WGBH in 1993 and changed the call letters to WABU. On February 14, 1994, Handy became one of two principal anchors on the station’s Newsbreak 68, a two-minute news update airing at the top of the hour five days a week between noon and 11:00 p.m. In recent years, Handy has served as an anchor for CNN’s Headline News. She also anchored for the Christian Science Church’s televised Monitor Channel, which closed in 1992. She most recently worked as an anchor and journalist for WBUR, National Public Radio in Boston, and for Boston University’s World of Ideas. Programming includes university faculty, staff, and community discussion of academic issues, current and relevant topics, events, and national and international politics.

The Washington Press Club named her Journalist of the Year in 1977. After twenty-five years of service, she was inducted into the Southeast Chapter’s Silver Circle of the National Academy of Television, Arts, and Sciences. The Museum of African-American History in Massachusetts honored her as one of 350 people who embody the spirit of black presence. She also won the New York International Film Festival’s Award for Documentaries. She has served on the board of directors for Project Step.

Handy is married to Larry Brown, a retired Boston police officer. They have a son and daughter and live in the Boston area. Handy is a cousin to the Reverend Doctor Jesse Brown and a descendant of blues music pioneer W. C. Handy.

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