Deborah Douglas is an award-winning journalist, cultural critic, and thought leader specializing in African-American history and politics, particularly the American South and the Great Migration.
Deborah lives in Chicago, where she was born, but is a self-described product of the Great Migration: she started school in post-riot Detroit and came of age of Memphis. After graduating from Northwestern, she traveled the country as a reporter, eventually landing in Jackson, Mississippi. She’s taught best practices to journalists in Karachi, Pakistan, taught in South Africa twice, studied HIV and malaria prevention in Tanzania, and traveled to Kenya, Tunisia, and Senegal, among many others. She’s currently the Eugene S. Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Professor at DePauw University, where she is creating courses to show student-journalists how to center marginalized voices in their work.
She serves as the managing editor of MLK50: Justice Through Journalism, a reporting project examining the economic realities of Memphis, Tennessee, 50+ years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated there. Previously, she led the Chicago Sun-Times newsroom, served as an adjunct lecturer at Medill, and has contributed to VICE, Time, Pacific Standard, American Prospect, The Grio and The (NAACP) Crisis magazine. In her career, she’s had the honor of speaking with civil rights icons including Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Dr. Bernice King, and Rev. Martin King III. She has been recognized for her work by Oprah magazine, the New York Times, and the Chicago Journalists Association.