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About Melba

I hope your visits to my website will leave you feeling like you’ve spent quality time with a friend.  One who has been around a while and usually brings the past and the present together in her thinking and writing.  One who believes that if you look closely enough you’ll always find connections between people, places and things. A friend who is thrilled to explore those connections and to experience the mystery of  life’s “accidents.”  Welcome!

Melba Tolliver is a distinguished journalist, writer and journalism teacher. 

In April, 1967, when on-air personnel at the 3 broadcast networks went on strike, ABC News executives tapped Tolliver to substitute for Marlene Sanders, anchor of  “News With The Woman’s Touch.” Thus, Tolliver became the first black person ever to anchor a network news program. 

For nearly 3 decades, Tolliver reported and/or anchored news at WABC-TV, WNBC-TV, News 12 Long Island and the Food Channel, in addition to writing for USA Today, Good Housekeeping, Black Sports and other magazines and newspapers.  Her assignments have included special reporter for  the groundbreaking Women’s Conference in Houston, the first breast cancer conference at the White House and the Academy Awards the year Princess Shasheen Little Feather, a native American,  stepped up to accept the Oscar for Marlon Brando.

She was also host  and reporter for  the ABC Network series, “Americans All”, the WABC Eyewitness News series “Profiles”, “People, Places and Things” and  “Consciousness Rising”, and  writer/producer of “Gordon Parks:Man For All Seasons” for the WABC public affairs program, “Like It Is”. At WNBC, Tolliver created and  hosted the public affairs program “Meet The People.” 

Tolliver’s contribution to broadcasting includes a morning show, news and entertainment specials, feature and public affairs programs, sports, political conventions, elections, town hall meetings, celebrity and interesting people profiles and documentaries. 

Tolliver’s academic work includes writer-in residence at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn; adjunct instructor in journalism at the College of Old Westbury, Long Island, NY; and Howard R. Marsh Visiting Professor of Journalism at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

Tolliver holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Empire State College of the State University of New York and a nursing diploma from New York University-Bellevue, NYC. 


An honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Molloy College, Long Island, NY; a political reporting award from Lincoln University; a Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York Association of Black Journalists, the John B. Russwurm Award from the New York City Urban League, the Matrix Award from New York Women in Communications, and a National Endowment of the Humanities Fellowship to the University of Michigan are among her many honors.  

Tolliver has served on the boards of the Susan G. Komen  Race for the Cure in New York,  the Empire State College Foundation, and the Institute for Student Achievement advisory board.. 

A longtime resident of Ft. Greene, Brooklyn, Tolliver moved to Lower Mt. Bethel Township, PA  in 1994 and is currently at work on her memoir, Äccidental Anchorwoman: Chance, Choice and Change.”