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Lottie Joiner

Photo courtesy Lottie Joiner

Photo courtesy Lottie Joiner Photo by Lottie Joiner

The Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University recently announced that Lottie Joiner, editor-in-chief of The Crisis magazine, will be the keynote speaker for its 51st annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Convocation on Friday, Jan. 18.

The Crisis is the official publication for the NAACP. Margaret Walker Alexander, the center’s namesake, published her first poem, "I Want to Write," in The Crisis in 1934.

"When Robert Luckett, the operator of the Margaret Walker Center, contacted me and invited me to speak for the convocation, I was both surprised and honored to be able to do this for my alma mater," Joiner says. "The Crisis is extremely important because of our focus on civil rights and social justice, which Dr. King dedicated his life to. Getting to speak in honor of him is a highlight for me as editor-in-chief."

Joiner was born in Jackson, and attended Callaway High School and Jackson State University, where she graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in mass communications in 1994. While attending JSU, she wrote for the university’s student newspaper, Blue and White Flash, and worked at the WJSU radio station.

After graduation, Joiner went on to The Ohio State University, where she received her master’s degree in journalism in 1995. Her thesis focused on the media’s portrayal of Mississippi.

In 1997, she moved to in Washington, D.C., and served as an associate editor for African American news magazine Emerge until 2000, when the publication shut down. She then went on to the American School Board Journal, where she covered issues surrounding educational equity from 2000 to 2003. She joined The Crisis as a senior editor in 2003 and became editor-in-chief last year.

"I wanted to work for The Crisis because of its civil-rights focus, which is something I’ve been interested in for years," Joiner says. "I've always loved writing essays, as well as reading and writing about different places, and the experiences of the people who live there. I think the best way you can touch people is through the written word."

She particularly likes to write about the experiences and journeys of African Americans, she says.

After receiving her master’s degree in interactive journalism from American University in Washington, D.C., in 2010, she participated in the New York Times Student Journalism Institute program in New Orleans. While there, she spent two weeks finding stories about the African American community in New Orleans. She wrote about a boys' school and an African American-owned hotel that were damaged during Hurricane Katrina, and interviewed survivors on how they were rebuilding.

The Center for Health Journalism at the University of Southern California at Annenberg named Joiner as a National Health Fellow in 2015. She has been published in The Washington Post, Time.com, TheAtlantic.com, Essence, The Daily Beast, and Ebony and Jet magazines. She was also a 2017 diversity fellow for the Fund for Investigative Journalism, in which she collaborated with USA Today for a project on recidivism in the United States.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Convocation will take place at 10 a.m. in the Rose E. McCoy Auditorium on the JSU campus. It is open to the public and free to attend.

Jackson State will also recognize Joiner, along with Charlie Braxton, Grace Sweet, Benjamin Bradley and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, during the 24th annual “For My People” awards luncheon, which will take place in the JSU Student Center Ballroom at 11:45 a.m. Tickets to the luncheon are $20 per person.

For more information, call 601-979-3935 or email mwa@jsums.edu.


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