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CIVIL RIGHTS BABY, by Nita A. Wiggins
A memoir written by a fascinating, fact-seeking Black woman who broke into the male-dominated world of sports broadcasting at a time when few women did so...and who brought to the battle a head full of careful research and strategic thinking. Click on the book cover to order your copy today.
Texas Tomboy or Georgia Peach?
Above: The author in March and May, 2018.
Janet Marie Walker loves the wide open spaces of Texas as much as she loves the meadows and magnolias of Georgia. Born in one state and raised in the other, she is the fifth of eight children belonging to William and Marie Walker (of Jacksonville, Florida, and Charleston, South Carolina, respectively). As a youth, Ms. Walker enjoyed reading novels, playing sports, visiting the public library, and studying the Bible literature of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
After graduating from high school in Augusta, Georgia, Ms. Walker held jobs as newspaper reporter and copy editor, TV associate producer, intern for a New York City publishing house, UPS package handler, and cross-country truck driver. She once struggled as a welfare mother and worked one summer as a janitor on the housekeeping staff at the Cable News Network (CNN) headquarters in Atlanta.
Ms. Walker studied communications and creative writing at Augusta State University, where she received the Walter Wiggins-James Lott Communications Scholarship, the Samantha Dawes Wich Scholarship for Creative Writing, and the Will Shingleton Creative Writing Scholarship. At Georgia State University in Atlanta, she studied rhetoric and composition, as well as African American Studies, and performed literary research as a Ronald McNair Scholar.
In 1991, before college, Ms. Walker became founding editor of Candace (kan-DAY-see), a regional feminism-and-fashion magazine patterned after Essence and the first publication of its kind in the Augusta area. (Because of financial difficulties, the magazine lasted only briefly.) In 1994, she received top guest-editorial spot in The New York Amsterdam News for a racial analysis of Disney’s movie The Lion King, and her feminist critique, “The Disney Girl,” appeared in the St. Martin’s Press college text The Great American Bologna Festival and other Student Essays, 1994-1996 editions. For two years, she wrote fictional stories about the Imani doll for Olmec Toys, a company founded by businesswoman Yla Eason and once the nation's largest producer of ethnic dolls. The stories were designed into booklets that sold with the dolls.
Ms. Walker is the author of the three-book e-novel Amazed by her Grace, first released on December 12, 2012, and revised and re-published in final version in 2015; Desire of Ovid's Mother, a stage play released as an e-book in 2013 and again in 2015; and an adult novel published in 2010 under a pseudonym. She has published 100 newspaper articles and editorials in local newspapers, including an interview with one of her favorite writers, novelist Gloria Naylor, and has published a book of social commentary. She has transcribed her 28-year private diary into 14 small books, yet to be published.
The themes that drive Ms. Walker's fiction are social taboos, the power of religion, class differences among African Americans, and the complex nature of female sexuality. Her ultimate dream has long been to walk into a public library and find her works traditionally published and wedged between those of Alice and Margaret Walker.
Ms. Walker resides in Atlanta, where she markets her fiction and collaborates with her business partner on writing projects. She has a son named Chad Niger (wrestler Chad "Sky" Walker, pictured below) .
The Fiction Writer
Chad "Sky" Walker
Commas and coffee. At breakfast before a conference in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, in May 2018, Walker, a grammar editor as well as a creative writer (the two often don't exist in the same body), looks over the manuscript for a memoir penned by Paris professor, international speaker and trailblazing American broadcaster Nita Wiggins. Like Ms. Walker, Ms. Wiggins grew up in Augusta, Georgia, but the two did not know each other. The manuscript has become the bookCivil Rights Baby: My Story of Race, Sports, and Breaking Barriers in American Journalism, published by Casa-Express (Paris, 2019) .
The Grammar Editor
Walker's Thoughts About Sexuality and Christianity
“I believe that humans are born with natures that conflict with God's original design. However, that gives us no excuse to pursue our own courses. We are still accountable to Him for every decision we make, including those based on sexual desire and orientation. The main characters in my fiction are attractive and fascinating old-school women whose lives reflect this private battle. Just as do characters in the Bible, some of my people make godly choices and some do not—which results in plots I hope readers will find intriguing.” -- Article by TTBAgency
Until recently, Janet Walker lived two very different lives.
At home in metro Atlanta's southwest Fulton County, she spends time behind a computer, editing for herself and others—that is, when she is not accompanying her beloved godmother and housemate to an elegant sorority function or on a shopping trip to Neiman Marcus (the g-mother's favorite place).
But for years, Janet enjoyed another identity as a freight hauler, angling a tractor-trailer across the country and tramping through mud and snow—along with brave, scruffy, he-men truck drivers who were eager to share with her (tall) tales and gentlemanly manners.
"I've always been a tomboy," she explains. "I used to play TV cowboys with my brother Sidney. We loved 'The Big Valley.' I think truck drivers--the real ones, the men who understand engines and wear boots--are the closest thing we have today to cowboys, not counting the real ones who work for ranches.
"Some part of me must have wanted to be one of the Barkley men on 'The Big Valley,'" she says in a laugh, "because I often thought of myself as a cowgirl when I was driving around the country, and I felt most at home in places like Texas, Montana and Wyoming--the Old West." -- Article by TTBAgency