Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library
Donna Novak Coles Georgia Women's Movement Archives
Carole Ashkinaze was born in Manhattan, New York, on January 20th 1945. Ashkinaze spent her childhood in the suburban town of Malverne, Long Island in Nassau County, approximately twenty miles outside of New York [City]. She attended St. Lawrence University in New York and eventually went on to pursue a master's degree in journalism from Columbia School of Journalism in 1967. After graduating, Ashkinaze worked for a number of newspapers including Newsday in Long Island. But it was her role as reporter and then columnist and editorial board member for the Atlanta Journal Constitution that won her national recognition. Ashkinaze worked for the AJC from 1976 through 1989, eventually moving to the Chicago Sun-Times, working as both a columnist and as a member of the editorial board. In Atlanta, Ashkinaze wrote about a number of controversial issues including the Equal Rights Amendment, abortion, women's rights, feminism, poverty, health-care, politics, education and race. In Chicago, where Ashkinaze was the only pro-choice commentator for any major Chicago news organization, and a member of the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board, her columns won many journalism awards and a large popular following; she was also a popular radio and TV personality, and regular panelist on, ""The Lassiter Group."" Her pro-choice columns in the Sun-Times also made her a target of abortion foes, one of whom sent her several nude pictures of himself, bearing obscene messages. In 1992, following the publication of her 1991 book, The Closing Door: Conservative Policy and Black Opportunity (with Gary Orfield), Ashkinaze left the Sun-Times and returned to Atlanta to work with former President Jimmy Carter on his first domestic policy initiative, The Atlanta Project (later called The America Project), which was an attempt to alleviate the worst aspects of poverty across an entire community. She contributed her services to that project, working pro bono until the following year, when she was named Media Chief of the United Nations Children’s Fund and moved to New York. She later left UNICEF and moved to Washington, D.C. where she worked as a freelance journalist for a number of national publications including Business Week, Horizon, and Moment magazines. After the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington, she became a consultant to the American Civil Liberties Union. Reports she wrote and edited for the ACLU included Civil Liberties After 9/11 (2002), Freedom Under Fire (2003). She also worked with the Communications Consortium Media Center, the Harvard Civil Rights Project, the Fulbright Program and other nonprofits.
Abstract of the full interview
shkinaze discusses her childhood in Long Island, her college experience at St. Lawrence University, and her graduate career at Columbia Gradate School of Journalism. She recalls her early experiences as a reporter at Newsday in Long Island and what it was like working for what she calls a ""hometown"" newspaper. Ashkinaze describes her move to Atlanta, where she was given the opportunity to work for other papers, including a thirteen-year stint at the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. She reflects on her early involvement with the AJC and how she began as a reporter, then worked on features, and finally became a columnist as well as a member of the newspaper's editorial board. As a features reporter, Ashkinaze covered Georgia politics, including the ERA campaign, and she describes in detail the ERA movement in Georgia. In 1989, Ashkinaze left Atlanta for Chicago where she continued covering politics, women's issues, and race.� She regularly wrote about abortion, and as a result, received an abundance of hate mail. Ashkinaze discusses some of the conflicts present within the women's movement, particularly the perception that the women's movement was primarily a ""white woman's cause"" and how potentially damaging that misconception was to the movement.
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Citation of the full interview
Carol Ashkinaze oral history interview, Georgia Women's Movement Oral History Project, W008, Donna Novak Coles Georgia Women's Movement Archives, Special Collections and Archives, University Library, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Ga.
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