Author’s Showcase to kick-off student chapter here at Morgan State

by Maliik Obee, Staff Writer

Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism & Communication hosts “Authors Showcase,” a collaborative effort of the SGJC and the Women’s National Book Association, to kick-off a student chapter of WNBA at Morgan.

During the event three prolific black female authors will come together at the school from 5-8 p.m. These three women are authors Sonja D. Williams, Marja Lee Freeman and Valerie Graves.

Graves is a successful, seasoned black marketing and advertising specialist with over three decades of experience. Born in Pontiac, Michigan, Graves didn’t allow being a mother at a young age to halt her dreams.

“While it’s a life-changing event to have a child, it doesn’t have to be a life-defining event,” said Graves.

After graduating from Wayne State University in 1974, Graves’ dabbled in copywriting for several years, before moving to New York City to work for Uniworld Group. Graves has been a force in the ad industry, overcoming being a black woman in a male, Caucasian-dominated industry. Graves has worked with several Fortune 500 companies, as well as being a 15-time recipient of the Creative Excellence to Black Audiences Award. From doing ads for the likes of Coors beer and Kraft Foods, to writing her own book, Graves refuses to settle for less.

At the Authors Showcase, Graves will discuss the story behind “Pressure Makes Diamonds: Becoming The Woman I Pretended To Be,” which hit stores and bookshelves on Nov. 1.

Aside from writing, Graves became the creative consultant for the National Basketball Association, of which she is a huge fan – especially of the New York Knicks.

“I’m a Carmelo fan, I don’t think people have given Carmelo enough credit for his growth.”

Freeman, a.k.a the “Employment Lady” is a renowned Public Speaker and author of the book “Career Building: How to Stand Out, Get Ahead & Get Noticed!”

 Freeman has been working as a public speaker and independent contractor for nearly two decades.

“I was doing some volunteering work at one of the shelters in Washington D.C. and people could not remember my name or pronounce my name, so they would say the ‘employment lady’.”

From there, Freeman got the moniker trademarked, and developed a career in speaker after joining a Toastmasters group where she learned to hone her skills. From her first job at Chuck E. Cheese, to present day, where she tours nationally and internationally, Freeman remains focused. She is looking to bring her knowledge and experience to Morgan State to help other young ladies and gentleman who want to make a difference.

“Coming to Morgan means the world, the people that are going to be there all have esteem in terms of why they are here,” said Freeman. “The fact that I can bring my knowledge to them is the reason that I do what I do.”

Williams dons many professional hats, including author, journalist and professor at Howard University. Williams worked as a producer for publications like National Public Radio and the Smithsonian Institute. Williams has worked in education for more than three decades, dating back to her start at Edward Waters College in Jacksonville. Williams comes to Morgan to promote her book “Word Warrior: Richard Durham, Radio and Freedom.” The book serves as the biography of the late author and radio host, who was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2007.

The event is free and open to the public.

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