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Interviews with news makers and discussion of topics important to Southwest Michigan. Subscribe to the podcast through Apple itunes and Google. Segments of interview are heard in WestSouthwest Brief during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

WSW: Merze Tate Had Many Firsts at WMU and Beyond

Merze Tate in Greece
courtesy of Sonya Bernard Hollins


Sonya Bernard Hollins says she couldn’t shake the name Merze Tate, and has been following it ever since. 

As a reporter for the Kalamazoo Gazette, Bernard Hollins was doing research for a story when she first read about Merze Tate. The more she looked into what Tate accomplished, the more interesting it was. Bernard Hollins is now the editor of Community Voices in Kalamazoo. She spoke with WMUK’s Rebecca Thiele about her upcoming book, The World Through the Lens of Merze Tate. A segment of the interview originally aired on WMUK’s Arts & More.

Merze Tate was the first African-American female Distinguished Alumna from Western Michigan University. Later she would become the first African-American graduate from Oxford and the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard University and Radcliffe College. Bernard Hollins says Tate was always thinking about “the next level.”

During her lifetime, Tate traveled the world, was a journalist, author and representative of the State Department. Asked what’s next for her, Bernard Hollins says she wants to work on research about other African-Americans with interesting stories that aren’t well known. The book The World Through the Lens of Merze Tate will be released in March.

Gordon Evans became WMUK's Content Director in 2019 after more than 20 years as an anchor, host and reporter. A 1990 graduate of Michigan State, he began work at WMUK in 1996.
Rebecca Thiele was an environmental reporter and producer of Arts & More for WMUK. She worked at the station from 2011 to 2019.
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