Detroit Black History Makers - Beverly Payne

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Featured Detroit Black History Maker: Beverly Payne

Photo of Beverly Pane

In 1973, Beverly Payne joined WJBK TV-2 as a co-host and producer of the acclaimed Focus: Detroit, a public affairs program.  Following her success as a program co-host, in 1977, she co-anchored the morning news and later became the first Black woman in Detroit to become a lead anchor of a network news program.  At the time, she was one of only four Black women in the country to anchor a weeknight newscast, a role she held for 13 years.

Through her hard work dedication and singleness of purpose, she provided the people Detroit with up-to-the-minute news about the city that was her home. She showed tremendous dedication to bringing awareness to critical issues and events that affected her fellow Detroiters.

A native of San Francisco, she received her bachelor’s degree from the University of San Francisco, where she majored in English and foreign languages. It was in Tokyo, Japan in 1969, that Ms. Payne began, what would prove to be, a trailblazing career in television.  In Japan, she was the first Black woman to appear in commercials on Japanese television, as well as to co-host the Tokyo 11 pm news, while also teaching English to Japanese students and businessmen.

Ms. Payne, a pioneer in Detroit television, passed away November 12, 1999 at age 54.  She is remembered and often cited as the inspiration for many of today’s Black journalists.

(source: State of Michigan Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 143)