Hoosier Memory Makers recognizes broadcaster Barbara Boyd for Black History Month

Boyd was Indiana's 1st black female TV reporter

INDIANAPOLIS - For 25 years, Barbara Boyd was up for the challenge of working in Indianapolis news media.

"News was a challenge. Every day you learn something different," Boyd said. "Every day, it was exciting to me because not one day was the same."

 The challenge didn't slow Boyd down.

"I thoroughly enjoyed it. I mean, I couldn't wait to get to work."

Boyd is a broadcasting pioneer. In 1969, she began her career at Channel 6 as the first black female TV newscaster in Indianapolis and one of few women on TV news at the time.

"At the time, I did not realize I was making history," Boyd said. "I mean, I was just so glad to be there."

The color of her skin presented no problems among her peers, but there were others not so accepting of a black reporter. 

"When I first went out in the field and I went to my first news conference, they gave the news release to the photographer… Passed me right by."

Bold with a big personality, Boyd said nothing -- not even hints of racism -- kept her from a story.

"When you interview someone, you always find a common bond.. I always try to," Boyd said. "When I'm talking to a mother, we got mother things to talk about. Grandmother, we got grandmother things to talk about or wife things to talk about."

In her Indianapolis home, she's surrounded with family photos and numerous awards. Her contributions are duly noted.

One groundbreaking milestone in her career came in 1973, when she decided to take what could have been a private battle with breast cancer, public.

"I think that's the one story that, you know, if Barbara had any kind of success at all in television, I think, that story is the one that put me over," she said.

From her hospital bed, recovering a mastectomy, Boyd did a report on breast cancer, and viewers responded to the story in a big way. 

"And I'm telling you, we had calls out of the wazoo," Boyd said. "We must have had hundreds of calls at that station, and people were calling saying, you know, my mom had it, my aunt had it, we just never really talked about it. And this story sort of made people aware, made them feel they could talk about breast cancer."

Boyd said she is still feeling the impact of that report.

"Well people, even today, come up -- 'I remember when you did that a couple of years ago.' I'm like, 'Honey, it's been 40 years ago. It ain't a couple of years ago."

In 1994, Boyd retired from news but didn't slow down one bit.

She's on the move, in her early 80's, doing Zumba, Wii Fit. She's even been in a couple of movies. She's on numerous community boards and she's still reaching for goals.

"The only thing I haven't done is a national commercial, and I'm going to get that," she said.

Her strong will is part of what makes Boyd a survivor, through breast cancer, a house explosion, the passing of her husband.

"I always say from adversity some good things can come, and from each one of my crises some good things have come. We blew up the house… good thing about it, we weren't in it. Breast cancer, we got it all, and from that we spread the word around the country about awareness."

In 2000, Boyd became the first African-American female to be inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame, and the legendary broadcaster is still living up to the famous words she often used closing a story.

"You have a great life, and stay on top of the world."

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