The first time I saw Abilene, Texas, was from the window of a Greyhound bus arriving from my native Memphis, Tennessee. I stepped off that bus determined to earn a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and to become a broadcast journalist. During my undergraduate studies at Abilene Christian University (ACU), I landed a work-study job in the Maintenance Department.
That is where I first met Ross Blasingame. He is a true leader and a lot of fun to work with. Even after I graduated and moved on with my broadcast journalism career, I kept in touch with Ross through his son, Guy Blasingame. Fast forward to May 2022 when I returned to Abilene to attend the memorial service for Dr. Charlie Marler, my mentor and former media law professor, who died in May 2022.
Dr. Marlar was the person who encouraged me to go back to school to become a historian of African American History. Frankly, during that life-changing phone conversation in December 2020, it was more of an "order" rather than encouragement. In 1993, Dr. Marler selected me to become the first African American and the first woman recipient of ACU's prestigious Gutenberg Award.
While I was in Abilene in May 2022 for that sad event, I pitched a "My Hometown" profile of Ross to Texas Highways magazine. Here is the story.
Read my other Texas Highways work here.
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About the Author:
Regina L. Burns, M.A., Project+, is an award-winning multimedia editor and journalist, specializing in Black history and African American stories at Harvest Reapers Communications. Her work has been published in Texas Highways magazine, WFAA-TV, The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as well as The Commercial Appeal, the Tri-State Defender and The Flyer, among others.