Presidential Diarist to Speak at ATU February 12

Janis F. Kearney
Janis F. Kearney

Janis F. Kearney, author of “Only on Sundays: Mahalia Jackson’s Long Journey,” will be the February 2024 speaker for the Second Monday Author Series at Arkansas Tech University.

Kearney will speak at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 12, in Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center room 300, 305 West Q Street in Russellville. Admission will be free and open to the public.

A native of Gould in southeast Arkansas, Kearney earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism at the University of Arkansas and embarked upon a public service career that included nine years as a project manager and public affairs director in Arkansas state government.

After working along side civil rights pioneer Daisy L. Gatson Bates as managing editor for the Arkansas State Press newspaper, Kearney purchased the publication and became its publisher upon Bates’ retirement in 1988.

Kearney served in the administration of U.S. President Bill Clinton from 1993-2001. She fulfilled the roles of media affairs office staff member and director of communications for the U.S. Small Business Administration before her appointment in 1995 as the first personal diarist to a U.S. president. She continued in that role through June 2001.

Harvard University selected Kearney for a two-year fellowship at the W.E.B. DuBois Institute of African and African American Studies in 2001. She went on to co-found Writing our World Publishing in 2003 and has written or co-written 17 books.

Kearney’s latest book, “Only on Sundays: Mahalia Jackson’s Long Journey” was published in November 2022. The biography recalls Jackson’s life and times as a 20th century gospel singer who sold approximately 22 million records and was a participant in the civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

For more information about the ATU Second Monday Author Series, contact Luke Heffley at (479) 964-0546.