Sarasota added a celebrated new resident with the recent arrival of Emmy and Pea-body-Award-winning journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault, 71, and her husband, Ronald, a retired banker. Gault, one of two students who integrated the University of Georgia in the 1960s, has worked at The New Yorker, The New York Times, PBS, NPR and CNN and written several books, including the recent To the Mountaintop: My Journey through the Civil Rights Movement.
As a correspondent and bureau chief in South Africa, she chronicled the stories of people and countries, many of them young democracies. Gault says her experience as “the subject of news” forever shaped her as a journalist. “I’ve wanted to cover interesting people who were not usually covered or not accurately covered,” she says.
She and her husband discovered Sarasota through friends from Martha’s Vineyard. “Our friends call it Vineyard South,” she says, because so many people have homes in both places. Now in the process of winnowing down their belongings to fit their downtown condo (which met their key requirements for a Sarasota home: wall spaces for their art collection, a water view, and a place for each of them to work), the couple is also enjoying Sarasota’s arts scene, from Asolo Rep to Burns Court Cinema.
A frequent speaker and inveterate traveler, Gault recently told young people in Nigeria that the secret to being a good journalist is “having the capacity to get excited about anything and every-thing.” She predicts she’ll find plenty in Sarasota that will excite and involve her.