Featured Profile

Janus Adams
Journalist, Historian, Author

Emmy Award-winning journalist, historian, producer, and publisher, Janus Adams is the author of nine books and creator of the award-winning BackPax children's book-and-audio series. Her commentaries are featured on NPR, and her syndicated column is beginning its fourteenth year.

Adams sees her life’s mission as inspiring others with her trademark celebration of “history, heritage, and hope™.” Indeed, she has been engaged by history and cultures since childhood. At 8, she was one of four children selected to break New York’s de facto elementary school segregation in the wake of the Supreme Court’s historic Brown v. Board of Education decision. A classically-trained pianist, she is a graduate New York's "famed" High School of Performing Arts. Her master's degree in Pan-African Culture is considered the nation's first graduate degree in Black Studies.

The mother of twin daughters - both graduates of Spelman College - she launched her publishing career when negative images of race and gender began to taint their lives. BackPax, "publishers to the thinking child," was the result. Since 1986, BackPax has received numerous accolades including the Parents Choice "Gold Seal" Award for innovation in children's media, become the first independent publisher featured by Children's Book-of-the-Month Club, been lauded as a "Best of the Best" by the American Library Association, a USA Today "Best Bet!" and named among the "100 Best Products Ever" by curriculum specialists.

With her groundbreaking "What Do We Tell Our Children?" essays, Adams deepens her commitment to improving the lives of children.

Building on the success of her “Glory Days” trilogy of books, she is currently at work on “Glory Days: A Tradition of Achievement,” a three-part documentary history of African American women for PBS. A founding Board Member of AmistadAmerica, she helped launch the historic replica vessel. A member of the Women’s Media Center’s Advisory Board, committed to increasing the impact of women on the public debate, she has just been named among its “Progressive Women’s Voices.”

A dynamic speaker, Adams has lectured widely throughout the United States to audiences of up to 25,000 people. Her “McDonald’s Presents Glory Days” campaign reached more than 3.1 million reader-diners in the New York region alone. Her work has been featured in such publications as Essence and Ms. magazines, The New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today. A former talk show host and frequent guest, she has appeared on CNN, NPR, and The Today Show.


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