Not a day goes by when I don’t think about my mother, Nancy Bradsher Hamilton, who along with my father taught me so much. My current company, Hamilton Media DC, is an offshoot of Hamilton Productions which my mother co-founded in the early 1980’s. She was the driving force.
Looking back on her life, it’s hard to believe that a young woman raised by a single mother in the small town of Salisbury, NC, “took her shot” and landed in the “bright lights, big city” TV studios of Manhattan. There. she hosted numerous programs. Her pioneering journalism career included raising me and my sister and looking back, I recognize that she epitomized the modern multi-tasker well before that term entered today’s lexicon.
This Women’s History Month, you hear numerous women’s stories about their key influencers, also female. But I dare say, for each successful man, there’s also a woman who inspired his success, too. After all, most men are unabashedly “mama’s boys.” I'm a member of that club.
Nancy Bradsher wrote a diary entry in 1953 when she joined the staff of the woman’s department at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “I was a depression baby born bald September 7, 1929, at Mercy Hospital, Charlotte, North Carolina.” She went on to grow hair and become the Woman’s Club Editor. Back then the only jobs for women in journalism were in the “women’s” departments. Journalism was a male-dominated world. Throughout the years, mom worked as a reporter on the Salisbury Post, The New York Journal American and as a correspondent for The New York Times before co-founding Hamilton Productions and stepping in front of the camera. Mom had the “looks” (and smarts) for TV and thrived in New York City with her sweet-sounding southern drawl.
Most of this was happening during my formidable years. I knew her as “mom." I never gave it a thought about how she did it all – successfully balancing family and career. One of her favorite playwrights was Shakespeare. This Woman’s History Month, I am reminded of one of my mom’s favorite lines from “As You Like It.”
“All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances
And one man in his time plays many parts.”
So, too, one woman in her time can play many parts. My mom proved it as a pioneering journalist… wife…mother…grandmother. For her to play these many parts vindicates Shakespeare. I am enormously proud of all she accomplished and her contribution to women’s equality.