Bertice Berry

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Bertice B. Berry (born 1960) is an American sociologist, author, lecturer, and educator.

Early life and education[edit]

Berry grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, as one of seven children raised by a single mother. The family was poor and her mother struggled with alcoholism. In a 1994 article, Berry reflected on her upbringing and her mother's abusiveness when she was "in one of her frightening stages of drunkenness."[1] Berry ultimately forgave her mother, writing that "her drinking was a way to mask her own pain. I think of the burden she endured as a black woman with few resources for herself or her children."[1]

Despite being told that she should give up on attending college,[2] Berry graduated with a B.A. degree magna cum laude from Jacksonville University in Florida in 1982. She subsequently obtained an M.A. degree in 1986 and a Ph.D. degree in 1988, both in sociology from Kent State University in Ohio.[3] In 1994, she was awarded an honorary D.H.L. degree by Jacksonville University.[4]


After completing her doctorate, Berry taught sociology at Kent State University.[5] In the early 1990s, she left academia to work as an entertainer, lecturer, and comedian. She was the host and co-executive producer of her own nationally syndicated talk show, The Bertice Berry Show, from 1993 to 1994.[2] According to legend, the show's September 1993 debut was delayed by news coverage of the Israel-Palestine peace treaty; when the show finally aired an hour later, Berry quipped "We've got peace, now here's Bertice."[6] Alas, the show never found an audience and production shut down seven months later, in summer 1994.[7]

Besides having her own talk show, Berry has also appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, TEDx Talk, CBS Nightwatch, CNN's Crossfire, and Sonya Live.[8]

She is the author of two memoirs entitled The World According to Me (1996) and I'm On My Way, But Your Foot Is On My Head: A Black Woman's Story of Getting Over Life's Hurdles (1997), as well as several novels. She also wrote The Ties That Bind: A Memoir of Race, Memory and Redemption (2009) about her African American heritage.[9] Berry's self-help book about her weight-loss journey is entitled A Year to Wellness and Other Weight Loss Secrets (2010), and it won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work (Instructional) in 2012.[10]

Berry lives in Savannah, Georgia, where she is the co-owner of Iona's Gallery & Great Finds.[7]


  1. ^ a b "Longview News-Journal from Longview, Texas on September 11, 1994 · Page 96". Retrieved 2017-03-03. 
  2. ^ a b Dance, Daryl Cumber (1998). Hush, Honey: An Anthology of African American Women's Humor. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. p. 621. 
  3. ^ Bertice Berry Biography - website Brief Biographies
  4. ^ Honorary Degrees Awarded - website of the Jacksonville University
  5. ^ Gregory, Deborah (April 1994). "Bertice Berry". Essence. 24: 51 – via EBSCOhost. 
  6. ^ O'Malley, Kathy; Collin, Dorothy (September 14, 1993). "O'Malley & Collin INC.". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 4 March 2017. 
  7. ^ a b "Berry, Bertice". Thomson Gale. 2005. Retrieved 4 March 2017. 
  8. ^ Winslow, Harriet (1994-01-18). "They Get Passing Grades at Talk-Show U". LA Times. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  9. ^ Bertice Berry, The Ties That Bind: A Memoir of Race, Memory and Redemption, Broadway Books, 2009, p. 8.
  10. ^ "NAACP Image Awards 2012: Full list of winners". ABC7 Los Angeles. Retrieved 2017-03-04. 

External links[edit]