Kate Ellis has co-produced an array of award-winning documentaries for American RadioWorks since joining the unit in 2001. Kate came to ARW with extensive expertise in American race relations. The first program she worked on, Remembering Jim Crow, featured her doctoral research on white and African American memories of segregation.
Ellis has since co-produced programs including: Say It Plain: A Century of Great African American Speeches, Thurgood Marshall Before the Court, and The President Calling, a program about the secretly taped phone conversations of presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. Along with Stephen Smith (also a Katrina Media Fellow), Ellis edited the book/CD set Say It Plain, an anthology of great African American speeches of the 20th century.
Ellis holds a PhD in anthropology from Columbia University. She won several grants and awards to conduct her dissertation research on the way older African Americans and whites in south Louisiana remember the Jim Crow era. This study grew out of her work with the "Behind the Veil" oral history project at Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies.
Working closely with anthropologist Katherine S. Newman on a multi-year study of the meaning of employment among low-wage service workers in Harlem, Ellis helped produce Newman's highly acclaimed book, No Shame in My Game: The Working Poor in the Inner City.
Ellis graduated in 1992 with a Master's degree in sociology from Emory University. Her master's thesis analyzed the way whites and African Americans explain racial inequality in the United States. She earned a BA in psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1987, graduating with college honors. That's also where she got her first taste of public radio production, as an on-air D.J. at KZSC.
Ellis has held research fellowships at Boston University's Institute on Race and Social Division, the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, CA, and the Murray Research Center at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She is the recipient of the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award, the Unity Award for public affairs/social issues reporting, and the first-place Headliner Award for documentary work.