William Greaves was a producer and director who helped bring the black perspective to the mainstream. He hosted the groundbreaking news program “Black Journal.” The show was a monthly hour-long National Education Television program which made debut in 1968. The show won an Emmy in the “magazine-type programming” category in 1970.
Greaves was born in Harlem in New York City on October 8, 1926. He was one of seven children of a taxi driver and minister Garfield Greaves and the former Emily Muir.
After graduating from Stuyvesant High School at the age of 18, he attended City College of New York to study science and engineering, but eventually dropped out to pursue a career in theater. Starting as a dancer, he eventually moved into acting, working in the American Negro Theater.
Greaves found his passion for writing and went on to produce, write, and direct films including the well-received PBS documentaries “Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice” (1989) and “Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey” (2001), and numerous others. He produced more than two hundred documentary films and wrote and directed more than half of them. His work won awards at numerous festivals.
Greaves was well-known for his work as a documentarian focusing on racial issues and black historical figures. William Greaves died at the age of 87 at his home in Manhattan on August 25, 2014.