For decades MSR sports columnist Charles Hallman has been the voice of women’s accomplishments in the field of athletics. Now, after 40 years in the field of journalism, the Detroit, Michigan native is being recognized for his dedication and hard work by his selection to the Land O’Lakes, Inc. Title IX Championship Tour Title IX Honor Roll.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark legislation that helped pave the way for equal opportunities for women, the bus tour was created to make stops at different sporting venues to honor 11 Title IX athletes and leaders and members of the Title IX Honor Roll. Hallman was one of 50 individuals selected.
The colorful bus is decorated with the honoree’s name displayed and pictures of the featured athletes and leaders.
It’s been quite the journey for Hallman, who honed his journalistic skills at Michigan State University while dabbling in some campus activism. “I worked at a campus radio station as a news reporter, he said. “We even started our own Black campus newspaper called The People’s Choice.”
It was during his time with The People’s Choice that Hallman learned all he needs to know about journalism. “I learned how to edit, layout copy, write headlines, and write stories and columns,” he said. “All my print work came from The People’s Choice.”
After graduating from MSU in the late 1970s with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism and spending a couple of years working in Champagne, Illinois, Hallman moved to the Twin Cities area in 1981. He worked at KMOJ and Insight News before settling at the MSR.
Despite being one of the country’s pioneers in promoting and covering women’s sports, Hallman admits that covering sports was not his original intention. “I always wanted to be a news reporter,” Hallman said. “I didn’t want to be typecast as a Black journalist who only reports on sports.”
When he eventually switched over to sports, Hallman had a change of heart. “I started to enjoy it,” he remembered. “I was having fun.”
It was during this period, the mid-1980s, that Hallman found his passion for women’s sports, but he pointed out that the seed was planted earlier. “It really started back in college,” he said.
“At student orientation when I was a freshman, I was there with a bunch of female basketball players. I got to know them from watching them play. That is how I really became involved.”
He hasn’t looked back since. “My first sports story was women’s basketball at the University of Minnesota when I was at KMOJ,” he said. “In covering that story and others that followed, I found that women, especially Black women athletes, have stories that need to be told just like the men. I figured if I didn’t tell their stories, who would.
Hallman considers his finest moment as a journalist to have been in 2006 when Linda Roberts, the former St. Paul Central girls’ basketball standout who starred at the University of Minnesota from 1978-81, became the first Black female basketball player to have her jersey raised into the Williams Arena rafters. This was due to a writing campaign Hallman and former MSR columnist Kwame McDonald started.
“We helped to get it done,” Hallman said. “But more importantly, Linda recognized us and thanked us for our support. It’s too bad that it took 25 years after her playing career to do it, but it happened and I’m very glad that I was a part of it.”
Of all the people Hallman says he needs to thank, there is one to whom he will always be grateful. “My mother encouraged me to write,” he said.
“She supported me throughout my desire to get into the business. Everything that happens to me honor-wise, I always think about her.”
Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald is a contributing columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.