Julianne Malveaux was born on September 22, 1953 in San Francisco. She entered college without finishing high school, received her undergraduate and master’s degrees in economics from Boston University (in 1974 and 1975, respectively), and earned a Ph.D. in that same field from MIT in 1980. During the eighties and early nineties, Malveaux taught classes in economics, public policy, and African-American Studies at San Francisco University and UC Berkeley.
Best known for her work as a television commentator, Malveaux has been a frequent guest expert on such programs as ABC‘s Politically Incorrect, PBS‘s To the Contrary and Lehrer News Hour, and news programs on a number of cable TV networks.
Malveaux also has a background in radio. She hosted her own show on Pacifica Radio from 1995-1996, and later hosted a weekly program – titled Julianne Malveaux’s Capitol Report – on station WLIB in New York.
Moreover, Malveaux has written a weekly political-commentary column for the San Francisco Sun Reporter since 1981. Her writings have also appeared in The Progressive and in numerous other high-profile publications.
In April 1992 Malveaux was a guest speaker at the Socialist Scholars Conference in New York City.
On the November 4, 1994 edition of PBS’s To the Contrary, Malveaux expressed her deep contempt for conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas by saying: “The man is on the Court. You know, I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease. Well, that’s how I feel. He is an absolutely reprehensible person.”
In March 1998 Malveaux was listed among the “Endorsers of the Call” to establish a Black Radical Congress (BRC), which urges rebellion against American “racism,” “sexism,” “homophobia,” “class antagonisms,” and “social injustice.” Other endorsers of BRC included such luminaries as Amiri Baraka, Angela Davis, Lewis Gordon, Manning Marable, Rosalyn Pelles, and Cornel West.
In an August 2006 National Public Radio segment, Malveaux characterized Cuban President Fidel Castro‘s regime as a “mixed bag” that, along with “oppression,” had brought “a total redistribution and transformation” economically, leaving many poor people “much better off.”
In March 2007 Malveaux became the fifteenth president of Bennett College, one of America’s oldest historically black colleges for women.
“Not only is the pace of social change exceedingly slow,” Malveaux complained in 2007, “but the backlash in terms of the new racism, sexism, and classism are incredibly frustrating.” One “bone-chilling” manifestation of this “new racism, she said in 2010, was the fact that after Barack Obama was elected president and vacated his Senate seat in 2009, the Senate, which had no remaining black members, had become a “segregated legislative bod[y]” in the “so-called post-racial 21st century.”
In 2008 Malveaux signed a statement circulated by the Partisan Defense Committee calling for the release of convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, praising Mumia for being a “former Black Panther,” lamenting that he had been “framed” as a murderer and sentenced to death by a racist U.S. justice system, and denouncing capital punishment as “a legacy of chattel slavery and a barbaric outrage … the lynch rope made legal.” To view a list of other prominent signatories, click here.
In her welcome message to students in 2009-10, Malveaux called Bennett College “a place where sisters are educated, celebrated, and developed into global citizens and twenty-first century contributors.”
In 2010 Malveaux characterized the Tea Party protesters, who demonstrated against runaway government spending and the healthcare reform bill which had pushed America closer toward government-run healthcare, as people who suffered from the “disease” of “racism.”
Emphasizing that white racism was ubiquitous in the United States, Malveaux, on another occasion said: “There’s no great, white bigot; there’s just about 200 million little white bigots out there.”
In a July 2019 appearance on Joy Reid‘s MSNBC program, Malveaux exhorted her fellow Democrats to remain focused on the objective of removing President Donald Trump, whom she characterized as “the organge orangutan,” from office: “At the end of the day, the goal has to be to get rid of the orange orangutan.”
Malveaux frequently writes about issues of unemployment and poverty, arguing that the key to reducing both is the election of Democratic politicians. In a syndicated column from 2010, for instance, she wrote that Democratic victories in the upcoming midterm elections would be crucial to the well-being of those “who need an opportunity to engage in our economy.”
Malveaux is the founder and president/CEO of the multimedia company Last Word Productions, which describes itself as “a vehicle for the work and products of Dr. Julianne Malveaux.” She sits on the Economic Policy Institute‘s board of directors, along with such luminaries as Leo Gerard, Bob King, Robert Reich, and Richard Trumka.1 She also sits on the editorial board of the Black Commentator, along with notables like Julian Bond and Manning Marable. And she formerly served on the board of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.
Malveaux identifies Congresswoman Maxine Waters as “one of my sheroes, a sister I love, admire and emulate. Specifically, Malveaux describes Waters as “a relentless advocate for the least and the left out,” “a loyal champion of Rev. Jesse Jackson‘s presidential campaign[s]” in the 1980s, and “a whirlwind force for social and economic justice in California.”