Patrice Gaines talks about her experiences as heroin addict, award-winning reporter

“Finding Power in a World Fixated with Race and Maleness” is the topic of a presentation that will be given in Tennessee Tech University’s Derryberry Hall Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 25.

Patrice Gaines, a former heroin addict who turned her life around to become an award-winning former reporter at the Washington Post, will present the topic.

Before the contemplative journey that changed her lifestyle dramatically and ultimately led to her successful career as a journalist, Gaines went to prison for drug possession and was raped and beaten.

She tells her story in her autobiography, Laughing in the Dark: From Colored Girl to Woman of Color — A Journey from Prison to Power. She’s also the author of an inspirational book titled Moments of Grace: Meeting the Challenge to Change.

As a 16-year reporter at the Washington Post, Gaines’ human-interest stories that reflected current issues, combined with her personal experience, spoke to the state of the prison system, the high rate of incarceration among minorities and the poor, questionable police practices, prosecutors with too much power and the weeding out of bad lawyers.

A member of the National Association of Black Journalists, Gaines is cofounder of the Brown Angel Center, which provides formerly incarcerated women and their families with tools to renew their lives.

Her presentation is a Center Stage event hosted by the TTU Women’s Center in celebration of March as Women’s History Month.

For more information about this or any other TTU Women’s History Month event, call or e-mail the Women’s Center at 931/372-3850 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or log onto its web site at