The Catholic University of America

Rachel L. Swarns

IPR Visiting Fellow
Email: swarns[at]
Phone: 202-329-5855

Rachel L. Swarns (MA, first-class honors, University of Kent, England; BA summa cum laude, Howard University) is a correspondent with The New York Times and the author of “American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama,’’ which was published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, in June 2012. She currently writes about demographics, social trends and the modern American family. Since joining the Times in 1995, she has written about domestic policy and national politics, reporting on immigration, the presidential campaigns of 2004 and 2008 and First Lady Michelle Obama and her role in the Obama White House. She has also worked overseas for The Times, reporting from Russia, Cuba and southern Africa. In Africa, where she served as Johannesburg bureau chief (1999-2003), she reported on the turmoil in Zimbabwe, the challenges of racial reconciliation in South Africa and the civil war in Angola. Prior to joining The Times, Ms. Swarns worked for The Miami Herald and the St. Petersburg Times. During her various assignments as a journalist, Ms. Swarns has covered numerous salient issues, such as welfare reform and Mayor Giuliani's policies, Pope John Paul II's historic visit to Cuba, health care and poverty in Russia, the courts, the LA riots - as well as reporting from Guantanamo and Haiti.