Rest in Power: Pioneering Black Journalist Simeon Booker

For the seed of a tree that has to eulogize the roots from which it came, this article of remembrance might seem kindred.  On Sunday, the individual who is perhaps most responsible for my current position here at The Shadow League, and to be certain, even its publisher’s livelihood, died.  This very site itself could easily have never existed if it werent for a man named Simeon Booker.  

As far as the mainstream cultural zeitgeist is concerned, Booker, who died on Sunday at the age of 99, was the first full-time black journalist at the Washington Post. 

But he is at the very zenith of black journalism in America. Booker served as the Washington bureau chief for Jet magazine and Ebony magazine, and his journalism sequed into out-and-out of activism with his coverage of the murder of Emmett Till in 1955.  His coverage infamously included the open-casket picture of Tills disfigured face at his funeral service in Chicago.

Simeon Booker Jr.

Uploaded by The News Outlet on 2013-12-16.

Inducted into the National Association for Black Journalists Hall of Fame in 2013, one wonders why he wasnt one of the first five individuals ever to be gifted with that honorable distinction. His coverage of civil rights is credited with making the world aware of institutionally-enforced struggles of African Americans

Born in Baltimore and raised in Youngstown, Ohio in 1918, he served as Washington bureau chief for Johnson Publishing more than 50 years, authoring the widely-read Ticker Tape column before retiring in 2007.  Booker covered the administrations of  10 different presidents. He also authored or co-authored four books, including a 2013 memoir co-written with his wife Carol McCabe Booker entitled, Shocking the Conscience: A Reporters Account of the Civil Rights Movement.

Booker also received a George Polk Award for lifetime achievements in journalism and the National Press Clubs Fourth Estate Award.

He is survived by the wife Carol and three children.

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