Karl Fleming (August 30, 1927 – August 11, 2012) was an American journalist who made a significant contribution to the American Civil Rights Movement through his work for Newsweek magazine in the 1960s. Fleming was born in Newport News, Virginia in 1927.
When he was a baby, his father died. His mother remarried and had a daughter with her new husband. At the age of 6, his stepfather died and soon after his mother was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Fleming and his step sister were forced to go into an orphanage. Fleming has claimed that his experiences as a young boy in the orphanage encouraged a hatred of bullies and a support for the underdog that influenced his position on the civil rights struggle.
After his serving in the Navy, Fleming worked at local newspapers and eventually worked his way up to becoming a reporter for The Atlanta Constitution Magazine. In 1961, having worked as a stringer for Newsweek for a number of months, he was hired by the magazine as a permanent correspondent in their Atlanta Bureau when Bill Emerson, formerly Atlanta Bureau Chief, was promoted. During his career as a journalist, Fleming risked his life covering James Meredith's entry into the University of Mississippi and also in 1964 when he covered the deaths of three civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi. After a brief stint at the Houston Bureau, Fleming was promoted to chief of Newsweek's Los Angeles Bureau. Whilst in this post, Fleming not only covered the Watts riots of 1965, but was also severely beaten during a later flare up of tension in LA's southern black neighbourhood in 1966.
Fleming's first wife was Sandra Sisk and his second wife was Anne Taylor Fleming. He has three sons named David, Russell, and Mark and eight grandchildren. Sisk died in 2007.
- The First Time: Famous People Tell about Their First Sexual Experience (1975), with Anne Taylor Fleming. Simon & Schuster
- Son Of The Rough South: An Uncivil Memoir (2005) ISBN 1-58648-296-3
- Interview with Fleming at Syracuse University website
- "Karl Fleming, Reporter Who Covered Civil Rights, Dies at 84". New York Times. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
- Fleming, Karl, Son of the Rough South: An Uncivil Memoir (New York, NY: Public Affairs, 2005)
- Woo, Elaine. LA Times http://articles.latimes.com/2012/aug/12/local/la-me-karl-fleming-20120812. Retrieved 2 May 2013. Missing or empty
- review at NPR
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