Simeon Booker

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Simeon Booker
Born (1918-08-27) August 27, 1918 (age 97)
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Nationality African-American
Alma mater Virginia Union University
Occupation Journalist

Simeon Booker (born August 27, 1918 in Baltimore) is an award-winning African-American journalist whose work appeared in leading news publications for more than 50 years.

Early years[edit]

Born in Maryland, Booker moved with his family to Youngstown, Ohio, when he was five years old. There, his father opened a YMCA for African-Americans.[1] While a high school student in Youngstown, some of Booker's stories were published in the Baltimore Afro American, a prominent Black newspaper.[2]


Booker graduated from high school in Youngstown and then enrolled at Youngstown College, but transferred to Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia, when he learned that Black students were denied activity cards at the YMCA-sponsored school.[1] He earned money during college by providing publicity for Virginia Union's sports teams.[1] Booker returned to Youngstown during summer vacations and published articles about the Negro Baseball League games there.[1] Upon graduating with a degree in English, he took his first job with the Afro American. Booker later returned to Ohio and worked for the Cleveland Call and Post. Booker was offered a prestigious Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University in 1950–51.[2]

Journalistic career[edit]

In 1952 Booker became the first black reporter for The Washington Post.[2] Booker is best known for his Civil Rights era reporting for Jet and Ebony magazines. His coverage of the 1955 murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in Mississippi and the subsequent trial is one of the most noted pieces of journalism from the era.[1]

During his long career, Booker was recognized by his peers with numerous awards, including the Newspaper Guild Award and a Wilkie Award.[3] In 1982 he became the first African-American journalist to win the National Press Club's Fourth Estate Award for lifetime contributions to journalism.[4][5] Booker retired in 2007 at the age of 88, after serving as Jet's Washington Bureau Chief for 51 years.[3][4] On January 17, 2013, Booker was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists' Hall of Fame.[6]

Published Books[edit]

  • Shocking the Conscience: A Reporter's Account of the Civil Rights Movement (University Press of Mississippi, April 2013)
  • Susie King Taylor, Civil War Nurse (McGraw-Hill, June 1969)
  • Black Man's America (Prentice-Hall, 1964).


Further reading[edit]