Journalism Giant George Curry Dies - Higher Education
Higher Education News and Jobs

Journalism Giant George Curry Dies

Email


by Jamal Eric Watson


George E. Curry, an award-winning veteran journalist and a fierce advocate for the Black press, died from an apparent heart attack on Saturday evening. He was 69.

George E. Curry

George E. Curry

The former editor and publisher of Emerge magazine, Curry used the publication’s platform to raise awareness about critical issues that impacted the African American community and to take aim at controversial figures within the Black community like U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who he placed on the magazine’s cover twice, once wearing an Aunt-Jemima-style handkerchief and the other in a lawn jockey suit.

“If I had an opportunity to do it over,” he once quipped about his famous 1993 magazine cover, “I would tie the Aunt Jemima knot tighter.”

Over the weekend, journalists, celebrities and political figures paid tribute to the Tuscaloosa native whose career as a publisher, editor, columnist and reporter spanned across four decades.

“This was my man,” journalist Roland Martin tweeted on Sunday. “Fearless in the face of criticism. Willing to hold Black leadership accountable. Committed to Black media.”

Added Roy S. Johnson, director of sports for the Alabama Media Group:

“George Curry shouted when few wanted to hear, whispered when the message was for our ears only. His voice will long resonate.”

Curry got his early start in journalism at Sports Illustrated and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In 1983, he was hired at The Chicago Tribune to report on the city’s Black community, and would eventually go on to cover the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson’s historic 1984 presidential campaign along with a group of other Black reporters that included Jack E. White, A’Lelia Bundles, and the late Gerald Boyd.

“I am saddened beyond words upon hearing of the death of George Curry,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton who featured Curry on his daily syndicated radio show as a commentator every Friday. “He was a giant and a trailblazer.”

Curry had the distinction of not only working for the mainstream press. He became a visible leader and champion of the Black press. He dedicated his career to grooming the next generation of young Black journalists.

After serving as editor-in-chief of Emerge from 1993-2000, Curry became the editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service—a trade organization of more than 200 Black newspapers—from across the U.S. At the time of his death, he was raising funds to relaunch Emerge online.

The founding director of the St. Louis Minority Journalism Workshop, Curry served for many years as the chairman of the board of trustees as his alma mater, Knoxville College.

As a student at Knoxville College in the 1960s, Curry—the son of a domestic worker and a mechanic—played on the football team and was the sports editor of the school’s newspaper.

He was a longtime member of the National Association of Black Journalists and was named one of the most influential journalists of the 20th Century by the organization.

Jamal Eric Watson can be reached at jwatson1@diverseeducation.com. You can follow him on Twitter @jamalericwatson

RELATED ARTICLES >>
Amherst College to Use Mellon Grant to Develop Diverse Faculty As a recipient of a prestigious $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Amherst College will develop an initiative to identify and prepare students from underrepresented minority groups to become faculty in the humanities. The grant i...
State of the Union Address Omitted Key Concerns in Education, Experts Note President Donald Trump President Donald J. Trump delivered his first State of the Union address since taking office, calling the current era “our new American moment.” But he missed an opportunity for substantive conversation on the growing conce...
Fixing an Athletics Problem Jennifer Hunter’s career trajectory has been anything but traditional, particularly as it relates to her work with collegiate sports. A native of New Orleans, Hunter is a trained lawyer who spent two years working as an English instructor and advi...
Aligning Faith With Diversity Messiah College — a small, liberal arts Christian college located in Pennsylvania, just a few miles from Harrisburg — has always prided itself on its longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. For years, the college had a special assistan...
Semantic Tags: