Simeon Booker’s memorial service in D.C.


Staff report

There will be a memorial service for Simeon Booker, civil-rights journalism pioneer who grew up in Youngstown, at 10 a.m. Jan. 29 at the Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

Booker spent more than a half-century reporting on civil rights, beginning with the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in Mississippi in 1955 that launched the civil-rights movement.

Booker helped propel the struggle of the oppression of black Americans onto the front pages of newspapers across the country.

Most of Booker’s work was for Jet magazine, beginning in 1954 just as the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision came down, eliminating separate black and white schools. Booker also was featured in the Washington Post as that company’s first black reporter in 1952.

His work continued up until the election of Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president.

All of these tumultuous years have just been chronicled in a new book Booker wrote with his wife, Carol.

“Shocking the Conscience” is his account of America’s civil-rights movement from his front-row vantage point. He first published “Black Man’s America” in 1964. He had a second book ready a few years later.

He died Dec. 10 at age 99 in Maryland with his wife and son, Teddy, at his side.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Simeon Booker Scholarship at Youngstown State University. All gifts designated for this minority scholarship are matched by the YSU Foundation, 655 Wick Ave., to which checks should be made payable.

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