North Carolina remembers journalist George Curry

Journalist George E. Curry

North Carolina remembers journalist George Curry
August 25
07:45 2016



The untimely death of veteran black journalist George E. Curry has saddened not only many in the civil rights, media and political communities who knew Curry and his work across the nation, but also across North Carolina.

Curry, 69, who reportedly died of heart failure Saturday, was the former editor-in-chief for the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), the nonprofit association of over 200-member African-American newspapers.

Ernie Pitt, publisher emeritus of the Winston-Salem Chronicle, was among the many North Carolina  black publishers who mourned the loss of this legendary colleague.

“I have had the pleasure of working with George for more than two decades,” Pitt said. “He was a classic, dedicated and committed journalist. Working with George was so gratifying because he took writing articles and news stories seriously.”

“He was a stickler for getting the story right,” Pitt continued.

“Working with NNPA interns was one of his pleasures. He wanted our young people to develop a zeal for getting the facts right and putting the story together with depth and clear understanding. Our profession will forever miss George Curry.”

The publisher of the Wilmington Journal, another NNPA member paper, also remembers Curry fondly.

“George Curry was a part of NNPA’s effort to gain pardons for the Wilmington Ten,” recalled publisher Mary Alice Jervay Thatch, who is also president of the N.C. Black Publishers Association.  “On the day NNPA announced at the National Press Club our intent to secure those pardons, George interviewed Wilmington Ten leader Dr. Ben Chavis onstage. It brought tears to our eyes, including Ben’s. Later, Ben had to admit that this was the most emotional interview he had experienced and the first time he had cried in public!

“Once we placed the request for pardons on [then] Governor Perdue’s desk a year later,” Thatch continued, “George was there to ensure that our story was being told through NNPA’s newswire service.”

North Carolina U.S. Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), was one of those elected black leaders who appreciated Curry’s devotion to the truth, and commitment to shining a light on important issues.

“The Congressional Black Caucus joins with members of the press from around the country to mourn the loss of George E. Curry, a pioneer in civil rights and journalism,” Butterfield wrote.

“George E. Curry was a giant in journalism and he stood on the front lines of the Civil Rights era and used his voice to tell our stories when others would not. The CBC offers our sympathies and condolences to his friends and family, his readers from around the country, and to the countless number of individuals he mentored in the art of reporting and journalistic writing until his untimely death.”

Irving Joyner, law professor at North Carolina Central University’s School of Law in Durham, and chairman of the N.C. NAACP’s Legal Redress Committee, expressed his respect for a civil rights veteran who built bridges by chronicling history.

“I was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the transitioning of this giant in our journalistic world,” Joyner said. “As a  committed African-American journalist, George presented the truth and nothing but the truth in the many articles and news analysis which he authored. He was very committed to his craft and possessed a keen knowledge of the African-American community and never ducked an opportunity to better explain our position and view of things which impacted us and our community.”

Even former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took time from her run for president

to pay tribute  to the veteran black journalist.

“I am saddened by the loss of an outstanding journalist and supportive friend,” Hillary Clinton said. “George E. Curry was a pioneering journalist, a tireless crusader for justice, and a true agent of change. With quality reporting, creativity, and skillful persuasion, he influenced count-less people, including me, to think beyond their narrow experience and expand their understanding. George may be gone, but he will not be forgotten. My thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones.”

George Edward Curry, a media pioneer and longtime advocate for the black press and civil rights, will be laid to rest Saturday, Aug. 27, in his hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, with the Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and president of the National Action Network, delivering the eulogy at Weeping Mary Baptist Church, 2701 20th St., Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35401.

Dr. Charles Steele, president and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and lifelong friend of George Curry, announced the arrangements.  The two leaders grew up in the segregated South at a time when Jim Crow laws were the order of the day. They made a pact early in life to never forget their upbringing and to work to help lift others, Steele said.

“We wanted to tell our stories, because we knew it could inspire and impact others,” Steele said. “We were two fellas from impoverished back-grounds, where African-Americans endured second-class citizenship. We were able to overcome and find success. We will celebrate that success in remembering the life of George Curry this weekend.”

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Cash Michaels

Cash Michaels

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