Civil Rights journalist receives honorary degree at Youngstown S - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Civil Rights journalist receives honorary degree at Youngstown State commencement

Posted: Updated:

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - After decades in the making, an honorary degree is finally bestowed upon a giant in the journalism community.

The crowd gave a standing ovation as 95-year-old Simeon Booker was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Youngstown State University. The honor took place decades after Booker left YSU after learning that black students at the YMCA sponsored school were not allowed activity cards which barred any access to student facilities.

YSU president Randy Dunn says Booker is a trailblazer and example for us all. Dunn told the students to look at Mr. Booker, listen to him, and understand his role in American civil rights history and be inspired.

Booker graduated in 1942 from Virginia Union University in Richmond, has numerous awards, and became the first black staff reporter for the Washington Post.

For 50 years, he was the Washington Bureau Chief and White House Correspondent for Jet and Ebony magazines.

During his speech, Booker talked about his coverage of what he believes was the most bizarre criminal case in history: the murder and mutilation of 14 year old Emmett Till in Mississippi.

Booker's reporting for Jet Magazine helped galvanize the growing civil rights movement.

The retired journalist said he saw things that were wrong and used his strongest weapon -  words that could expose the truth - to bring about positive change.

Booker asked the audience and graduates to picture a courtroom where spectators are drinking beer, and the judge and jurors take swigs from coke bottles. He told the audience that black journalists and a black congressman were segregated from white journalists. He said he woke up every morning to a racial slur.

He talked about the courage of a grieving mother in 1955 who insisted on an open casket for her son who had been murdered and mutilated because she wanted the world to see what the criminals did to her son, Emmett Till, while he was in Mississippi.

The accomplished journalism giant - who performed to the highest level of his craft, has covered ten US presidents and is the author of Shocking the Conscience - asked the graduates how they will  use what they have learned and told them to never give up, try over, and over, and over again, so at the end of the day, you can say, "I did my best."

  • SpotlightSpotlightMore>>

  • Updated

    The Scrappers host “POPS at the Ballpark” featuring the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra

    The Scrappers host “POPS at the Ballpark” featuring the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 2:04 PM EDT2014-04-15 18:04:57 GMT
    NILES, Ohio – The Mahoning Valley Scrappers and the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra are excited to host one of the Valley's premiere summer events, POPS at the Ballpark,More >>
    NILES, Ohio – The Mahoning Valley Scrappers and the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra are excited to host one of the Valley's premiere summer events, POPS at the Ballpark, presented by Stanley E. Shearer with Northwestern Mutual and 21 WFMJ on Saturday, August 23, 2014 at Eastwood Field.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms