Simeon Booker, the Washington bureau chief of Jet and Ebony magazines for five decades, died Dec. 10 at an assisted-living community in Solomons, Md., according to The Washington Post. He was 99 and had recently been hospitalized for pneumonia, his wife, Carol Booker, told the paper.
Booker was the first full-time black reporter for The Post. The paper says “few reporters risked more to chronicle the civil rights movement than Mr. Booker.”
Simeon Booker talks about covering the Emmett Till trial in Mississippi in 1955. (BlackBooksandReviews/YouTube.com)
Booker is credited with helping to deliver the story of Emmitt Till’s murder to a national audience. In 1955, the boy from Chicago was tortured, and shot and killed while visiting relatives in Mississippi. He was accused of having whistled at a white woman.
Simeon Booker, reporter for JET and Ebony gives his account of the Civil Rights Movement. (BlackBooksandReviews/YouTube.com)
Jet magazine published the photos of Till in the open casket. In 2013, NPR’s Michel Martin asked Booker how difficult a decision it was for the magazine to go forward with those photographs.
“That was a very difficult decision for them because I don’t think they were in it, and they didn’t realize the seriousness of it. But going down there and seeing all the turmoil, I knew what was coming up,” Booker said.
Read more at NPR.org.