George Curry, Legendary Political and Civil Rights Journalist, Dies of Sudden Heart Failure at 69

George Curry

George Curry, the legendary columnist, commentator and champion of black journalists, died of sudden heart failure on Saturday. He was 69.

Curry grew up in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where he was childhood friends with Bernard Lafayette, the current chairman of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. “This is a tragic loss to the movement because George Curry was a journalist who paid special attention to civil rights because he lived it and loved it,” Lafayette told Trice Edney News Wire.

Curry began his career as reporter for Sports Illustrated and The St. Louis Dispatch. In the 1990s, he was the editor of Emerge, an edgy political and cultural publication with the tag line “Black America’s Newsmagazine.” In 1993, the cover depicted Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas wearing an Aunt Jemima-style handkerchief next to the word “BETRAYED.”

Curry was the first African-American to be elected president of the American Society of Magazine Editors.

After Emerge folded in 2000, Curry led the news service for the National Newspaper Publishers Association for nine years. He wrote a syndicated column that was published in black newspapers all over the country, and he frequently appeared as a commentator on television and radio news programs.

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