Tribute to Simeon Bookerby Senator Rob Portman
Posted on 2013-12-10
PORTMAN. Mr. President, today I wish to honor Simeon Booker as he
receives an honorary doctor of letters from Youngstown State University
on December 15, 2013. Mr. Booker has devoted his life's work to
chronicling the history of the civil rights movement in America.
As an African-American college student in the 1940s and 1950s, Mr. Booker experienced discrimination firsthand at what was then Youngstown College. Refusing to accept the indignities he found there, he transferred to Virginia Union University where he continued to champion the rights of Black students.
Early in his career, he was hired by his hometown newspaper, the Youngstown Vindicator, where he would write local columns focused on the city's African-American population and summaries for the local Black baseball leagues. He went on to work for the Cleveland Call and Post and was offered the esteemed Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University in the 1950s.
Mr. Booker became the first Black reporter for the Washington Post in [[Page S8599]] 1952, and also wrote for Jet and Ebony magazines. Mr. Booker was witness to the rise of the great civil rights leaders of that time-- Martin Luther King, Jr., the Kennedy brothers, Whitney Young, and many others. He wrote about Martin Luther King's nonviolent movement for civil rights, and covered the 1963 March on Washington.
Mr. Booker has received recognition from his peers, having been awarded both the Newspaper Guild Award and the Wilkie Award. As a journalist, he became the first African-American to win the National Press Club's Fourth Estate Award in 1982. He most recently authored ``Shocking the Conscience: A Reporter's account of the Civil Rights Movement,'' an account of a half-century of American history. Earlier this year, he was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame.
I would like to honor Simeon Booker for his lifetime contributions to our country in the fields of journalism and civil rights and congratulate him on his recognition at Youngstown State University.