Sending Office: Honorable Tim Ryan
H.R. 1283: Award a Congressional Gold Medal to Simeon Booker, Civil Rights Era Journalist
Cosponsors: Adam Smith, Adriano Espaillat, Al Lawson, Alan Lowenthal, Alcee Hastings, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Andre Carson, Bennie G. Thompson, Bill Johnson, Bill Pascrell, Bobby Rush, Bobby Scott, David Joyce, Eddie
Bernice Johnson, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Gregory Meeks, Gwen Moore, Jamie Raskin, Jan Schakowsky, Joyce Beatty, Marcia L. Fudge, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Raul Grijalva, Sheila Jackson Lee, Steve Cohen, Terri Sewell, Tim Ryan, Bobby Rush
In honor of Black History Month, please join us in support of legislation to posthumously award a Congressional Gold Medal to Simeon Booker—a legendary journalist and civil rights icon—in recognition of his pioneering achievements in journalism and his dedication
to documenting untold stories of the Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam War.
Born in Baltimore, MD, and raised in Youngstown, OH, Mr. Booker began his journalism career covering Negro Baseball League games in his hometown newspaper. He was the first African American to win the Newspaper Award for his series on slum housing and the
Willkie Award for his reporting on racial inequality in public schools. In 1950, he became the first full-time black reporter at The Washington Post.
Early in his career, Mr. Booker risked his safety to advance the cause of civil rights through his reporting. In 1955, his coverage of the Emmett Till murder, funeral, and trial turned a local tragedy into a national turning point. His stories chronicled
the Montgomery bus boycott, the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School, and the march from Selma to Montgomery. In 1961, Mr. Booker was the only journalist to embed with the Freedom Riders on their interstate bus trip through the Deep South. When
they were ambushed and firebombed by the Ku Klux Klan, he called Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy to arrange an air rescue.
As a reporter for Ebony and JET magazines, Mr. Booker traveled twice to Vietnam to interview black soldiers on the front lines, collecting firsthand accounts of the racial turmoil within the newly-integrated U.S. military.
Despite the dangers, his commitment to documenting African-American casualties and the experience of black servicemen in the Vietnam War never wavered.
Throughout his illustrious career, Mr. Booker interviewed presidents, members of Congress, the judiciary, Cabinet officials, and foreign ambassadors. He authored two highly-acclaimed books, Shocking the Conscience: A Reporter’s Account of the Civil
Rights Movement and Black Man’s America. Until his retirement in 2007, he covered every presidential election since 1952.
For over 60 years, Simeon Booker dedicated his life to chronicling the struggle for freedom and equality in the face of violence and oppression. He passed away in December 2017 at age 99.
To become a cosponsor, contact Samantha Fay in Rep. Ryan’s office at Samantha.Fay@mail.house.gov.
TIM RYAN DAVID JOYCE
Member of Congress Member of Congress
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