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Simoon Booker: Taking Aim At Injustice
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By Carolyn PuBose
For more than forty years, Si- :
meon Booker has been battling one
cause after the other. In the 1980's, :
as social and education programs
take a back" seat to skyrocketing
XJJS. military spending, Booker '
Washington Bureau : iChief of
Johnson Publishing Company is
still trying to influence policy.
' One year, he told a jroup of
reporters, "I have always believed
that a newsman covers the news; he
doesn't make the news." But on
Tuesday, December 7, he made the
news as he received the coveted Na
tional Press Club's 1982 Fourth
Estate Award. Previous recipients
include Walter Cronkite.
In his 27 years as a Jet reporter,
Booker has written about the joys
arid sorrows, achievements and
failures of people across the coun
try. He writes with a vitality that
mirrors the life style of black
On Veterans Day, Washington,
D.C., was crawling with veterans
from the Vietnam War; government
offices were shut down and top1
leaders were on a holiday. But for
veteran correspondent Simeon
Boo leer, it was business as usual.
During an exchange with a group of
veterans, he proudly displayed a
fading olive green helmet he wore
while covering stories in "Nam''.
Booker, who was born in
Baltimore and raised in
Youngstown, Ohio, attended
Youngstown High School before
moving on to Youngstown College.;
His stay ended abruptly after
"causing a ruckus" over the fact1
that black students were not permit-,
ted to have activity cards.' After ,
working his way through Virginia ;
Union, Booker became a reporter
for the Baltimore Afro-American
newspaper where covering lynchings
was a regular part of his beat. He
later worked for the Cleveland Call
and Post. After he won a Wilkie
Award for a series on education, in
19S0 he became the second black to
win a Nieman Fellowship That sent
him to Harvard for a year, and it
was the turning point Jbf his life.'
After Harvard, he was hired by
the Washington Post in 1952 as its
first full-time black reporter. But ;
segregation was still the law of the
land and his job as a general
assignments reporter wasn't easy.
For example, when he tried to cover
the police beat, he would be barred
from the scene just like anybody
He left after two years and joined
the Johnson Publishing Company
staff in Chicago. He returned- to
Washington a year later to open the
bureau. The first person, he hired
was E. Fannie Granton who remain
ed his assistant until her. death
several years ago. Starting with the
Eisenhower Administration, Booker
has jregularly" covered the White!
House, the U.S. Congress, state
legislatures and . the entire
Washington scene, a ' , . .
Many times, Booker had to look
beyond his personal safety to get the ;
story. In 1955, the useless death of'
14-year-old Emmet Till touched off
a stream of controversy. Booker,
Jimmy Hicks of the New York
Amsterdam News and the third
black member of the U.S. House of
Representatives, Charles C. Diggs,
Jr., were among those who went to
Mississippi to attend the trial of the
white men charged with murdering
the teen-ager for allegedly whistling
at a white woman. When it was
over, Diggs escorted 'the boy's
mother back to Chicago for safety
while Booker routed out injustices
in other southern states.
Trouble spots were breaking out
all over the country as blacks kept
up the struggle for first-class citizen
ship. There was the time, for exam
ple, that Booker went by plane to
Little Rock - Arkansas where
NAACP veterans Mr. and Mrs.
L,.C. Bates were battling authorities
to integrate the school system. One
of those students, Ernest Green,
would become Assistant Secretary
of Labor in the Carter Administra
tion. By practicing front-Jine jour
nalism, Booker is regarded as being
thoroughly able to address the
issues. Years ago, while traveling to
'Alabama on James Fanner's first
freedom bus ride, in Atlanta, Rev.
Martin Luther King, Jr. warned him
that the group wouldn't make it to
. Birmingham. While Booker escaped
unharmed, one bus was burned and
many of the young freedom riders
were, badly beaten. In a telephone
' conversation with then Attorney
General Robert Kennedy, Booker
pleaded for government interyen-!
tion to get the freedom riders out
alive.'-- ;';":,.":Y:; ..7
Not. only has he covered stories
! across the country, he has made
numerous trips to Africa and travel-
ed with members of the Washington ;
Press Club to Cuba. He was in
Ghana for that country's In
dependence Celebration in 1957.
Ironically, as more African,nations
gained independence, their
diplomats began showing up in
Washington where a special law
allowed them to live in homes that
were off-limits to blacks. "The
point is," Booker told his readers,
"wear a robe".
A pioneering journalist and ac
tivist, Booker was one of the early
presidents of the Capital Press
Club, the second black member of
the National Press Club and the first
male member of the Press Club.
It is of highest significance that
this distinguished author and broad
cast and print journalist has been
recognized by his peers for sustained
commitment throughout the years.
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Georgia State Senator Julian Bond, was the
keynote speaker for an All-College Assembly at
Saint Augustine's College on last week.
By Dr. Charles W. Faulkner
Don't waste time. Now that you are without a
job, you can take control of your own life. It's ex
citing. You need a job and now is the time to do the
right things ti impress a prospective employer. How
should you begin?
First, determine what saleable talents you have.
Write them down on a pieces of paper and examine
it carefully. Next, determine what jobs are now
available. You will probably find that you have
many hidden skills that employers will want to
utilize. Don't sell yourself short. There.may be a
career category that you can fit into with a' rjrief
period of training which you may not have thought 4
When you have determined which job(s) you wish
to apply for, begin to prepare for that job inter
view. What is the first thing that an employer will
notice about you? Answer: Your appearance. Does
your appearance indicate emotional stability and
self-confidence? Are you trim and health looking or
overweight, unkempt and self-depreciating? Main
tain the proper weight, maintain a neat, immaculate
appearance and maintain a spirited sense of con
fidence. Each day, you must care for your ap
pearance just as if you were going to the most im
portant job in the world. Practice, practice, prac
tice. You must now prepare a resume that promotes
the image that you desire to convey. If you have no
experience in preparing a professional-looking
resume, you will find easy-to-understand guides in
your local library. Do not take a chance on prepar
ing a resume that is amateurish. It is better to pay a
professional to prepare it for you rather than have a
resume that makes potential employers reject you
without even giving you an itnerview.
Resumes should always be neatly typed or
typeset. There should be no smudges, smears or
typographical erros. They should be brief, to the
point and easy to understand. You will want to have
it carefully proofread. Don't forget the letter that
must accompany that resume. It should spell out
concisely your reasons for thinking that you are the
most qualified person for the job. If you are not
adept at letter writing, let someone write it who is.
Oh, yes. In a previously column, I indicated the
importance of leaving your last job in a cool, calm
manner by quietly exiting. Don't allow an
unrestrained burst of emotion. 1 indescretion,
directed at your boss and fellow employers, to
destroy your chances of getting your next job. In
short, do not burn your bridges behind you you
could live to regret it. A recommendation fron:
your former employer might be a requirement for
getting your next job. Do not assume that you can
hide the past period of employment. Often,
employers will fire an employee, after hiring
himher, when a discrepancy or untruth is
discovered on the previously submitted application.
If the prospective employer is worth hisher salt,
there will be an understanding analysis given to
your application. Whatever the case is, you must
approach your future and persevere in your search
for a job. There is an employers who will hire you.
you will find that employer when you remain
positive and dedicated.
Editor's Note: Your suggestions are welcomed.
Suggestions for future articles will be appreciated.
Cassette tapes of this and other articles are available
for individual use, discusssion groups and
I classroom use. All letters and inquiries should e
.' sent directlv to: Dr. Charles W. hmlkner, P.O. ftv
50016, Washington, D.C. 20004.
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