Monday, February 2, 2009

Remembering Robert Churchwell, who broke Southern newspapers' color barrier

Robert Churchwell Sr., who died this weekend, was the first black staffer at a major Southern newspaper, a title that was both a huge accomplishment and a huge burden.

From Tennessean reporter Colby Sledge

Mr. Churchwell began reporting solely on the African-American community in an attempt by the Banner to increase circulation among black readers. The 1998 book The Children — the account by former Tennessean reporter David Halberstam of the Nashville civil rights movement — said Mr. Churchwell met with hostility in his own newsroom and among some African-Americans unhappy with his decision to work at the Banner.

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