Simeon Booker Memorial Service to be Held in D.C.

By Morgan Petronelli and Rachel Gobep

A memorial service celebrating the life and accomplishments of civil rights journalist Simeon Booker will be held in Washington D.C. at 10 a.m. on Jan. 29 at the Washington National Cathedral.

Booker, a Youngstown native and former Youngstown College student, left the college after discovering that African-American students were being denied activity cards which allowed students to partake in sports, clubs and school dances.

From there, he attended Virginia Union University and eventually went on to become the first black reporter for The Washington Post. Booker had also gone on to work for African-American- marketed magazines “Jet” and “Ebony.”

He made a name for himself during the Civil Rights Era, first reporting about the brutal murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955.

This event acted as a catalyst for the civil rights movement and propelled Booker to report on some of the most pivotal moments in history like the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision.

Booker continued most of his work with “Jet” and “Ebony” magazines as their Washington bureau chief until his retirement in 2007.

During his life, he authored three books that gave insight into the life of a black journalist during the civil-rights era. Those books include: “Shocking the Conscience: A Reporter’s Account of the Civil Rights Movement,” “Susie King Taylor: Civil War Nurse” and “Black Man’s America.”

Booker died after complications with pneumonia on Dec. 10 at the age of 99. His memorial service plans to commemorate the path he paved in journalism and the voice he gave to those who needed help speaking up during an integral part in American history.

Donations can be made to the Simeon Booker Scholarship at YSU and all contributions will be matched by the YSU Foundation.

Paul McFadden, president of the YSU Foundation, said the foundation matches all minority scholarships.

He said the foundation is honored that Booker’s family decided to recognize him through this scholarship.