NABJ Co-Founder Claude Lewis Dies At 82

The fearless journalist was said to have close ties to Malcolm X, Langston Hughes and James Baldwin.

Dynamic journalist and co-founder of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), Claude Lewis has passed away at the age of 82.

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He leaves behind his wife Beverly, four children, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Raised in the Bronx, Lewis got his start in journalism after graduating from City College with a degree in English. He worked in broadcast and for newspapers, becoming the first African-American reporter and columnist for The Philadelphia Bulletin. He also worked for Newsweek, New York Herald Tribune, NBC-TV and The Philadelphia Inquirer

An instrumental voice in the Civil Right's era, Lewis would become close with James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  

As reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer, Lewis described King, whom he greatly admired, as "a little guy with a lot of energy" who took "personal risks" and kept getting "threats on his life."

In 1968 at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago a riot broke out that led to Lewis being knocked to the ground and beat by a police officer, which Lewis attributed to his loss of sight in his older years.

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Aside from being a true journalist and kind human being, Lewis was also a loving husband who married his high school sweetheart in October 1953. As a registered nurse, Beverly was also the one taking care of him as he become nearly blind in recent years. 

Lewis is most known for being a co-founder of NABJ that was launched to provide programs, services and advocacy for black journalists. 

“Founder Claude Lewis was a gentle giant and kind soul whose passion for equality and equal opportunity can be seen in his columns and life’s work. He had a personal impact on the trajectory of many NABJ members, myself included, showing us all the way,” said NABJ President Sarah Glover in a statement

Forty-two years later and NABJ now holds a yearly convention for professionals, runs a career fair, provides technical training, and awards almost $100,000 yearly in scholarships and internships to college and high school students nationwide.

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