Legendary political activist and civil rights journalist George Curry has died at the age of 69.
The former Sports Illustrated reporter and Alabama native died from complications of a sudden heart failure over the weekend, according to a report from NPR. A well-respected name in the journalism arena, Curry was regarded as a champion of Black press who built his career on emphasizing the importance of mainstream media including narratives about social and economic issues affecting the Black community in their coverage.
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In 2014, Curry vocalized his criticisms of national media coverage of Trayvon Martin’s murder, nothing that Black press brought Trayvon’s story to the forefront and played a pivotal role in ensuring that the value of the conversation about social injustice against African-Americans was realized.
Among his many achievements, Curry made history as the first African-American to be elected president of the American Society of Magazine Editors and was also the editor-in-chief for the cultural publication Emerge, which was dubbed as “Black America’s Newsmagazine.”
Bernard Lafayette, who is the current chairman of the historic Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and a childhood friend of Curry’s, spoke briefly on his passing over the weekend. “This is a tragic loss to the movement because George Curry was a journalist who paid special attention to civil rights,” Lafayette told Trice Edney News Wire. “He lived it and loved it.”
Several prominent voices in civil rights activism and Black media have taken to social media to honor George Curry’s memory following the news of his untimely passing including Reverend Al Sharpton, Marc Lamont Hill and Tom Joyner.
I am saddened beyond words upon hearing of the death of George Curry, Publisher of Emerge Magazine. He was a giant and trailblazer. RIP.— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) August 21, 2016
Journalist George Curry is today's LKBHF. Read more about him on @BlackAmericaWeb. RIP.— Tom Joyner (@TJMShow) August 22, 2016
George Curry loved us so much. And he gave freely, without worry of reciprocity or reward. He was a hero. This hurts.— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) August 21, 2016
@KembaSmith will be joining us today to discuss the impact of George Curry and his passing. We'll also cover voting rights restoration.— Karen Hunter (@karenhunter) August 22, 2016
He never forgot my birthday because it was the same day (9/8) as his mom's. This year I will miss receiving his message. #GeorgeCurry— Margena A. Christian (@DrMargenaXan) August 22, 2016