George Curry, black journalist and publisher, dies aged 69

Curry was also a civil rights activist whose syndicated column ran in hundreds of black-owned newspapers around the US

George Curry, a journalist, civil rights activist and publisher whose syndicated column ran in hundreds of black-owned newspapers around the United States, has died. He was 69.

Curry, of Laurel, Maryland, died suddenly on Saturday at Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park, Maryland, after he was taken to the emergency room there, his sister, Charlotte Purvis, said on Sunday.

Currys syndicated column was carried in more than 200 African American-owned newspapers, and he served two stints as editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, a news service for black papers.

Leslie Proll (@LeslieProll) August 21, 2016

Here’s the truth: Before Black Twitter, there was #GeorgeCurry. Relentless & fearless on all civil rights issues.

gwen ifill (@gwenifill) August 21, 2016

Suffice to say, we all laughed a lot when #GeorgeCurry was in the house. A committed brother who did not lose sight of life & light. RIP

He also served as editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine in the 1990s and had been raising money to relaunch Emerge as a digital magazine covering racial injustice and other issues important to the black community. He became the first African-American to be elected president of the American Society of Magazine Editors.

Terrell J. Starr (@Russian_Starr) August 21, 2016

#GeorgeCurry was the magazine version of Twitter. He was bold, provocative. Always took on police brutality.

He was a frequent commentator on Black Entertainment Television and on the Rev Al Sharptons radio show.

Among many other tributes on social media, Sharpton tweeted: I am saddened beyond words upon hearing of the death of George Curry. He was a giant and trailblazer. RIP.

Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) August 21, 2016

I am saddened beyond words upon hearing of the death of George Curry, Publisher of Emerge Magazine. He was a giant and trailblazer. RIP.

A native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Curry graduated from Knoxville College in Tennessee, where he edited the school paper and played football. He worked as a reporter for the St Louis Post-Dispatch, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune.

George E. Curry was a giant in journalism, said GK Butterfield, a Democratic congressman from North Carolina and chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. He stood on the front lines of the civil rights era and used his voice to tell our stories when others would not.

While at Emerge, he led a four-year campaign to win the release of Kemba Smith, a woman sentenced to 24 years in prison for her minor role in a drug ring. Emerge ran a cover story on Smith in 1996 called Kembas Nightmare. President Bill Clinton pardoned Smith in 2000.

In addition to his sister, Curry is survived by his son, Edward Curry, and granddaughter, Neyah Curry.

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