NABJ Founder Claude Lewis Has Passed On At Age 82

NABJ Founder Claude Lewis Has Passed On At Age 82

NABJ Founder Claude Lewis Has Passed On At Age 82

Photo of Claude Lewis courtesy of NABJ.

When I was in college and a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, I always wanted to meet Mr. Claude Lewis. As one of the founders of the NABJ, he was a treasure trove of experience, witty comments and presented an effortless cool to those who got a chance to be in his presence.

Unfortunately, I never had the honor or pleasure of meeting him.

A chance that has been dashed as the Harlem, N.Y. native has died at the age of 82, according to a statement released by his family. A City College graduate with a degree in English, Claude Lewis worked as an editor and a reporter for publications including Newsweek, New York Herald Tribute and The Philadelphia Bulletin.

Claude Lewis would go on to teach his craft at Villanova University, become a syndicated columnist at The Philadelphia Inquirer and also worked on TV specials and documentaries. Throughout his career, Claude Lewis’ work centered on human issues such as the Civil Rights Movement. He interviewed James Baldwin, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Langston Hughes to name a few.

From those experiences, Claude Lewis formed the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists in 1973 with Chuck Stone and Acel Moore, which would go on to become members of the 44 founders of the NABJ in 1975 in Washington, D.C. “Claude was a journalist miles ahead of his time, and he achieved recognition long before many recognized him,” Paul Brock, another NABJ co-founder said. “He was a gentle giant and kind soul whose passion for equality and equal opportunity can be seen in his columns and life’s work,” current NABJ president Sarah Glover said.

Claude Lewis, 82, passed away at his home in Cherry Hill, N.J., on Thursday morning. He is survived by his wife Beverly, four children, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. It was an honor to be a part of this man’s legacy, and I hope future journalist of color continue to walk in his path.

A memorial service is being planned for a later date.

H/T: All Access Music

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