The world lost an important champion and advocate for Black journalists and culturally-resonant race reporting when George Curry died from heart failure on Saturday (August 20).
Curry’s death at the age of 69 sent shock waves through the media world, with many journalists and contemporaries using social media to acknowledge Curry’s immense contributions:
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
#GeorgeCurry was dedicated to the Black Press. He believed in the need for a strong, independent Black media.— rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) August 21, 2016
Devastated by the loss of George Curry. Before Black Twitter he was our truth teller, fearless against any establishment, Including our own.— Kimberle Crenshaw (@sandylocks) August 21, 2016
Starting his career as a reporter for Sports Illustrated and The St. Louis Dispatch, Curry eventually solidified his reputation as the editor-in-chief at Emerge, “Black America’s Newsmagazine,” from 1993 to 2000. The magazine fearlessly confronted systemic issues that marginalized Black people, including police violence, health disparities and drug law sentencing. The magazine notably ran a 1996 story about Kemba Smith, a college student sentenced to 24 years in jail for a minor role in her abusive boyfriend’s drug ring. The story brought attention to Smith’s case, eventually resulting in President Bill Clinton pardoning Smith in 2000.
The Root reports that Curry was working to relaunch Emerge online; he raised more than $16,000 through a GoFundMe campaign started last year. Several paid people tribute to Curry’s legacy by sharing some of their favorite Emerge covers:
Curry also served as the American Society of Magazine Editors’ first Black president, as well as editor-in-chief of Black press trade organization the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s news service. NBC reports that he wrote well into the end of his career, with a syndicated column that ran in nearly 200 Black-owned publications.
Share links to your favorite George Curry pieces or Emerge magazine covers in the comments.