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Prominent African-American journalist dies at 99

ACCOMPLISHED: Simeon Booker (centre) is presented with a Phoenix Award by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in Washington on September 2010.(Photo credit: AP)

SIMEON BOOKER, the first full-time African-American reporter at The Washington Post, died yesterday (11 December) at the age of 99 in Solomans, Maryland, his wife has confirmed.

Booker was born in Baltimore and raised in Youngstown, Ohio; he served for decades as the Washington bureau chief for the African-American publications Jet weekly and Ebony monthly.

He joined The Post in 1952 and is credited with writing extensively about the Civil Rights movement.

Booker covered the Montgomery bus boycott, the march from Selma to Montgomery, and he was also instrumental in raising national awareness of the brutal murder of Emmett Till.

The pioneering journalist reportedly covered 10 U.S. presidents and traveled to Southeast Asia to report on the Vietnam War. This was during a time when very few black reporters were assigned in Washington, D.C.

Just last year, he was acknowledged with the George Polk Award in Journalism for career achievement.

"From an early age, I knew I wanted to be a writer," Booker told The Vindicator newspaper of Youngstown in 2013. "Teaching and preaching were the best advances for blacks at the time. But I wanted to write."

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