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‘Race Beat’ reporters get their due

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The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation
By Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff, Knopf, New York, hardback, $30.

At long last comes a book that recognizes African-American journalists for their coverage of news events, particularly the civil rights movement. Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff’s “The Race Beat,” which hit bookstores Nov. 4, acknowledges the African-American, as well as white, journalists who were courageous enough to cover Emmett Till’s murder; the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott; the integration of the University of Mississippi (James Meredith) and the University of Alabama (Autherine Lucy); the activities of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and other civil rights events.

Readers will be captivated by the in-depth reporting by those who put their lives on-the-line to expose the ills of racism and segregation that existed in the South.

Roberts and Klibanoff, two white journalists who covered the “race beat” from 1954-1965, commend the work of African-American journalists from the black newspapers such as Chicago Defender, Amsterdam News, The Pittsburgh Courier, Baltimore Afro-American, Arkansas State Press (Little Rock), and Tri-State Defender (Memphis). Two powerful chapters are devoted to the integration of Little Rock’s Central High School.

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