As the Washington correspondent for the Chicago Defender, Ethel Payne used her journalistic skills to elevate civil rights issues onto the national agenda. In the 1950s and ‘60s, she raised challenging questions at presidential press conferences about matters of importance to African Americans and the emerging civil rights movement. She covered the Montgomery bus boycott, desegregation of the University of Alabama, and the Little Rock school crisis, as well as traveling overseas to write about the service of black troops in Vietnam. For many black Americans she became their eyes on the frontlines of the struggle for equality.
James McGrath Morris is the author of three previous books, including Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print and Power.
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