Reporter Robert Churchwell broke color barrier

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Robert Churchwell Sr., one of the first black journalists to work at a prominent Southern newspaper, has died. He was 91.

Churchwell died early Sunday morning in Nashville. He was hired at the now defunct Nashville Banner in February 1950 and worked there 31 years before retiring in 1981.

Churchwell began reporting on the black community and later covered education. The 1998 book The Children -- an account by former Tennessean reporter David Halberstam of the civil rights movement in Nashville -- said Churchwell was met with hostility at the Banner and among some blacks unhappy with his decision to work there.

Born in Clifton, Tenn., Churchwell served four years in the U.S. Army during World War II. Upon returning, he graduated from Fisk University before being hired at the Banner.

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Information from: The Tennessean, www.tennessean.com

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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