Mourns the Loss of Past President
PHILADELPHIA, PA (April 4, 2017) - The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (PABJ) mourns the death of our past President Monique Oliver.
"She was a fierce and inspiring spirit," said Sarah Glover, president, National Association of Black Journalists. "I served on the PABJ board with her and followed in her footsteps to become president after her."
Oliver, a former WPVI-TV and CNN producer, served as PABJ president in 2007 and 2008. During her tenure, the organization diligently sought out new members, especially broadcasters and the fledgling digital journalists. Oliver also championed the re-launch of PABJ's awards gala in 2005. The event honors the work of outstanding journalists while raising funds for student scholarships. The annual event remains a mainstay of PABJ to this day.
"Monique Oliver's legacy will live on in generations," said Melony Roy, president, PABJ. "Dozens of students have received scholarships through funding from the awards program to help them pursue their dreams of becoming journalists."
PABJ sends its deepest condolences to the Oliver family, as well as her friends and colleagues.
Services will be held at First Presbyterian Church of Newark (also known as Old First Church) 820 Broad Street, Newark, NJ 07102 (entrance to parking on Lafayette Street, behind the church, on the same premises as the Prudential Center.) The viewing will be Friday, April 7 from 4-8pm (Reflections welcome 6-7pm.) Funeral Service on Saturday, April 8 from 9-10am. Interment will immediately follow funeral at Evergreen Cemetery in Hillside, NJ and the repast will be held at church following the interment.
The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists
Mourns the Loss of Founder
PHILADELPHIA, PA (March 16, 2017)- The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (PABJ) mourns the passing of distinguished journalist Claude Lewis. Lewis was one of the founders of PABJ and the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).
Lewis, 82, of Cherry Hill, NJ, died this morning from complications of diabetes.
“I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Claude Lewis,” said PABJ President Melony Roy. “For many Black journalists, he was a pillar of journalism, an icon and a mentor. He made history as the first person of color to write a column for a daily newspaper in Philadelphia. PABJ will continue his legacy of diversifying newsrooms and calling for fair coverage of the African American community.”
Born and raised in New York, Lewis graduated from City College with a degree in English. He worked as an editor and reporter for several newspapers and magazines, including Newsweek,the New York Herald Tribune and the Philadelphia Bulletin. He later taught at Villanova University and wrote a syndicated column for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“Claude was just a very special person. He always made himself available especially to black staffers,” said former colleague and NABJ Founder Sandra Dawson Long Weaver. “He truly was a trailblazer and ahead of his time. He brought a passion, a love for the business, humanity, and Black journalists. He will be greatly missed.”
Known as one of the "original three," Lewis along with fellow journalists Chuck Stone and Acel Moore laid the groundwork for and were among the founders of PABJ in 1973.
“As I recall, the very first meeting was held with Acel and Chuck Stone and me,” Lewis said in 2003 on the 30thanniversary of the founding of the organization. “The meeting was brief and we considered it bold back then. An association of BLACK journalists? Wow!”
Two years later, Lewis and many of PABJ's early members formed NABJ in Washington, DC.
"Founder Claude Lewis was a gentle giant and kind soul whose passion for equality and equal opportunity can be seen in his columns and life's work. He had a personal impact on the trajectory of many NABJ members, myself included, showing us all the way," said NABJ President Sarah Glover. "Claude lives on in all of us. I thank him for instilling in me, and my peers, a deep level of tenacity and commitment to the cause.”
Lewis also had an extensive career in broadcasting, writing and producing TV specials and documentaries. In 1982, he founded the country’s first national African-American newspaper, the National Leader.
“If you think back to that period, there weren’t many people doing what we do,” said Michael Days, editor of the Philadelphia Daily News. “There was Acel Moore and Edie Huggins – and there was Claude.”
PABJ would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to the Lewis family, including his wife Beverly and his children. A memorial service is planned for a later date.
The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (PABJ) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of journalists, students and media-related professionals, and to the promotion of diversity in the media. Formed in 1973, PABJ is the founding chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).
The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (PABJ) mourns the loss of Barbara Johnson, cofounder and managing editor of the Westside Weekly newspaper.
Johnson died Feb. 18 following a long illness at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby Borough.
"We are saddened by the loss of Barbara Johnson," said Melony Roy, PABJ president. “PABJ extends our deepest condolences to her husband Tyree and their loved ones.”
Barbara married Tyree Johnson in 1966, and the couple celebrated their 50th anniversary in November. Since 1989 when they launched the Westside Weekly, they have been an integral voice in the African American community in West Philadelphia. For years, Barbara and Tyree have worked as a "dynamic duo" steadfastly continuing a journalistic tradition that not only informed our community, but also entertained and brought us all together. Barbara was an example to all journalists of color and her voice, positive energy and efforts will undoubtedly be missed.
A viewing will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 24 at Bethany Missionary Baptist Church. A funeral service will follow at 11 a.m.