‘OUR HERO’

Crusading Black journalist George E. Curry was celebrated during a rousing homegoing service in his hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama before being interred in a ‘sacred place of resting.’

BY THE FLORIDA COURIER STAFF

Editor’s note: Click here to view a pictorial slideshow of Curry’s homegoing service photographed and edited by Florida Courier Publisher Charles W. Cherry II. 

TUSCALOOSA, ALA. – Renowned civil rights and political journalist George E. Curry, the dean of Black press columnists because of his riveting weekly commentary in Black newspapers across the country, was remembered as a legend during a Friday night viewing and memorial service and a Saturday morning homegoing service last week.

Mourners stood and sang “We Shall Overcome” as George E. Curry’s homegoing service ended at Weeping Mary Baptist Church. (PHOTOS BY CHARLES W. CHERRY II / FLORIDA COURIER)
Mourners stood and sang “We Shall Overcome” as George E. Curry’s homegoing service ended at Weeping Mary Baptist Church.
(PHOTOS BY CHARLES W. CHERRY II / FLORIDA COURIER)

Curry died suddenly of heart failure on Saturday, Aug. 20. He was 69.

“He stood tall. He helped pave the way for other journalists of color to do their jobs without the questions and doubts,” said the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. with whom Curry traveled extensively, including to the funeral of President Nelson Mandela.

“He was a proud and tireless advocate of the Black press, serving two tours as editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s news service.”

Returned home
Having grown up in Tuscaloosa during the height of racial segregation, Curry often said he “fled Alabama” and vowed never to return when he went away to college.

However, Curry’s fiancée, Elizabeth “Ann” Ragland, said he always told her to return him home to Tuscaloosa upon his death.

SCLC connection
Curry was connected to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) through his longtime childhood friend, confidant and ally in civil rights, Dr. Charles Steele, the SCLC’s current president.

Steele and Curry grew up together in Tuscaloosa where they played football at Druid High School.

Curry bloomed as a civil rights and sports writer as Steele grew into a politician and civil rights leader.

Steele’s family-owned funeral home, Van Hoose and Steele, was in charge of arrangements. Steele also presided over Curry’s memorial service and homegoing service.

Information from the Trice Edney News Wire was used for this report.

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1. George Curry’s fiancée, Elizabeth “Ann” Ragland, looks on as Curry’s remains are placed into the waiting hearse.

2. Kemba Smith Pradia called Curry “our hero” for publishing Emerge magazine stories that led to President Bill Clinton commuting her 24-year prison sentence.

3. Eulogist Rev. Al Sharpton, right, is urged on by Curry’s best friend, Dr. Charles Steele.

4. Two Curry fans traveled from Atlanta to attend the homegoing service.

5. Florida Courier Publisher Charles W. Cherry II and Van Hoose & Steele Funeral Home assistant Tony Jones witnessed Curry’s burial as required under Alabama law.

6. Southern Christian Leadership Conference members pay their respects at Curry’s resting place.

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