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Obituaries in the News

May 24, 2004

Vernon Jarrett

CHICAGO (AP) _ Veteran journalist and broadcaster Vernon Jarrett, a prominent commentator on race relations and African American history, died Sunday. He was 84.

During his career, Jarrett interviewed such civil rights leaders as W.E.B. DuBois, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and Roy Wilkins, as well as boxers Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson.

He became the first black syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune in 1970.

Jarrett had been undergoing treatment for cancer of the esophagus, said his son, Thomas, 48, who works at WLS-TV.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson was at Jarrett’s bedside when he died.

Jarrett began his career in the 1940s at the Chicago Defender and later worked for the Associated Negro Press before making the transition to radio in 1948.

He then spent three years co-producing Negro Newsfront, believed to have been the nation’s first daily radio newscast created by African Americans.

While writing for the Tribune, Jarrett also began a 30-year association with ABC’s WLS-TV, where he produced some 1,600 shows and commentaries.

In 1983, Jarrett left the Tribune and moved to the Chicago Sun-Times, where he served as columnist and editorial board member until 1995.

Jarrett was a founder and former president of the 3,000-member National Association of Black Journalists, which had planned to present him with its legacy award at its annual convention in August.

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