Remembering One of the First Black Reporters at the New York Times

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By Richard Horgan Comment

Late last month, just before the July 4 holiday, Layhmond Robinson Jr. passed away in Queens. He was 88.

A perfectly logical place to begin celebrating this journalist’s legacy is the obituary in the newspaper where he blazed a trail. From Daniel E. Slotnik’s article:

“There were, here and there, some black journalists with the white media,” Thomas A. Johnson, the first black reporter at Newsday and one of the first black foreign correspondents for the New York Times, wrote in an essay that appears on the website of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. “The fact that Carl T. Rowan, Robinson, Bob Teague, Ted Poston, Orrin Evans and some others had cleared that chasm encouraged a number of us to submit our applications to the dailies.”

Johnson officially joined the Times as a reporter in 1950 and remained at the paper until 1965, when he moved on to WABC-TV. He got his foot in the door the same way many since have: by interning, in 1949, post Columbia University graduation. RIP.

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