National Press Club

'Shocking the Conscience': Simeon Booker raps about book at National Press Club

April 10, 2013 | By Jeffery King | jefferyking86@hotmail.com

Former NPC president Larry Lipman introduces journalist Simeon Booker (center left) before a National Press Club Book Rap,  April 9, 2013.  Also seated are his wife, Carol McCabe Booker and SiriusXM Radio host Joe Madison.

Former NPC president Larry Lipman introduces journalist Simeon Booker (center left) before a National Press Club Book Rap, April 9, 2013. Also seated are his wife, Carol McCabe Booker and SiriusXM Radio host Joe Madison.

Photo/Image: Noel St. John

Simeon Booker, the second African-American to become a National Press Club member, a Fourth Estate winner, a Golden Owl, the first African-American reporter for the Washington Post and Jet Magazine's White House correspondent for a half-century, discussed his book Shocking the Conscience: A Reporter's Account of the Civil Rights Movement at at an NPC Book Rap on April 9.

Booker and his wife and co-author, Carol McCabe Booker, were interviewed about their book by Joe Madison, known to listeners of SiriusXM radio as “The Black Eagle.” Booker was one of the great reporters of the civil-rights era and that Jet Magazine and Ebony were very important at that time, Madison said.

Booker was one ot the few brave reporters -- African-American or white -- to investigate lynchings and murders of black people. He recounted his coverage of the drive-by shooting of Mississippi voting rights activist Rev. George W. Lee, followed months later by the murder of a 14-year-old Chicago boy, Emmett Till, visiting his great uncle in Mississippi, Till was dragged from his bed and brutally murdered for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Booker’s Jet coverage of the bizarre murder trial is credited with galvanizing the modern civil-rights movement.

Booker related how an irate President Lyndon B. Johnson summoned Booker’s boss, John H. Johnson (no relation), to the White House for a dressing down in January 1964. President Johnson complained that Booker’s coverage of the first weeks of his administration was unfairly critical and wanted it to stop. Asked what publisher Johnson did when he left the White House, Booker chuckled, “he went back to Chicago.”