White House To Honor Reporter From FDR Administration

By: AP Email
By: AP Email
The White House Correspondents

MGN Online

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House Correspondents' Association is honoring a black reporter it once spurned.

The association is naming a scholarship for the first black reporter to cover a White House press conference, Harry McAlpin.

In 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt granted McAlpin clearance to attend press conferences in the Oval Office, despite complaints from the correspondents association. McAlpin went on to become a fixture for the black press at the White House during the Roosevelt and Truman administrations. The correspondents association never granted him membership.

The WHCA will present a journalism student with a scholarship bearing McAlpin's name at its dinner with President Barack Obama on Saturday night. McAlpin's son Sherman, who lives in Maryland, will also attend the dinner and meet with the president.

Before McAlpin, minority reporters had been excluded from many official Washington news conferences.

That changed after the creation of the National Negro Publishers Association in 1941. John Sengstacke, the publisher of the Chicago Defender and one of the creators of the NNPA, opened a Washington bureau for the Defender and hired McAlpin, a lawyer, as a part-time correspondent.

During a discussion with Attorney General Francis Biddle about the black press' war coverage, Sengstacke suggested the attorney general ask the White House to allow a black reporter into its news conferences.


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