December 13th in African American History – Dale Raymond Wright

December 13, 2009 Dale Raymond Wright, award-winning and barrier-breaking journalist, died.

Wright was born July 19, 1923 in Monongahela, Pennsylvania. He was among the first group of African Americans to serve in the United States Marine Corps during World War II and attained the rank of staff sergeant. After the war, he earned his undergraduate degree from Howard University and graduated with honors from the Ohio State University Columbus School of Journalism in 1950.

Wright integrated the newsroom of the now defunct New York World Telegram and Sun where he wrote a ten-part undercover investigative series about the conditions of migrant farmers that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He later turned those articles into a book, “They Harvest Despair: The Migrant Farm Worker,” which was published in 1965. Wright also served as editor of Jet and Ebony Magazines. Wright’s awards include the Heywood Broun Memorial for most distinguished reporting in the United States and Canada, the Paul Tobenkin Memorial for best news writing in the U.S. on racial intolerance and bigotry, and the Gentry Award for Outstanding Achievement.

For 20 years, Wright owned and operated Dale Wright and Associates, a public relations firm serving the needs of emerging and established New York City area black businesses. He also served as press secretary and public relations director to New York politicians, including Mayor Ed Koch, Senator Jacob Javits, and Governor Nelson Rockefeller.

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