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5:03 AM / Wednesday April 8, 2020

25 Oct 2019

Former AP civil rights reporter Kathryn Johnson dies

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October 25, 2019 Category: Stateside Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: In this May 1964 file photo, Associated Press journalist, Kathryn Johnson sits at her desk in Atlanta. Johnson, a trailblazing reporter for The Associated Press, died Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, at the age of 93, in Atlanta. Her intrepid coverage of the Civil Rights Movement and other major stories led to a string of legendary scoops. Johnson was the only journalist allowed inside Martin Luther King Jr.’s home the day he was assassinated. (AP Photo, File)

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By Allen G. Breed

Kathryn Johnson, a trailblazing reporter for The Associated Press whose intrepid coverage of the Civil Rights Movement and other major stories led to a string of legendary scoops, died Wednesday. She was 93.

Her niece, Rebecca Winters, said Johnson died Wednesday morning in Atlanta. Johnson was the only journalist allowed inside Martin Luther King Jr.’s home the day he was assassinated. When Gov. George Wallace blocked Black students from entering the University of Alabama, she sneaked in to cover his confrontation with federal officials. She scored exclusive interviews with 2nd Lt. William L. Calley Jr. before he was convicted of his role in the My Lai massacre.

When she arrived at the King house, two reporters were chatting with a police officer on the porch. The front door opened, and Johnson could see Coretta Scott King in a pink nightgown, standing in the hall. “She spotted me and said, ‘Let Kathryn in,’” she recalled.

Johnson was at the home every day, giving the AP several scoops — including an 11-hour beat over archrival United Press International on the funeral arrangements.

She later wrote the book “My Time With the Kings,” which was published in 2016 and recollected her time covering the Civil Rights movement.

“Kathryn Johnson was essential reading on one of the most important stories of the 20th century,

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