In 1944, Harry McAlpin became the first African American reporter to cover a presidential news conference, but when he tried to join the all-white White House Correspondents’ Association, his membership request was rejected. They even tried to block his access to the Oval Office for news conferences.
A reporter for the Atlanta Daily World, McAlpin said 10 years later on an Edward R. Murrow radio program, "It takes a great deal of patience to accept the customs of some sections and communities," he said. "Trying to live up to my beliefs often has subjected me to both praise and criticism. How wise I have been in my choices may be known only to God."
70 years later, the Association posthumously honored McAlpin and created a scholarship in his name at its 100th anniversary dinner Saturday night. McAlpin’s son, Sherman McAlpin, was there to accept the honor on his father’s behalf.
"Harry McAlpin is someone who should be recognized and shouldn't be forgotten," National Journal correspondent George Condon, the association's unofficial historian, said this week during a panel discussion about diversity and the White House press corps.
McAlpin died in 1985.
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