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Civil Rights Journalist Karl Fleming Dies at 84

Civil Rights journalist Karl Fleming was almost killed by gunfire covering the civil rights movement in the south. He was beaten badly in the 1966 Watts riots in Los Angeles.

Karl Fleming died of a respiratory illness at his home in Los Angeles August 11, 2012.

He was one of the first reporters to cover the Mississippi voters registration drive where three volunteers were murdered, was in Tuscaloosa when Gov. George Wallace blocked the schoolhouse door as two black students attempted to enroll at the University of Alabama, and just days later was covering the murder of civil rights leader, Medgar Evers.

Fleming was born in Newport News, Va. and ended up living out his childhood in an orphanage after his biological father died, mother contracted tuberculosis, and step father passed away. He knew what it meant to be treated differently. To be treated badly.

After serving in the Navy he reported for the Atlantic Constitution. In 1961 was picked up by Newsweek and was soon covering the Ku Klux Klan and church bombings.

In 1965 he was appointed to Newsweek at the Los Angeles Bureau.

“If I was a young black man growing up on the streets of Watts,” he wrote in his book, “seeing what they had seen and going through what I know what they went through to survive, I might feel like hitting some white guy in the head, too.”

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