NABJ Announces 2017 Hall of Fame Inductees

NABJ Announces 2017 Hall of Fame Inductees

WASHINGTON, D.C.  -- The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is pleased to announce its 2017 Hall of Fame class -- Michael Days, Rev. Aisha Karimah, John Jenkins and Garth C. Reeves, Sr. The induction ceremony will take place at the Hilton Riverside Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana on Aug. 11, 2017as part of NABJ's national convention. The Hall of Fame Award is the highest recognition given by the organization.

"NABJ is honored to recognize such an esteemed group of African American journalists whose works and lives have epitomized journalistic excellence and a spirit of love, faith and endurance during some very challenging times in our country and the industry," said NABJ President Sarah Glover. "These valiant soldiers without swords not only excelled in their chosen field, they also brought others along with them. We stand on their shoulders."

The 2017 NABJ Hall of Fame inductees are:


Michael Days

Has had an impressive career at numerous publications including Minneapolis Tribune, Gannett Rochester Newspapers, Louisville Courier-Journal, Wall Street Journal and Philadelphia Media Network, home of the Daily News - where he led Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage, and The Inquirer. A member of NABJ for 40 years, he also served as a regional director and vice president in the 1980s. He is an author of Obama's Legacy: What He Accomplished as President.

NABJ member Rodney Brooks said of Days, "He has hired dozens of young African American journalists and mentored dozens more, on both a personal and a professional level. Why else would a black man willingly go to South Dakota if not to be there for one of his mentees who was about to graduate with a degree in journalism? None of that should overshadow the fact that this is a man who, with his wife Angela, adopted four young brothers because they did not want to see them separated."

Days said word of his honor took him back to his first NABJ convention in 1977 at the Lord Baltimore Hotel in Maryland. It was there he made life-long friends and also first set eyes on the woman who would become his wife. He recalled a happy gathering, "hanging out in Acel Moore's suite with Reggie Stuart, following them around gaining wisdom."

"I've been in love with NABJ since I was a young man," said Days. "It's such an amazing honor to be selected. I'm humbled. I'm floored."

John Jenkins

Veteran photographer and television executive. Jenkins attended North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas) and was among the first African American journalists hired in the Dallas/Fort Worth market starting out as a newsroom trainee at KRLD-TV (now KDFW) in Dallas. Later, Jenkins became a full-time photographer at WFAA-TV. After years on the streets shooting news and sports, Jenkins moved into news management at KDAF-TV in Dallas. He went on to a news director role in Tyler, Texas, followed by management roles at KHOU-TV in Houston and KDFW-TV in Dallas/Fort Worth. Jenkins spent the last 16 years leading the management team at NBC5/ KXAS-TV. He is a long-time NABJ member, helping to form the DFW/ABC chapter, and the Society of Professional Journalists in 1981.

To say that Jenkins was surprised when he received word of his honor would be an understatement.

"I was flabbergasted," he said. "I am so honored because I never think about awards. I do what I do, I did what I did because it was the right thing to do. I take care of people and now that I am out of the newsroom I am not out of the lives of those I mentor."

NBC 5 Operations Manager Stephen Wright said, "John has been in the TV news business since the 1970s. He is a mentor, and most importantly a friend to everyone especially NABJ. Numerous news managers, anchor/reporters, producers, photojournalists say they owe their careers to Jenkins' guidance. He is one of a kind and has broken barriers and reached the highest standards in journalism."

Jenkins attributes many of the successes in his career to NABJ members including Paula Madison, Ruth Allen Ollison and Alexis Yancey, because the media "changed when we got on the management side." He says Madison and Ollison were "two of the toughest women managers I know."

"They taught me how to be a manager," he recalled. "I said if I ever get in a position I would mentor and help mature people into the business.  We have to empower those who are coming behind us."

Reverend Aisha Karimah

Prize-winning television producer worked in Washington, D.C. for NBC/News 4 for 46 years. Ms. Karimah also produced programs for the Howard University station WHUT-TV, which was known as WHMM-TV.

Reverend Karimah said she was writing a sermon when she received the call from President Glover that she was a 2017 inductee.

"I was feeling a little low, dealing with a lot of challenges," she recalled. "Her call lifted my spirit and all I could say was 'praise the Lord, God just does amazing things!'"

Then she said she started crying.

"I started thinking about my life. I was honored and overwhelmed," she continued, recounting a life that included welfare, working her first job at the age of 10 and eventually working for NBC in her hometown. "You know you can't fake it in your hometown. These people knew me and I went to work at NBC in 1969. People had protested. I was looking for a job. They needed black people."

Karimah retired in 2016 but she's just as active as part of the ministerial staff at Metropolitan AME Church where she said she continues, just like when she was at NBC, to address issues around social justice, community engagement, pipeline to prison, affordable housing and healthcare, because your work "ought to be a reflection of who you are."

Past NABJ President Dorothy Gilliam said of Karimah's work, "While demonization of African Americans existed, her programs demonstrated the ability of her viewers to excel despite negativity by stressing and spotlighting their remarkable resilience. Her programs elevated African Americans and celebrated diversity by presenting interracial dialogues."

Garth C. Reeves, Sr.

Publisher Emeritus of the Miami Times. A 1940 graduate of Florida A&M University, Reeves proudly boasts that he has had only one job in life and that has been working for the Miami Times, the newspaper his father founded in 1923. He said he was elated to be recognized by NABJ. 

"I feel honored to be honored by NABJ," he said. "I have admired the organization since it started. Black journalists and the Black Press are up against formidable foes and we have to keep fighting and not give up. It makes you feel good when you are recognized by your peers and being in the business, at 98, I feel good."

Reeves served for 10 years as president of the Amalgamated Publishers of New York City, which represented over 100 African American-owned newspapers throughout the United States. He was also elected to serve two terms as president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA).

In 1970, Reeves was named publisher and chief executive officer when his father passed. Reeves went on to become the first African American to serve on the governing boards of the Miami-Dade Community College, Barry University, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, and the United Way of Dade County. He also served as organizing chairman of the board for National Industrial Bank, which was the first integrated bank in the State of Florida. During the 1950s, Reeves worked to integrate the local beaches, parks, and golf courses.

Reeves is a life member of the NAACP, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and a founding member of the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in Miami, Florida. He was awarded Honorary Doctorate Degrees from the University of Miami, Barry University, Florida Memorial University, and most recently, Florida A&M University.

"I am so excited about this year's inductees," said NABJ Vice President Print Marlon Walker.  "Anyone who came through the FAMU Journalism School knows who Garth Reeves is and it is an honor to share this experience with him."

The NABJ Hall of Fame was created in 1990 when 10 distinguished historical journalists became its charter members. Since then, several of the nation's top journalists have been inducted, among them: Chuck Stone and all of the NABJ founders, Gwen Ifill, Robert Maynard, Lynn Norment, Ed Bradley and Carole Simpson. For a complete listing of previous inductees, visit www.nabj.org. 

"This year's Hall of Fame inductees are more than distinguished journalists," said NABJ Vice President Broadcast Dorothy Tucker. "They are humanitarians, philanthropists, mentors, advocates and just the type of people we want the world to know more about. We are so proud of this Class of 2017."

Tickets for the NABJ Hall of Fame luncheon on Friday, Aug. 11 are available  here.

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