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2     WHEREAS, The members of the Senate of the State of Illinois
3 learned with great sorrow of the death of Vernon Jarrett on
4 Sunday, May 23, 2004; and
5     WHEREAS, Mr. Jarrett was a leading African-American
6 journalist whose reports and columns appeared in the Chicago
7 Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Chicago Daily Defender;
8 and
9     WHEREAS, Mr. Jarrett was born in Paris, Tennessee, to two
10 schoolteachers whose parents were former slaves; he graduated
11 from Knoxville (Tennessee) College; and
12     WHEREAS, Mr. Jarrett covered a race riot on his first day
13 as a reporter for the Chicago Defender in 1946, and was
14 delighted to see his byline appear alongside those of the
15 activist W.E.B. DuBois and poet Langston Hughes; from 1948 to
16 1951, Mr. Jarrett and composer Oscar Brown Jr. produced "Negro
17 Newsfront", the nation's first daily radio broadcast created by
18 African Americans; he also worked for the Associated Negro
19 Press; and
20     WHEREAS, Mr. Jarrett became the Chicago Tribune's first
21 African-American columnist in 1970; he used his editorial voice
22 as a forum for commentary on the social and economic trends
23 affecting African Americans and the global concerns of
24 pan-African politics; in 1983, he took his column to the
25 Chicago Sun-Times, where he served on the editorial board and
26 worked until 1994; he was known to be a distinctive voice, not
27 only for the African-American community, but for all of
28 Chicago; in his position as a columnist for the Sun-Times, he
29 was a mentor to any reporter who sought his counsel; and
30     WHEREAS, Mr. Jarrett produced nearly 2,000 broadcasts on



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1 WLS-Channel 7; he was a founder of the National Association of
2 Black Journalists and served as its president from 1977 to
3 1979; he was current president of the group's Chicago chapter;
4 also in 1977, he created the NAACP-sponsored ACT-SO program, or
5 Academic, Cultural, Technological, and Scientific Olympics;
6 ACT-SO has awarded more than $1,000,000 in scholarships,
7 computers, and books to thousands of students; he also served
8 as a member of the editorial board of the NAACP's 90-year-old
9 Crisis Magazine; in addition, he was a senior fellow at the
10 University of Illinois at Chicago and taught history and
11 journalism at other colleges; and
12     WHEREAS, In 1998, Mr. Jarrett was inducted into the
13 National Literary Hall of Fame at the University of Chicago's
14 Gwendolyn Brooks Center; the National Academy of Television
15 Arts and Sciences awarded him its Silver Circle Award,
16 recognizing his 30 years of contributions to the medium; he was
17 honored with the first NAACP James Weldon Johnson Achievement
18 Award; and
19     WHEREAS, In recent years, Mr. Jarrett was a columnist for
20 the New York Times' New American News Syndicate and his social
21 commentary was heard during "The Jarrett Journal", a news
22 broadcast on WVON-AM, Chicago's only African-American owned
23 radio station; and
24     WHEREAS, Mr. Jarrett had a passion for writing, was an avid
25 reader, especially of history, and was a chronicler of black
26 politics nationwide; and
27     WHEREAS, The passing of Vernon Jarrett has been deeply felt
28 by many especially his wife, Fernetta; his son, Thomas; and his
29 three grandchildren; therefore, be it
31 ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we mourn the passing of



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1 Vernon Jarrett, a pioneer for African-American journalists who
2 demonstrated the highest ideals of journalism and community
3 responsibility; and be it further
4     RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be
5 presented to the family of Vernon Jarrett as an expression of
6 our sincerest condolences during their time of bereavement.