Thursday, November 09, 2006

An American Treasure Lost

This country has lost an American treasure. I’ve just learned famed “60 Minutes” correspondent Ed Bradley died today at Mount Sinai hospital in New York. A man known for his tenacious reporting, a pioneer in so many ways, has been taken from us prematurely.

Three weeks ago I was in New York and had the rare chance to spend a little time with the legendary newsman. What a treat it was. Though, he seemed a little aloof as though his mind was on something else. Sadly, it seems to make more sense now.

It’s a little surreal for someone to die not long after you see them.

Lets not forget, however, this is a man who lived an incredible life. As a child growing up in a rough section of Philadelphia, Bradley took to heart his parents inspiring words.

"I was told, 'You can be anything you want, kid,"' he said. "When you hear that often enough, you believe it."

Not only did he believe it, he achieved it.

A career that began as a teacher, ended with use of broadcasting as an educational instrument. Bradley throughout his career remained an educator.

After working for WCBS Newsradio in New York as the only African American on its news staff, he continued as the trailblazer for African Americans in television news and on television in general. He told an interviewer: "I think that I was thrown into the soup, and someone said, 'Negro, sink or swim.'"

At age 65, we bid farewell to a journalistic icon long before we should, but thankfully after he made monumental contributions that reach far beyond television news into greater society, touching many lives today.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Bradley’s wife, Patricia Blanchet and his relatives.