Inez Baskin, Prominent Civil Rights Advocate, Dies

By: E&P Staff

Inez Baskin, a prominent civil rights advocate, died June 28 at the age of 91, according to wire reports.

Baskin, who rose from the position of typist at the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser to become the paper?s ?Negro News? writer, is most famous for riding one seat in front of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the Montgomery bus boycott in 1965. Her role in the boycott was a dual one, serving as both a supporter of the protest and as a journalist covering the historic event.

According to a profile of Baskin in the Advertiser, after her work as the Negro News writer for the paper developed, Baskin was contacted by Bob Johnson of Jet magazine, a black-owned national publication, to cover the boycott for the magazine as a stringer. Her work for Jet was broadcast nationwide through the American Negro Press (ANP), with which Jet was associated.

Baskin shared with the Advertiser her eye-opening experiences as a black woman on the frontlines of the national fight for civil rights. She told of the night in which she and ANP photographer Arthur Freeman drove to the house of a local black family where the Ku Klux Klan had burned a cross on their lawn.

?After the incident,? wrote Teri Greene of the Advertiser, ?the Klan rode through town; [Baskin] remembers glancing into cars and seeing only white sheets.?

Baskin continued to be active in civil rights awareness throughout her life, traveling the country to speak to young people. She produced a quarterly newsletter titled ?The Monitor? until the end of her life.

At Edinboro University in Pennsylvania, a scholarship was established in her honor.

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