Bill Crider, Former AP Newsman, Dies at 83

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(AP) Bill Crider, a former newsman with The Associated Press, died Sunday after a long illness, his family said. He was 83.

Crider had been living in Sky Valley, Ga., since his retirement in 1985. He returned to New Orleans earlier this year when his health failed, family members said.

Admired by fellow reporters for his colorful writing, Crider covered hurricanes, riots and politics during his career with the AP. He also was a member of the AP civil rights team in the 1960s, covering the struggles of desegregation across the South.

A turning point in his career came in 1962 when he was shot in the back during the riots over integration at the University of Mississippi.

Surviving the incident, he went on to cover the murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers, the slaying of three civil rights workers at Philadelphia, Miss., as well as the trial of Byron de la Beckwith, who was accused of killing Evers.

Born William Calvin Crider Jr., in Rome, Ga., he left home during the Depression. He also worked for the Chattanooga (Tenn.) News-Free Press.

Crider spent 14 years at the Memphis bureau before transferring to New Orleans. He entered the news industry in 1947 after serving six years with the Navy. He had no college education, but he lied about it in his interview at the Chattanooga (Tenn.) News-Free Press, where he got his first newspaper job.

His editor discovered the lie and protested that Crider had no experience. Crider said he replied, “No, and I’m not going to get any, either, unless you hire me.”

Following his retirement, Crider traveled to Singapore for two years and headed a writing team at a tabloid called The New Paper.

Survivors include his wife, Sammie; two sons; three daughters; two stepdaughters; a brother and sister.

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