Booker's recently published book, Shocking the Conscience: A Reporter's Account of the Civil Rights Movement, recounts the days when "the man from Jet" regularly put his life on the line as he ventured into the deep South to cover lunch counter sit-ins, the Selma to Montgomery march, and other events that eventually forced open the region's schools, public accommodations and voting booths to people of all races.
The book was written in collaboration with the author's wife, Carol McCabe Booker, an attorney and former journalist. Lecture series coordinator John Franzén coordinated a discussion with both Bookers at the end of the lecture.
Born in Maryland in 1918 and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, Simeon Booker contributed pieces to the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper while still in high school and landed a full-time reporting job there after graduating from Virginia Union University. He later wrote for the Cleveland Call and Post and was awarded a Nieman Fellowship for a year of study at Harvard University.
In 1951 Booker became the first black staff reporter at The Washington Post. He left after two years to serve as an associate editor at Jet and Ebony magazines. He became the magazines' Washington bureau chief and White House correspondent in 1955 and continued in those roles for 52 years, covering 10 presidents and virtually every major story of the modern civil rights movement. He is remembered especially for his courageous reporting on the 1955 killing of Chicago teenager Emmett Till in Mississippi and the subsequent murder trial, a case that sparked outrage among African Americans and new demands for justice.
The Bookers have lived on Capitol Hill since 1973.