The first black president of the National Union of Journalists Lionel Morrison has died aged 81.
Born in South Africa in 1935, he was a member of the ANC and was the youngest person detained in the 1956 treason trial. After five months in prison, he sought exile in 1960 and came to Britain. He became president of the NUJ in 1987.
He worked at various newspapers including the Sunday People, Evening Standard, Sunday Mirror and Sunday Telegraph.
After working in journalism, he became principle information and public relations officer for the Commission for Racial Equality. He received an OBE in 1999.
NUJ president Tim Dawson said: “What shone through most of all was his commitment to black journalism and to black journalists playing an effective, high-profile role in the NUJ.”
NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “He served as a reminder of the necessity to demand equality and to fight prejudice, intolerance and ignorance.”
NUJ NEC member Jim Boumelha said: “From the fight against apartheid to championing race equality in journalism and the NUJ, he will be remembered for the countless struggles he led. He dedicated his life to serve and advocate for the rights of others, and spoke solidarity and humanity as a passionate and eloquent voice for the cause of justice.”
Radio host Lorraine King tweeted: “Sad news that Lionel Morrison OBE has passed away. An inspirational black journalist who helped pave the way for others of colour.”
Leeds University multimedia journalism professor Errol Murray tweeted: “Lionel Morrison gave me my first jobs in journalism. And the confidence to succeed.”
He is survived by his wife and two sons.
Lionel Morrison pictured above (left) with recipients of George Viner Memorial Fund grants