I have known David Halberstam for almost 50 years. He was one of America’s most gifted journalists. His dogged determination to expose the truth exemplifies the true value of an independent, conscientious press.

His work on the Vietnam War helped Americans and policymakers understand the impact of foreign policy, and it helped bring an unjust war to an end. I have often said that without the members of the media, the Civil Rights Movement would have been like a bird without wings. David Halberstam, as a reporter for The Nashville Tennessean, was a sympathetic referee who helped to convey the depth of injustice in the South as well as the heart and soul of a movement that would transform America. We talked to him because we trusted him. We trusted that he would get the story right, and we believed he would be fair. He was deeply moved and affected by the discipline, the commitment, and the dedication of the young people in the Nashville Movement because they were prepared to face violence with non-violence and peace.

The nation has lost one of its prolific writers, but I feel like I have lost a very good friend, a companion in the struggle for civil rights and social justice in America.