Award-winning Associated Press reporter Kathryn Johnson, the only journalist allowed inside Martin Luther King Jr.’s home the day he was assassinated in 1968, has passed away at the age of 93 in Atlanta.
The AP called Johnson "a trailblazing reporter … whose intrepid coverage of the civil rights movement and other major stories led to a string of legendary scoops.”
She was originally offered a secretarial job at the wire service in 1947. But after the American Newspaper Guild interceded 12 years later, Johnson was offered a writing job, covering the civil rights beat.
“I was never ambitious, really, anxious to make money ...” she said in a 2007 interview, adding said also she didn’t want to be bored. "In most of my career, I really wasn’t.”
Johnson won several awards in 1963 after sneaking out of a locked press holding room to cover Alabama Gov. George Wallace's (D) confrontation with federal officials when he blocked black students from entering the University of Alabama that year.
“Kathryn Johnson was essential reading on one of the most important stories of the 20th century, and she did it by being at the center of the action, close to the most important newsmakers,” AP executive editor Sally Buzbee said in an obituary published Wednesday.
Johnson also worked for CNN from 1988-1999.