Dexter Eure, 91, Boston Globe's pioneering black columnist

From the Boston Globe’s Bryan Marquard:

A passage from “Common Ground,” J. Anthony Lukas’s landmark book on Boston school desegregation, recounts Dexter D. Eure Sr.’s jump from the Globe’s circulation department to the newsroom in 1968, just after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

The Globe “took a hard look at its news staff — then employing just two blacks above the rank of clerk,” Lukas wrote, and editor Thomas Winship tapped Mr. Eure “to write the paper’s first black column, ‘Tell It Like It Is.’ ” Sometimes using a question-and-answer format, Mr. Eure provided blacks in leadership roles a chance to speak at length to readers. Often, though, he used his own powerful voice to add a perspective that had been missing in the paper.

He chastised liberals in Newton for the subtle racism of resisting low-income housing and shined a light on the lack of blacks in the Massachusetts judiciary. He also didn’t shy from biting the hand the fed him. One column criticized major businesses and institutions in Boston for employing few blacks or none at all. Among those falling short, he wrote, were the city’s newspapers and radio and television stations, which had “yet to find or train a black editor, news, or program director.”

The time had arrived, he wrote in October 1970, “to see that the percentage of blacks in management jobs equals the percentage of blacks in the local population,” adding that “anything less than this is tokenism and a fraud.”

Mr. Eure, who spent 25 years at the Globe, retiring in 1988 as director of community relations, died July 2 in Presentation Rehabilitation & Skilled Care Center in Brighton of complications from dementia. He was 91 and had lived in Boston, and previously in Sharon, since the mid-1960s.

“He was an amazing character, almost the conscience of the owners when it came to inclusion and diversity,” said Gregory L. Moore, who formerly was managing editor of the Globe and is now editor of The Denver Post.

Mr. Eure arrived at the Globe in 1963, when the number of blacks on the paper’s payroll might be counted on one hand with fingers to spare. He put his position and power to use when he became a columnist and an executive at a time when the Taylor family owned the Globe and Winship was reinvigorating the newsroom.

Read the rest of the Globe’s story on Eure’s passing here.