Mervin Aubespin, associate editor/development for the Louisville Courier-Journal, began his distinguished career at that newspaper as a news artist, creating charts and other graphic illustrations for news stories, in 1967. He was the first African American to hold that position.
Through his connections in the community, Aubespin had learned that a mass demonstration was being planned in Louisvilles West End in 1968. He suggested that a reporter be assigned. Since the newspaper had no black reporters at the time, the editors sent a white reporter and asked Aubespin to accompany him. But when anger over police mistreatment of a black citizenplus additional pent-up rage over the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. two months earlierturned the demonstration into a riot, Aubespin sent his white colleague back to the office for his safety. He then spent the next 48 hours reporting on the disturbances himself. Afterward, the Courier-Journal editors decided Aubespin would be more valuable to the paper as a reporter and asked him to join the newsroom staff.
After that baptism by fire, Aubespin continued his reporting duties and his journalistic education, attending the Minority Journalism Program at Columbia University in 1971. As president of the National Association of Black Journalists, he has since been involved in numerous international media activities and has built a reputation as an expert on racism and the media. Among many other awards, he has been honored for exemplary leadership in providing minorities employment opportunities in journalism.
Aubespin, who was born in 1937 in Opelousas, LouisianaCajun-Creole countryis a graduate of Tuskegee University. He credits a visit to Montgomery, AL during his college years as the inspiration for his life-long pattern of involvement in the civil rights movement.