Judith Cummings, Former New York Times Bureau Chief, Dies

The veteran journalist was found dead in her Detroit home.

Posted: 05/15/2014 12:07 PM EDT
Judith Cummings, Former New York Times Bureau Chief, Dies

Judith Cummings, a veteran journalist, was found dead in her Detroit home on May 6. The cause of death has not been determined.

Cummings was the first African-American to be in charge of a national bureau at the New York Times in 1985. Cummings was born on Dec. 27, 1945, in Detroit and attended Howard University, where she received her bachelor's degree in 1967. 

In 1971, her career in journalism began after she was recruited by the Times in their minority training program. Prior to this, she was a speech writer for Clifford L. Alexander Jr., the head of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington, D.C. 

From 1972 to 1979, Cummings was a general assignment reporter for the Times, where she covered crime and major events in New York City. Unsatisfied with the fact that Blacks and other minorities were pigeonholed into covering local beats, she joined others in filing a federal lawsuit against the paper for neglecting to promote journalists of color to cover national stories. 

The Times agreed in a settlement to expand their minority hiring, training and promotional practices. Cummings became a correspondent for the Los Angeles area in September 1981 and became the bureau chief four years later.

In 1988, Cummings retired to care for her parents. 

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(Photo: The Detroit Free Press)

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