Moneta Sleet Jr.

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Moneta Sleet Jr.
Moneta Sleet Jr.jpg
Born (1926-02-14)February 14, 1926
Died September 30, 1996(1996-09-30) (aged 70)
Known for Photography

Moneta J. Sleet Jr. (February 14, 1926 - September 30, 1996) was an American press photographer best known for his work as a staff photographer for Ebony magazine. In 1969 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for his photograph of Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King Jr.'s widow, at her husband's funeral. Sleet was the first African-American man to win the Pulitzer, and the first African American to win the award for journalism.[1][2] He died of cancer in 1996 at the age of 70.[3]

Early life and education

Sleet was born in Owensboro, Kentucky.[4] He was editor of the school newspaper at Western High School, his alma mater.[5] He graduated cum laude from Kentucky State College (now Kentucky State University), a historically black college, in 1947 and went on to obtain a master's degree in journalism from New York University.[4][4][6]

Ebony magazine

Sleet began working for Ebony magazine in 1955.[2] Over the next 41 years, he captured photos of young Muhammad Ali, Dizzy Gillespie, Stevie Wonder, and Billie Holiday. He gained the affection and esteem of many civil rights leaders, many of whom called on him by name. When Coretta Scott King found out that no black photographers had been assigned to cover her husband's funeral service, she demanded that Sleet be a part of the press pool. If he wasn't, she threatened to bar all photographers from the service.[7] Besides his photo of Coretta Scott King, he also captured grieving widow Betty Shabazz at the funeral of her husband Malcolm X.[1] His collection Special Moments in African American History: The photographs of Moneta Sleet Jr. 1955-1996 was published posthumously in 1999.

Personal life

Sleet is the father of Gregory M. Sleet, a judge on the United States District Court for the District of Delaware.

Sleet, while a resident of Baldwin, NY, died of cancer at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center on September 30, 1996.

See also


  1. ^ a b Fraser, C. Gerald (1986-10-19). "The Vision of Moneta Sleet in Show". The New York Times. Retrieved 2006-12-22.
  2. ^ a b "Moneta Sleet, photographer of excellence". African American Registry. Archived from the original on 2006-12-06. Retrieved 2006-12-22.
  3. ^ "Moneta J. Sleet Jr., Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photographer, Eulogized in New York". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. 1996-10-21. pp. 12–18.
  4. ^ a b c "Journalism Hall of Fame". University of Kentucky. 2004-08-09. Retrieved 2006-12-22.
  5. ^ "Late EBONY Photographer Moneta J. Sleet Jr. Remembered With Historical Marker In Kentucky, His Home State". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. 2000-03-20. pp. 14–16.
  6. ^ "Notable KSU Alumni". Kentucky State University. Archived from the original on December 12, 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-22.
  7. ^ "Moneta Sleet Jr., 70, Civil Rights Era Photographer, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
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