Longtime journalist and champion of the Black press, George Curry, passed away on Saturday of a heart attack in Maryland at the age of 69.

The loss has sent the world of many African-American journalists into a tailspin.

Curry was most known for being Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning Emerge Magazine, which set the standard for numerous publications and influenced a generation of journalists, political activists, politicians, and the African-American community with its controversial covers, as well as its poignant editorial content.

On Monday, Roland Martin and a select group of guests paid homage to Curry during a special edition of NewsOne Now.

In the video clip above, Kemba Smith – who was profiled first nationally by George Curry in Emerge, and was later pardoned by President Bill Clinton after serving six years of a 24-year mandatory minimum sentence for conspiracy to participate in her boyfriend’s drug activities (a non-violent, first-time offense) – shared the profound impact Curry had on her life.

George dealt with issues that sometimes people did not want to face or deal with and so I’m very grateful, he’s changed my life tremendously because of this story,” she said.

Watch a few excerpts from today’s edition of NewsOne Now as we celebrate the life and legacy of one of our own, George Curry. Today’s panel also included Lauren Victoria Burke, Hazel Trice Edney, Spencer Overton, and Clarence Page.

Rev. Jesse Jackson Reflects On The Life Of George Curry

Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., a long-time friend of George Curry, spoke with Roland Martin via phone and shared his reflections on the legendary journalist during Monday’s special edition of NewsOne Now.

Rev. Jackson told Martin, Curry had “all the tools and used them for the betterment of all of us.

I’m just so grateful to George Curry for his work, for his legacy.”

Watch Rev. Jesse Jackson share some of his memories of George Curry in the video clip above.

Ed Gordon: George Curry‬’s ‘Voice Was Unwavering For Our Community’

Ed Gordon, who was the host of BET’s Lead Story, joined Roland Martin on NewsOne Now to share his memories of George Curry.

Gordon explained, “George was one of those voices that was unwavering for our community.” 

“What I loved about George Curry was, is no matter who you were, he made a way for you,” said Gordon. “He was a trailblazer and he wasn’t afraid to share the spotlight.” 

Gordon recalled a time when he first started in journalism, Curry became a mentor who rallied for him as his success began to grow.

He later added that Curry’s passing “is a tremendous loss to our community – with a voice that has done nothing but been outstanding and upstanding for all of us.”

Watch Ed Gordon share his reflections on George Curry in the video clip above.

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

Watch NewsOne Now with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

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