News reporter Malvin “Mal” Russell Goode was the first African-American to hold a regular job on-air in journalism. Goode covered civil rights marches and made sure that the issues surrounding African-Americans were known to the public.
Goode was born in White Plains, Virginia. He was educated in the public school system of Homestead, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1931. He worked for 12 years as a laborer in the steel mills while in high school and college.
He worked for the Pittsburgh Housing Authority for six years and with the Pittsburgh Courier for 14 years. In 1962, he became the first Black person to work as a news correspondent for an American television network (ABC) as a United Nations reporter. Goode’s first assignment was covering the Cuban Missile Crisis; he distinguished himself with incisive TV and radio reports during the long hours of debate at the UN.
In 1963, he worked together with his peers to conduct courses in journalism for over 100 African students in Lagos, Nigeria; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Goode refused to accept stories that only related to African-Americans; he wanted a chance to make a difference in the lives of all people.
Goode was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, and covered the assassination of his fellow fraternity brother, Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968. He also became the first Black member of the National Association of Radio and Television News Directors in 1971. Malvin R. Goode died on September 12, 1995.
Yes, Mr. Mal Goode was a Historic, and well loved, trailblazer in television news.
When first arriving in Washington, DC, I was “hired” to plan and produce what turned out to be a
VERY, VERY SPECIAL tribute to this legendary news journalist by the now defunct, Black Media
Coalition. The evening was one for the ages, and was attended by a Who’s Who list of those folks
who had nothing but love and respect for him. All of the Big Wigs at ABC News showed up, as well
as my Chicago Friend and Associate, Mr. Robert Sengstacke, CEO of Sengstacke Publishing/Chicago
My former, Chicago Client, Mr. John H. Johnson, also bought an entire table at the event, And, the event
was MC’s by the illustrious and popular News Anchor, Ed Bradley. Oh what a night it was.
And although I was not able to get Natalie Cole to perform live; as she and her unpresidented video featuring she and her
Dad, the famouse Nat King Cole, she did gift Mr. Goode with her then newly released and signed by her,, Musical CD
“Unforgettable”featuring she and her Dad both singing his Signature Song, which she autographed. We ended the evening
with that video..
It was an amazing evening, and even his family talked about how he raved at the Caliber of the program,
and the SOLD OUT EVENING. Mr. Goode was loved by HIS FAMILY AND EVERYONE WHO KNEW
OF HIM. He was down to Earth and lovable.
Virtually all of the Top Executives of ABC News attended the event, along with a long litany of Who’s Who
in media. Yes, he had an amazing life, as well as did the many dignitaries who showed up to celebrate the
legacy of this beloved trailblazing GIANT. It was a night to be remembered.
His family sent me a thoughtful “Thank You Card” and commented to me that he was overjoyed with the
special evening, and that he expressed the sentiment that it was the BEST EVENING celebrating his legacy
that he had ever experienced [their words not mine], including his being honored at the White House.
I will never forget the excitement of that night,and seeing how LOVED HE WAS BY EVERYONE. May
this Trailblazing Journalist and Giant Among Men RIP.