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We were saddened by the death last month of Samuel F. Yette, a man whose influence still will be felt decades from now.
Yette, a Harriman man who was schooled at Rockwood’s famed Campbell High School for black children, left his mark as a journalist.
He covered many significant Civil Rights Era events for Newsweek magazine and also for LIFE magazine.
He lost his job at Newsweek after he wrote his plain-spoken, then-controversial book, “The Choice: Black Survival in the United States.”
Yette contended that his supervisors told him the Nixon White House was putting pressure on them to get rid of him because he was exposing what he called high-level attempts at Black genocide through public policy.
Yette’s book is now required reading at many top colleges.
Yette, already a journalist and an author, went on to teach. He applied much of the caring, one-on-one style he received at Campbell High School to help mentor his students at Howard University.
More recently, he became writer-in-residence at Knoxville College, but illness struck before he was able to hit his stride on the educational scene closer to home.
We wonder how many people here in Roane County understand the significance of Yette’s life and work, or the amazing contributions Campbell High School made to our area and beyond.
In honor of February, Black History Month, we hope some of you will attempt to learn more about both.
You will be rewarded for your efforts.