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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BLACK, HILBERT NORMAN

BLACK, HILBERT NORMAN

BLACK, HILBERT NORMAN (3 Oct. 1929-25 Nov. 1981) earned a reputation as one of the top police reporters in the city's history during his 29-year career with the CLEVELAND PRESS. He was a native of St. Louis, Mo., the son of Robert and Mary Black. After service with the U.S. Army, he earned a journalism degree from Bowling Green State University in 1952. He joined the Press that summer as a copy aide and was assigned to the police beat the following year. By 1955, his reputation for accuracy and gaining the confidence of sources had resulted in his promotion to chief police reporter. He headed the paper's 7-man police beat for 15 years, until becoming assistant city editor in 1970. In that position, he was a key member of a team which won a CLEVELAND NEWSPAPER GUILD award for best news story in 1976 for its coverage of the Eddie Watkins bank robbery, siege, and capture. Black maintained his old network of contacts in his work on the city desk and took a special interest in the training of young African American reporters. He was also noted by fellow workers for his hobbies of woodworking and gourmet cooking. Black was a member of MT. ZION CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH and the NATIONAL ASS'N. FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE. He died from cancer, survived by his wife Judith, son Alan, and daughter Cristi. Buried at Highland Park Cemetery, he was inducted posthumously into the CLEVELAND JOURNALISM HALL OF FAME.