Frank E. Bolden, who was one of two accredited black war correspondents during World War II, died on Aug. 29. Cause of death was not released. He was 90.
Bolden studied law and biology at the University of Pittsburgh. By playing his clarinet, he became the first African American in the Pittsburgh marching band, an activity that saved him $50 in tuition each year. To make extra cash, he also began stringing for The Pittsburgh Courier, a leading black newspaper.
Upon graduation, Bolden applied for medical school but was turned down because at that time, blacks were not allowed admittance. After his application to teach public school was also refused, Bolden returned to The Courier to cover the Hill District as a general assignment and features reporter.
When the U.S. entered World War II, Bolden became an overseas correspondent, covering the black troops fighting in Italy, Japan and India. During the course of his travels, Bolden interviewed a variety of historical figures, from President Franklin Roosevelt to Winston Churchill, from Joseph Stalin to Gandhi. He filed his stories with the National Negro Publishers Association, which then distributed the copy to black newspapers in the U.S.
Bolden returned to The Courier after the war, and worked for the publication until 1962. He later took on assignments with The New York Times, NBC radio and television and the “Huntley-Brinkley Report.” He received numerous honors, including the George Polk Award and the Lifetime Achievement Golden Quill Award.
“I wasn’t the best, but I always thought I was the right fellow to be at the right spot at the right time,” Bolden once said.