Little Known Black History Fact: Gil Noble

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  • Broadcast journalist Gil Noble was a pioneer in TV broadcasting and a well-known reporter during the civil rights era. Gil Noble has produced the largest collection of programs and documentaries on the African-American experience. Some of his key interviews were with Malcolm X, Fannie Lou Hamer, Dr. Martin Luther King, President Nelson Mandela, Lena Horne, Muhammad Ali and Arthur Ashe.

    Through a New York television show called “Like It Is,” Noble hoped to correct the stereotypical views of blacks in the media, showing truth through documentary films.

    Noble produced the first documentary on Paul Robeson called, “The Tallest Tree in Our Forest.” Other notables for his films were W.E.B. DuBois and Charlie Parker.

    Born in Harlem, Noble was encouraged by musician friend Erroll Garner to study music. He started an impressive trio and played throughout his college career. After graduation, Noble pursued acting and modeling, taking voice-over and commercial jobs. He was introduced to broadcasting by taking a low-level job in a newsroom. Noble’s big break came in 1967 when the TV station manager asked him to cover a tough civil rights story in Newark, New Jersey’s Central Ward. Noble was made a reporter for his groundbreaking coverage.

    Throughout his career, Noble collected seven Emmy Awards and over 650 community awards.

    Gil Noble passed away on April 5th from stroke complications dating back to last year. His funeral service was held at Abyssinian Baptist Church Friday, April 13, 2012. The church was filled with 300 mourners and former Mayor David Dinkins, actor Danny Glover, WABC-TV President Dave Davis, and Minister Louis Farrakhan gave speeches.

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