Moneeta Sleet Jr. spent over four decades shooting some of Black America’s most lasting images for EBONY magazine. He is the first African-American to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize.
Sleet was born in Owens, Ky. On February 14, 1926. He attended what is now known as Kentucky State University as a business major before catching the photography bug. Sleet’s time at school was interrupted by a brief stint in military service during World War II. Sleet eventually went on to obtain a master’s in photography.
In 1955, Sleet began working as a photojournalist with EBONY Magazine. From the March on Washington most candid moments, to snapping several Black celebrities and entertainers, he developed a reputation for capturing the Black experience within his lenses.
Sleet’s award-winning photo came via a shot he took of Coretta Scott King and her daughter Bernice, at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral. His works have been on display in galleries and museums all around the country.
In 1996, Sleet died after a long bout with cancer.