Phone: 215-543-9339 (24-hour Availability)

Claude A. Lewis

Claude Lewis, 82, was born at Fordham Hospital in the Bronx, New York, to Hazel and Robert Lewis on December 14th, 1934, grew up with his brothers, Ralph and Richard, and his sister Phyliss. After PS 23, he attended Benjamin Franklin High School in the Manhattan. Soon after his high school graduation, on October 18th, 1953, he and his teenage sweetheart, Beverly McKelvey, were married at the Forest Avenue Congregational Church in the Bronx, New York.
Also, in 1953, Claude began a 12-year stint at Newsweek Magazine (1953-1965), first as a copy boy, then an editorial assistant, and eventually as a reporter covering science, sports, and religion. At the same time, he began attending classes at night at City College of New York. He graduated from CCNY with a B.A. in English in 1958.
As a sports reporter for Newsweek, Claude met and befriended Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, and wrote his biography in 1965. His relationship with Ali spawned a friendship with Malcolm X.
As a journalist embedded at the epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement, Claude found himself covering the people, the protests, and the stories that forever transformed and shaped American history throughout the 1960s. He developed close friendships with Martin Luther King, and his wife Coretta; Medgar Evers; Ralph Abernathy; Jesse Jackson; Bayard Rustin; Roy Wilkins; Andrew Young; Julian Bond; James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, and many others now immortalized in “the Movement’s” pantheon of heroes. Claude maintained many of these wonderful relationships throughout his life.
In 1965, Claude joined the New York Herald Tribune where he was one of the writers for the “New York City In Crisis” series, which appeared nearly every day for eight months at the beginning of the John Lindsay years as mayor of New York City.
In 1966, Claude moved his growing family to Matawan, New Jersey, after he was hired by NBC-KYW News in Philadelphia. By 1969, he was working for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin as a reporter, columnist, and associate editor. He wrote for the Bulletin until the newspaper closed in 1982. Claude, Acel Moore and Chuck Stone co-founded the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists in 1973 and the National Association of Black Journalists in 1975.
With many years of experience and a stellar reputation as a levelheaded, even-handed journalist; he took on the greatest challenge of his career in 1982 when he founded the first national black weekly newspaper, The National Leader. After the Leader lost its funding in 1985, Claude moved to the Philadelphia Inquirer where he worked as a columnist until his retirement in 2009. He also appeared on ABC-TVs Sunday morning talk show, “Inside Story” for more than 15 years. He wrote a variety of special news series, several biographies, and produced a number of radio shows, TV specials, and documentaries on various topics of his interest.
He traveled extensively throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, and Cuba as a reporter. He interviewed nine American Presidents and a slew of dignitaries and social icons. He taught Journalism and English at Drexel University, Temple University, and an Honors Journalism class at Villanova for over 20 years.
Claude received a host of awards and honors throughout his esteemed career, but he was most proud of his two Reporter’s Gold Typewriter Awards from the New York Press Club and the two honorary doctorate degrees conferred to him by Thomas Jefferson University and Villanova University.
Claude died from a long battle with diabetes on March 16, 2017 in Voorhees New Jersey. His parents Philip and Hazel Lewis Gray preceded him in death. He is lovingly remembered by Beverly M. Lewis, his wife of 64 years; his children, Pamela (Marando) Freeman, Bryan (Shonda) Lewis, Craig (Mai) Lewis, and daughter Beverley (Andrew) Wilson; brothers Ralph and Richard and sister Phyliss (Gregory) Carr; grandchildren Breana (Eric) Torres, Baraka Wilson, Safiya Wilson, Judah Wilson, and Noah Lewis; great-grandchildren Eric, DeAndre, Adriana, and Amira Torres, and a host of family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, the family would like donations be made to for the NABJ Claude A. Lewis Scholarship Fund. A memorial service will be held at 12 pm on Friday, March 31st, 2017, at Garey Hall on the campus of Villanova University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The family would like to thank Ed Goff and Villanova University, NABJ and the host of family and friends for their loving comfort during this time.

Phone: 215-543-9339