Share this article

print logo

Calvin Kimbrough, journalist, civic activist
June 22, 1931 -- Jan. 22, 2007

Calvin Kimbrough, a Buffalo businessman, community activist, journalist and former Republican candidate for Congress, died Monday in Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Syracuse. He was 75.

Born in Parkshill, Ala., Mr. Kimbrough relocated to Buffalo in his youth. While in his teens, he worked as both a photographer and writer for the Criterion, the oldest existing African-American weekly newspaper in Buffalo. He later wrote for the college newspaper at Geneseo State College. He also attended Fredonia State College and earned a graduate degree in sociology from the University at Buffalo.

Mr. Kimbrough served in the Army during the Korean War. In addition to combat duty, he worked in the Army's Special Intelligence Section and wrote for a military publication.

After he was discharged, Mr. Kimbrough was hired for a managerial position with National Fuel.

At the dawn of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, he helped establish the Civic Betterment League in Buffalo with a group of like-minded friends. Eventually, these friends founded their own newspaper, the Challenger, in 1963.

Mr. Kimbrough wrote, took photographs and did layout for the paper, while John Moore and Leonard Bethel both contributed as graphic and sketch artists, respectively. A young Arthur O. Eve -- who went on to become deputy speaker of the Assembly -- was in charge of sales. They all maintained full-time jobs while putting out the paper.

Long fascinated by politics, Mr. Kimbrough was an unsuccessful Republican candidate to unseat former Rep. Henry J. Nowak, D-Buffalo, in the 37th Congressional District in 1976.

Mr. Kimbrough also was active as a committee member for the Community Action Organization and the Model Cities Agency. He was active at Ascension Episcopal Church, where he served as Sunday school superintendent.

He and his second wife, Gloria Fuller Kimbrough, were active with the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society and worked on a project called "Footsteps to Freedom." Together, they commissioned local swimmer Charlie "The Tuna" Chapman to swim across the Niagara River into Canada to honor the slaves who drowned in their attempts to cross into Canada to freedom.

Mrs. Fuller Kimbrough died in 2005.

Mr. Kimbrough is survived by a daughter, Carolyn; two sons, Scott and Greg; two stepdaughters, Simone Scott-Kaigler and Andrea Scott-Khisa; and a sister, Catherine Strain.

A service will be at 3 p.m. Sunday in St. Philips Episcopal Church, 18 Sussex Ave., Syracuse. Burial will be in Woodlawn Cemetery, Syracuse.


There are no comments - be the first to comment