Malvin Russell Goode (1908–1995) ignored the cultural roadblocks preventing minorities from entering and having success in the field of journalism. He had long considered a career change before he took his first steps in the newspaper business.
After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 1931, Goode was a steelworker for five years. He then worked at various jobs: a probation officer, director for the YMCA, manager for the Pittsburgh Housing Authority, and eventually in the public relations department of the Pittsburgh Courier, where, at age 40, he moved into the position of reporter.
He later took a leap into radio broadcasting, beginning with a 15-minute, twice-weekly commentary show for KQV Radio in Pittsburgh. His popularity began to soar.
After 13 years in broadcasting, Goode was hired in 1962 by ABC, making him the national news network’s first African-American correspondent. He dove at the chance to present all sides of news coverage.
Seven weeks into Goode’s network career, the Cuban Missile Crisis developed. The lead ABC correspondent for the United Nations was on vacation, so Goode reported on the entire story for the network. He continued to cover the U.N. until his retirement in 1973.
Throughout his career, Goode also reported on political conventions, and civil and human rights issues during the 1960s. Post retirement, he worked for the National Black Network, again covering the U.N., civil rights and politics, a move that proved challenging.
Goode was jailed many times in attempts to harass and intimidate him for his involvement with civil rights issues. He was active with the NAACP and traveled across the country to give speeches for more than 200 local chapters. He knew and interviewed many prominent civil rights leaders and athletes including Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Jackie Robinson.
Goode was born in White Plains, Va. His grandparents had once been slaves, and their history informed Goode’s entire family life, giving them ambition and determination. His mother attended West Virginia State University, and often stressed the importance of education to her children. Goode would remember these lessons for the rest of his life. This can be seen by his determination and his interest in events that affected the world.
Former ABC anchor Peter Jennings, who considered Goode a mentor, once said: “Mal could have very sharp elbows. If he was on a civil rights story and anyone even appeared to give him any grief because he was Black, he made it more than clear that this was now a free country.”
Goode died of a stroke on September 12, 1995 in Pittsburgh.