Funeral arrangements are now set for Norman Lumpkin, a well known former WSFA 12 News reporter who passed away Tuesday morning.
Ross-Clayton Funeral Home says services are scheduled for Tuesday, May 13 at 11 a.m. and will be held at Metropolitan United Methodist Church, 3108 Rosa Parks Ave.
Lumpkin was a trailblazer. He became the first African-American television news reporter in Alabama's capital city when WSFA-TV hired him in 1969. He later became the first African-American President of the Alabama AP Broadcasters Association.
One of Norman's first major assignments was coverage of Governor George Wallace's re-election campaign in 1970. Despite the racial tension of the era, in which he was purposefully given false information by some in order to discredit his work, Norman pushed on and ultimately gained the respect of politicians and viewers for his work. Wallace, who was a staunch segregationist, made sure Norman was invited to each campaign event.
Norman earned numerous awards for his investigative reports during his years with WSFA 12 News and mentored a considerable number of fellow journalists.
After leaving WSFA 12 News in the 1990s, Norman worked as the News Director at Montgomery's ABC affiliate. Later, he entered state government, serving as the Public Relations Director for the Alabama Highway Department.
In 2007, Norman was honored for his career achievements when he was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences prestigious Silver Circle.
"Norman Lumpkin broke down barriers, not only in broadcasting but, also in the community. He was respected, admired and recognized for his countless achievements," said Sharon M. Tinsley, President of the Alabama Broadcasters Association. "Mr. Lumpkin set bars that young broadcasters and others can still aspire to today… to do what is difficult, work hard and serve."
Another former WSFA 12 News veteran, Bob Howell, remembered Norman saying:
"Norman was a true pioneer in journalism in Alabama in every sense of the word. And he did it with his own style and a certain unmistakable flair. Every day at work, he dressed like he was on the cover of GQ magazine. He was the essence of cool.
After breaking the race barrier on TV in Montgomery in 1969, he worked hard to win the respect of people of all races. And in doing so, he paved the way for countless young African American reporters and anchors and others who followed in his sizable footsteps.
As WSFA's investigative reporter, Norman had more sources than anybody in town. And because he guarded the identity of those sources so carefully and gathered so much information, he regularly knew about things that were going to happen...before they occurred! Our viewers were the beneficiaries of Norman's tireless efforts. No story happened too early or too late for Norman. It was all about getting the story, getting it right, and getting it first.
I learned a lot from Norman - not just about race, politics and the TV news business - but about respecting people regardless of their station in life.
Norman is gone now, but his legacy still lives on quietly with those of us who benefited from his trailblazing efforts.
Each of us who knew or worked with him owes him a great debt of gratitude."
Editorialist Ken Hare also remembered Norman saying:
"Norman was a great guy. When I first came to town, spent hours with him backgrounding me on what was really going on behind the scenes in Alabama politics.
Later, when he was doing public relations for a state agency, he was always calling to suggest stories or editorials.
It was clear that he missed the news business and that was where his heart really was."
A collage recognizing Norman's achievements during his time at WSFA 12 News can still be seen hanging on a wall just outside the station's main studio.
Norman was 75-years-old.
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