Ernest Tucker (1932-2019) – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Ernest Tucker (1932-2019)

A pioneer journalist who broke barriers as a black reporter in Bermuda and abroad has died.

Ernest Tucker, the first black journalist to work at The Royal Gazette, was 87.

Rebecca Sevrin, Mr Tucker's daughter, said that her father loved the news.

She added: “You could never go anywhere in the car and hear music — it would always be talk radio.

“The TV was on all day and all night on the news stations.”

Ms Sevrin, who lives in Quebec, said that her father never talked about the struggle he had faced as a black journalist in the 1950s and 1960s.

She added: “He just said ‘if you want something, go for it.

“It doesn't matter what you are, what your background is, just go for it'. He never gave us sob stories.”

Ms Sevrin said that her father's talent as a journalist had often been used as a parent.

She explained: “When I used to go out as a teenager, he always found me and he said ‘it's my trained reporter's instinct'.

“So he'd find me in the back of some club and drag me home.”

Ms Sevrin added that her father was a quiet and patient man — especially with his children.

Ms Sevrin said: “He would do anything for us.

“We were his investment. He was a family man first.”

Mr Tucker died of cancer at Anna-Laberge Hospital, in Châteauguay, Quebec, on January 3.

He was the first black graduate of the journalism programme at Toronto's Ryerson University and is believed to be the first black reporter to be hired by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

The youngest of seven children, he attended the Berkeley Institute until he was 14, when he moved to Toronto with his older brother. He attended high school in Toronto and graduated from Ryerson in 1954.

Mr Tucker worked for the Bermuda Recorder in the 1950s and later at The Royal Gazette, at first as a freelancer, but later in a staff role for about two years.

An article he wrote while at The Royal Gazette caught the attention of an editor at the Toronto Telegram.

He went on to work at the paper for a short stint before he joined the CBC Toronto newsroom in 1961.

Mr Tucker later moved to the CBC's Montreal office and took up a teaching position at nearby John Abbott College, where he taught for 36 years.

He retired from the CBC in the mid-1990s and from his teaching post in 2008.

Mr Tucker covered major events of the day, including the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the 1970 kidnap of British diplomat James Cross in Canada by extremist Quebec separatists.

Meredith Ebbin, a veteran journalist and distant cousin of Mr Tucker's, said that she had first learnt of his achievements by accident.

She added: “I was surprised that his accomplishments had gone unnoticed in Bermuda.”

Ms Ebbin, who interviewed Mr Tucker in Montreal last May, said that she was shocked by news of his death, despite his age.

She said: “He appeared to be in good health when we met.”

Her article with Mr Tucker was published in The Royal Gazette last year.

Ms Ebbin said: “I am pleased that he gave me the opportunity to interview him, and that The Royal Gazette agreed to run the article.

“It means there is a record of his achievements in the country of his birth and in the newspaper where he got his start.”

Pioneering writer: The Royal Gazette's first black reporter, Ernest Tucker, left Bermuda for Canada in 1960 and quickly landed a job at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Montreal office and took up a teaching position at nearby John Abbott College (Photograph by Meredith Ebbin)

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Published January 21, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated January 21, 2019 at 6:31 am)

Ernest Tucker (1932-2019)

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