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Eugene Patterson, 89, voice on civil rights, dies

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Photo -   This 1984 photo shows Eugene Patterson in St. Petersburg, Fla. Newspaper editor and columnist Eugene Patterson, who helped fellow Southern whites understand the civil rights movement, has died, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. He was 89 (AP Photo/The Tampa Bay Times) TAMPA OUT; CITRUS COUNTY OUT; PORT CHARLOTTE OUT; BROOKSVILLE HERNANDO TODAY OUT
This 1984 photo shows Eugene Patterson in St. Petersburg, Fla. Newspaper editor and columnist Eugene Patterson, who helped fellow Southern whites understand the civil rights movement, has died, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. He was 89 (AP Photo/The Tampa Bay Times) TAMPA OUT; CITRUS COUNTY OUT; PORT CHARLOTTE OUT; BROOKSVILLE HERNANDO TODAY OUT
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Eugene Patterson's journalism career took him from a small Central Texas newspaper when he was fresh from the Army to the top of his profession with a Pulizter Prize to his name.

The celebrated editor and columnist whose impassioned words helped draw attention to the civil rights movement across the South has died at 89.

Patterson was editor of the Atlanta Constitution from 1960 to 1968, winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1967 for editorial writing. His famous column about the 1963 Birmingham, Ala., church bombing that killed four girls was titled "A Flower for the Graves." It was considered so moving that he was asked by Walter Cronkite to read it nationally on the "CBS Evening News."

His first reporting job was at the Temple (Texas) Daily Telegram.

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