MU grad, longtime New York Times newsman dies

Friday, December 28, 2007 | 5:41 p.m. CST; updated 4:14 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 10, 2008

NEW YORK — Thomas Morgan III, the first openly gay president of the National Association of Black Journalists and a longtime newsman at The New York Times, has died. He was 56.

The Brooklyn resident died Monday, possibly of a heart attack, while visiting the family of his partner, Thomas Ciano, in Southampton, Mass., Ciano said.

Morgan was NABJ's president from 1989 to 1991. Even though he won the election handily, it was somewhat heated, according to a 2004 profile of Morgan on the NABJ's Web site.

"It was painful," Morgan recalled. "I struggled with how to represent NABJ without embarrassing the organization but while also being true to myself. I was elected as a black journalist, not a gay one."

After graduating from MU and completing his service with the U.S. Air Force in 1975, Morgan worked at The Miami Herald and The Washington Post.

He then joined The Times, where he rose to assistant metro editor and also received a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University in 1989.

He retired from the newspaper in 1994, "largely to concentrate on his personal fight against AIDS," according to the profile.

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