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Ben Burns

Burns died in 2000. His 35-year editorial career is best summed up in his recent book "Nitty Gritty: A White Editor in Black Journalism," published in 1996.

Burns pioneered in creating and editing the first commercially successful African-American magazines in the history of black journalism - Ebony,Jet and Negro Digest. Long before the civil rights era, Burns was the only white journalist working in black media. He also trained many black writers in all technical phases of editing and the mechanics of magazine production. As the founding editor of Ebony magazine, the most successful black periodical ever, Burns' editorial lead resulted in the proliferation of national black periodicals seeking to emulate the success of Ebony.

After leaving Ebony, Burns worked in public relations as vice president of Cooper, Burns & Golin from 1956 to 1962. Burns later went on to be editor in chief of the Chicago Daily Defender, president of Burns & Bentley public relations agency and editor of Sepia magazine. He has had articles published in a variety of publications including Reader's Digest,Catholic Digest, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.