WBTV reporter Steve Crump, who produced documentaries spotlighting the lives of famous Black Americans died Tuesday following battling an extended illness. He was 65 years old.
Crump was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2018 and after five years of treatments, he returned to work at WBTV in June this year.
In a statement Tuesday, WBTV described Crump as a “devoted newsman who spent decades passionately telling the stories of the greater Charlotte community.”
“He was also a cherished colleague, friend and mentor to many, both in the WBTV newsroom and throughout the country ,” WBTV’s statement read.
The Louisville, Ky. native began working at WBTV in 1984 and spent four decades with the station. He was best known for his award-winning documentary storytelling and in-depth news reporting.
Crump’s wife Cathy said he was “determined to share the truth, and broadcasting became the chosen vehicle.”
Much of his work focused on civil rights, ranging from Martin Luther King Jr.’s last days to lunch counter sit-ins in the Carolinas and the story of Dorothy Counts, one of the first Black students admitted to Harding High School in 1957.
Crump also experienced his share of risky assignments. Crump covered the Ku Klux Klan throughout his career and interviewed several of its leaders, some of whom wore hoods in his presence.
In 2016, Crump was involved a street confrontation in Charleston in which a white man directed racial slurs at the veteran reporter.
In a 2021 interview with QCity Metro, he talked about his documentary, “Diamond Anniversary of a Gold Medal Moment,” a film highlighting the 60th anniversary of Muhammad Ali’s gold medal win in the 1960 Summer Olympics.
“Seeing somebody who looks like you front and center who’s fearless, not only in a sport, but fearless in taking on issues, just gave so many people a voice,” he said. “He validated the arguments and concerns that happened to be expressed by those who were disenfranchised on a much bigger stage.”
“His true passion was being a part of the lives of the people in his community and sharing their truths,” Cathy Crump told WBTV of his work. “We will remain steadfast and never forget his passion.”