© 2024 WHRO Public Media
5200 Hampton Boulevard, Norfolk VA 23508
757.889.9400 | info@whro.org
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Marvin Leon Lake was a leader in Hampton Roads journalism and beyond

Marvin Leon Lake died March 27 at 80 years old after a long career in Hampton Roads journalism. (Photo from Hampton Roads Black Media Professionals)
Marvin Leon Lake died March 27 at 80 years old after a long career in Hampton Roads journalism. (Photo from Hampton Roads Black Media Professionals)

Hampton Roads said goodbye to Marvin Leon Lake earlier this month, a trailblazer in local journalism. 

Lake was a pioneer in his many roles at the Virginian-Pilot and mentored young people, making his community a better place to live. 

Lake was a career journalist. His interest in the field of journalism dated back to junior high school when he was business manager of the Jacox Journal. His passion for journalism continued at Booker T. Washington High school where he shined as editor of the student newspaper. After college, Marvin spent two years in the Army producing the base newspaper. 

Lake became the Virginian Pilot’s first Black reporter and editor. During his 41 years at the Pilot, he was also the newsroom recruitment director, Sunday commentary editor, Director of Landmark’s minority training program, summer internship program and the Pilot’s Summer Minority High School Journalism Program, later renamed the High School Diversity Journalism Workshop. 

Listen to Another View’s tribute to Marvin Leon Lake 

Lake’s work as a reporter and editor netted him numerous awards and accolades, including an Excel Award from Hampton Roads Black Media Professionals for his editorial titled “Overdue Restitution,” which looked at a state scholarship program for people adversely impacted by Massive Resistance. 

In 1997, Lake worked with WHRO to plan, host and narrate the documentary “ Church Street: Harlem of the South,” which won several awards, according to his obituary.

Lake was a founding member of Hampton Roads Black Media Professionals and served as the organization's President from 2001 until 2003. He taught as an adjunct professor at his alma mater, Norfolk State University. He also taught a multiculturalism course at Hampton University. 

In addition to his many contributions to journalism, Lake served his community in such roles as Director of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government, project director for the city of Norfolk’s 50th Anniversary of the End of Massive Resistance Commemoration, President of the Crispus Attucks Cultural Center, and longtime chair of the 200+ Men Scholars Breakfast, honoring African American male high school graduates with a 3.0 or higher GPA.

Lake passed away peacefully at his home on Thursday, March 27 with Ruby, his wife of 41 years, by his side. Lake was 80 years old.