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Kathryn Tucker Windham, storyteller, dies

SELMA, Ala. -- Kathryn Tucker Windham, a master storyteller and author who was a woman police reporter in a time when there were few, died Sunday. She was 93.

Dilcy Hilley told The Associated Press that her mother had a variety of illnesses recently and died at her home in Selma.

According to a biography from the Alabama Department of Archives and History, Windham wrote two dozen books, many of them ghost stories. In 1940, she went to work for the Alabama Journal in Montgomery and was one of the first female reporters to cover the police beat on a major daily newspaper in the South.

From the 1950s to early 1970s, she worked for The Selma Times-Journal where she won several awards for her columns and photography.

She also regularly contributed to the segment "All Things Considered" for National Public Radio in the 1980s.

Windham was born in 1918 to James Wilson Tucker and Helen Gaines Tabb Tucker and grew up in Thomasville.

Trying to gain the respect of police on her beat at the Alabama Journal, she said she went along with them to a ravine where a child's body was recovered.

"When they saw me stay with them on that one, they accepted me," Windham had told the Montgomery Advertiser. "They knew I could do a good job, just like our male reporters." While working for the Birmingham News in 1946, she met her husband, Amasa Benjamin Windham. They moved to Selma and had three children before his death 10 years later.

A widow needing to make a living, she went to work for the Selma paper. From 1950 to 1966, she penned a locally syndicated newspaper column, "Around Our House," according to an online biography on the Encyclopedia of Alabama.

Between 1985 and 1987, she did her five-minute NPR pieces in her Southern drawl. -- AP

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