When Coretta Scott King found out, she said that no photographers would shoot her husband’s funeral of Sleet wasn’t allowed in.
Sleet was born in Owensboro, Kentucky, in 1926 and worked as the editor of his high school newspaper, before enrolling at KSU, where he graduated cum laude in 1947.
He got his masters at New York University in 1950 and went on -- along with the likes of Gordon Parks – chronicle black America. First as a sportswriter for the Amsterdam News in New York City.
Then, in 1955, he got a job at Johnson Publishing in 1955, where he shot for the venerable Ebony Magazine and Jet Magazine, capturing, among others Muhammad Ali, Stevie Wonder and Billie Holiday. He also shot the funeral of Malcolm X.
He built a lasting friendship with King and traveled to Oslo in 1964 to cover his acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Sleet worked at Johnson Publishing until his death in 1996 at the age of 70.