Radio Legend and Activist Joe Madison Dies at 74

Washington, D.C. – (Friday, February 2, 2024) – Known as the “Black Eagle,” Joe Madison died at his home at the age of 74. According to a statement released by his family, the long time radio host and civil rights activist died peacefully surrounded by family.

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of beloved husband and father, Joe Madison. Joe dedicated his life to fighting for all those who are undervalued, underestimated, and marginalized,” the statement said.

Madison was diagnosed with prostate cancer back in 2009. He announced the cancer resurfaced early last year and he took a leave of absence last December to focus on more treatment. Condolences have been pouring in from colleagues, celebrities, and politicians since the News was announced. President Biden released at statement on X calling Madison “the voice of a generation.”

“Whether it was a hunger strike for voting rights or his advocacy for anti-lynching legislation that I was proud to sign in 2022. Joe fought hard against injustice,” Biden added.

Native of Dayton, Ohio, Madison was an All-Conference running back at Washington University in St. Louis where he was also a baritone soloist in the university choir and a disc jockey at the campus radio station.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology, becoming the first person in his family to graduate college.

At age 24, he became the youngest executive director of the NAACP’s Detroit branch before being appointed the organization’s National Political Director and eventually being elected to the National Board of Directors where he served for 14 years.

During his tenure at the NAACP, Madison led hundreds of volunteers on a series of successful voter registration marches, including a cross-country “March for Dignity” from Los Angeles to Baltimore. The marches garnered thousands of signatures for an anti-apartheid bill in Congress.  

Madison’s radio career begin in 1980 at Detroit’s WXYZ.  He continued his broadcast journey to WWDB in Philadelphia, WWRC and WOL in Washington, DC. The popularity of his WOL program led to syndication on the Radio One Talk Network and its XM satellite channel which merged with Sirius to become SiriusXM in 2008.  In 2023, Madison celebrated his 15th anniversary with SiriusXM.

Madison is survived by his wife and four children. Expressions of condolences can be sent via