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Vernon Jarrett: We didn’t abide in the added papers. We were neither born, we didn’t get married, we didn’t die, we didn’t activity in any wars, we never alternate in annihilation of a accurate achievement. We were absolutely airy unless we committed a crime. And in the BLACK PRESS, the negro press, we did get married. They showed us our babies aback born. They showed us graduating. They showed our PhDs.

Phyl Garland: The atramentous columnist was never brash to be algid because it didn’t see the — the white columnist actuality objective. It about took a position. It had an attitude. This was a columnist of advocacy. There was news, but the account had an accepted and a brash slant.


Narrator: For over 150 years, African American newspapers were amid the arch institutions in Atramentous America. They helped to actualize and antithesis communities. They batten angrily to the political and bread-and-butter interests of their readers while employing thousands. Atramentous newspapers provided a arrangement for agitation amid African Americans and gave articulation to a bodies who were voiceless. With a pen as their weapon, they were Soldiers Afterwards Swords.


Narrator: New York, 1826.

MORDECHAI NOAH QUOTE: “The 15th allotment of the citizenry of this burghal is composed of blacks. Abandoned 15 are able to vote. Abandon is a abundant blessing, indeed, to them. They cool our account of paupers, they are indolent, and uncivil. And yet if a atramentous man commits a crime, we accept added absorption fabricated for him than for a white.” Mordechai Noah, New York Enquirer, Tuesday, November 21st, 1826.

Narrator: In the aboriginal 19th century, African Americans were commonly vilified on the pages of the boilerplate columnist and had no way to respond. And by the winter of 1827 an affronted affiliation had had enough. Three blacks aggregate on Varick Artery in Lower Manhattan and absitively that they, too, would use the columnist as a weapon. They affiliated their money and started the aboriginal bi-weekly in the United States to be arise by African Americans, Freedom’s Journal.

Jane Rhodes: Their accomplished abstraction abaft Freedom’s Journal was, ah, to accept a voice, an absolute voice, an chargeless articulation for African Americans. The aperture exhausted on the advanced folio of Freedom’s Journal says, “We beggarly to appeal our own account …

Vernon Jarrett: “No best shall others allege for us.” What they were adage is that “We don’t apperception accepting white Abolitionists appeal on our behalf, but we can do it better.” And they saw the media as one of the abandoned outlets accessible for them. Accessible announcement was one of the few weapons that blacks had.

Narrator: Chosen as the editors of Freedom’s Journal were 28 year-old John Russwurm, one of the aboriginal atramentous graduates of an American university, and 32 year-old preacher Samuel Cornish. In their countdown issue, Russwurm and Cornish set out a bright eyes for the aboriginal atramentous newspaper.

QUOTE FROM FREEDOM’S JOURNAL: “In presentating our aboriginal cardinal to our patrons, we feel all the backwardness in bodies entering aloft a new and green band of business.”

ANOTHER QUOTE FROM FREEDOM’S JOURNAL: “Useful ability of every affectionate and every affair that relates to Africa shall acquisition a accessible acceptance into our columns, proving that the citizenry are neither so apprenticed or brainless as they accept about been declared to be. Whatever apropos us as a bodies will anytime a accessible acceptance in acceding of the Freedom’s Journal abstruse with all the arch account of the day.” Freedom’s Journal, March 16th, 1827.

Narrator: Two years afterwards its founding, Freedom’s Journal bankrupt afterward a altercation amid Russwurm and Cornish over the administration of the paper. It was abbreviate lived, but Freedom’s Journal paved the way for 24 added atramentous newspapers arise afore the Civilian War. The best affecting of the pre-war affidavit appeared in 1847 with abolitionist baton Frederick Douglas as its editor. In the aboriginal affair of The North Star, Douglas additionally emphasized the allegation for an absolute atramentous press.

QUOTE FROM FREDERICK DOUGLAS: “In the admirable attempt for alternative and adequation now waging, it is (Unintell.), right, and capital that there should access in our ranks authors and editors as able-bodied as orators, for it is in these capacities that the best abiding acceptable can be rendered to our cause.” Frederick Douglas, December 3rd, 1847.

Jane Rhodes: Presidents apprehend Frederick Douglas’ newspapers, although they ability not accept it. Ahm, senators and — and congressmen apprehend Frederick Douglas’ newspapers. So Frederick Douglas fabricated it actual bright that if you’re activity to accept a movement, if you’re activity to accept a accessible voice, and if you’re activity to apostle for amusing change, ahm, the columnist is — is basic to that effort.


Narrator: As slaves, African Americans were banned to read, but afterwards the Civilian War, account became one of the sweetest fruits of freedom. For many, atramentous newspapers were an addition the ability and the abracadabra of the accounting word.


Phyl Garland: Afterwards the Civilian War there was an astronomic access of energy, a admiration to communicate, a admiration to affix with atramentous bodies establishing newspapers in I beggarly any town, alike tiny ones. It was the aboriginal befalling to use the accounting chat afterwards abhorrence of reprisal.

QUOTE FROM THE ARKANSAS FREEMAN: It is accepted by all that we should now be a assemblage of activity in business as in politics, and in every way we can strive and ample anniversary added up. If one of our own farmers appetence commodity and a atramentous man has it to sell, let him that wants accord to his own atramentous of preference. A break fabricated by a atramentous man tells added than a hundred aboriginal chic features.” The Arkansas Freeman, October 5th, 1869.

Christopher Reed: I would rank the 19th aeon African American columnist as one of the above armament in bearing one of the above miracles of that century, affairs African Americans calm afterwards bullwork into adamant communities. Whether you’re talking about Kansas or Mississippi, ah, New York, it doesn’t accomplish any aberration — Washington, these newspapers abreast people, animated morale, congenital a faculty of ancestral consciousness. You can’t, ah, enlarge the accent of newspapers.


Narrator: Amid the end of the Civilian War and the about-face of the century, over 500 atramentous newspapers began publication. Abounding of the affidavit adopted columnist presses from African American churches and anon the aforementioned machines that produced programs for Sunday casework were columnist the news. Abounding lasted abandoned a abbreviate time, but the affidavit appeared above the country in cities like Omaha, Mobile, Indianapolis, Cleveland, San Francisco, and in abate towns like Galveston, Texas, Coffeeville, Kansas, and Langston City, Oklahoma Territory. But in the South, the optimism of the Reconstruction era concluded in 1876 aback President Rutherford B. Hayes withdrew federal aegis for the freed slaves.

Jane Rhodes: Already Reconstruction ended, ahm, the newspapers were able to advance a foothold. They did, however, accept to be cautious. They had to footfall agilely in abounding of those communities area Jim Crow, ahm, absolutely controlled the altitude of — of the South.

Narrator: The White South alleged it “redemption”, but for African Americans the post-Reconstruction aeon was a administration of terror. Mob abandon directed at atramentous Americans was abandoned by the federal government and condoned by Southern white newspapers.

QUOTE FROM MEMPHIS COMMERCIAL: “There is nothin’ which so fills the anatomy with horror, abhorrence and acerbity as the outragin’ of a white woman by a negro. It is the chase catechism in the ugliest, vilest, best alarming aspect. The negro as a political agency can be controlled, but neither laws nor lynchings can subdue his lusts.” Memphis Commercial, May 17, 1892.

Narrator: The 29 year-old editor of addition Memphis newspaper, the Chargeless Speech, catholic the South to investigate cases of lynching. The editor was Ida B. Wells. What she begin and put into book acquired an uproar amid White Southerners.

QUOTE FROM IDA B. WELLS: “It is a angelic assemblage that white women can never feel affection of any sort, aerial or low, for a atramentous man. Unfortunately, sex don’t consistently aboveboard with the convention. And afresh if the accusable brace are begin out, the affair is christened in abuse at already and the woman is about affected to accompany in coursing bottomward the accomplice of her shame.”

Narrator: On June 4th, 1892, while Ida B. Wells was in New York on her aboriginal cruise North, her paper, the Memphis Chargeless Speech, was attacked by a lynch mob.

Vernon Jarrett: They absolutely destroyed this woman’s columnist and brash to abort her body, booty her activity to the admeasurement that she absolved the streets with a pistol beneath her blouse or accessory or, according to legend, two pistols on occasion.

Narrator: Fearing for her life, Wells did not acknowledgment South for 30 years. She connected her ground-breaking assignment on the agents of The New York Age.

Jane Rhodes: She absolutely set the date for actual radical, actual activist affectionate of atramentous journalism. And as a atramentous woman, she was additionally an afflatus because there were so few African American women who had formed in journalism before. And aback they did, it tended to be array of a amusing account aggressive journalism, not the array of powerful, radical, you know, boisterous journalism that said, “We won’t angle for this. We allegation do article about the kinds of abandon affecting African Americans.”


Narrator: In 1893, the year afterwards Wells is chased from Memphis, the Columbian Account opened in Chicago. At a bulk of 26 actor dollars, it was the bigger and best big-ticket accident of its affectionate in history. The purpose of the fair was to advertise American adeptness to the world, but its blank of African Americans from exhibits on US history prompted Ida B. Wells and Frederick Douglas to affair a announcement in protest. The exposition’s organizers offered to set abreast one day for African Americans, Atramentous American Day. The white columnist ridiculed the idea. Wells denounced it, but assuredly Frederick Douglas accepting the accommodation and agreed to speak. On the morning of August 25th, 1893, about three thousand atramentous Americans donned affected collars, bustles, and top hats and came out to adore the day. One of them was Robert S. Abbott, the 27 year-old columnist apprentice from Georgia on his aboriginal arrangement North. Abbott had arise to the account to sing spirituals with the Hampton Institute Quartet. His attendance as Frederick Douglas’ accent that day would change Abbott’s activity and alter the advance of African American journalism. Abbott sat in Festival Anteroom as Frederick Douglas rose to abode the audience. At 75, Douglas was visibly slowed by age. His easily shook. His articulation faltered.

FREDERICK DOUGLAS SPEECH: “The catechism will be asked that is asked by our accompany in (Unintell.) that is why we do added …

Narrator: As Douglas began to speak, a disorderly accumulation of whites approved to bark him down. Douglas threw abreast his able altercation and drew himself up to his abounding advantageous height. His articulation rumbled through the alveolate hall.

FREDERICK DOUGLAS SPEECH: “Men allocution of the ‘negro problem’. There is no negro problem. The botheration is whether they American bodies accept bluntness enough, adherence enough, account enough, bellicism abundant to animate up to their own constitution. We intend that the American bodies shall apprentice the abundant assignment of the alliance of man and the fatherhood of God from our attendance amid them.”

James Grossman: Eighteen-ninety-three is a year in which one can see a casual of administration from Frederick Douglas, who delivers a ablaze accent at the Columbian Account and dies anon after, Robert Abbott, who would be a approaching baton of his chase who’s advancing to Chicago for the aboriginal time. Ida B. Wells had afresh emerged as a above leader, absolutely a above articulation aural the African American community. And what’s absorbed is all three of these bodies are journalists.

Christopher Reed: I anticipate Abbott’s concrete attendance at the fair, assortment with so abounding of the leaders and active choir of Atramentous America, led him to accept that America could absolutely become what the affiance of America talked about. America had to change and the agent to accurate this would be the newspaper.


Vernon Jarrett: I accept a abecedary who I shall never balloon who played a little adventurous with us every Friday afternoon aback we were in the aboriginal brand afore we had abstruse to apprehend well. She would accept all of us kids band up with our chest out and she had accustomed us a name. The little girls, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells. The little boys, Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglas. And one day she told me that I was Robert S. Abbott. And I was declared to acquaint my classmates why they should apprehend the Chicago Defender. And I can bethink continuing up straight, walking up, and I said, “My name is Robert S. Abbott and I am the editor of the Chicago Apostle and you care to apprehend my bi-weekly because my newspaper’s continuing up for our race.”


Narrator: In the aboriginal 20 years of the new century, airplanes, automobiles, radios, and affective pictures revolutionized communications in the United States. The newspapers were in the exhausted of this revolution, agriculture the nation’s growing appetence for account and information. Amid 1900 and 1910, over 2600 newspapers were arise in the United States, added than at any time afore or since.


Narrator: Atramentous newspapers sprung up to serve growing communities from New York to the new cities of the west. In 1910 alone, over 275 atramentous newspapers were in book with a accumulated readership of over bisected a million. Some, like The California Hawkeye in Los Angeles, had a new and abolitionist eyes of what a cardboard could be.


Jane Rhodes: The California Hawkeye was the — a activating articulation for amusing change for African Americans in California. Aboriginal it — it absolutely recruited African Americans to Los Angeles. It told bodies how to get jobs. It told bodies how to get housing. It helped bodies absolutely achieve in Los Angeles and accomplish it a community.


Jane Rhodes: Charlotta Bass was built-in during Reconstruction in the South in South Carolina and lived for a few years in the East and was accepting bloom problems aback she was in her 20s. A doctor recommended that she move out to California. So she landed in — in California and she was attractive for assignment and, ah, she started affairs subscriptions to The California Eagle. That was all absolutely she knew about bi-weekly journalism.

Narrator: Seeking to claiming his hero, Frederick Douglas, John J. Neymour founded The California Hawkeye in 1879. The cardboard was already able-bodied accustomed aback Charlotta Spears Bass arrived. Her bashful actualization active abundant activity and uncompromising politics. Bass threw herself angrily into her assignment at the Hawkeye and afflicted Neymour with her adherence to all aspects of the bi-weekly business.

Walter Gordon: She wasn’t one of these bodies who were anxiously dressed. She usually had some anatomy of columnist accoutrements on. Her face would be bedraggled in black. Her easily would be begrimed from ambience of type.

Narrator: In 1912, Neymour summoned Bass to his bedside. “I’m dying,” he said, “but I don’t appetence the Hawkeye to die. Will you affiance to accumulate it alive?”

Jane Rhodes: She was a afraid catechumen to this job. She wasn’t at all abiding that she could do it and she basically promised him aloof afore he died that she would do the best she could. But it began a 40-year career for her as — as a publisher, an editor, and activist in the Los Angeles community.


Walter Gordon: Mrs. Bass was “the” leadership. There was no outstanding atramentous man in the administration of Los Angeles during that period. Mrs. Bass could be counted aloft to spearhead any movement of the blacks actuality in Los Angeles.


Narrator: In July, 1914, aback Bass heard that Thomas Dixon’s atypical The Klansmen would be fabricated into a motion picture, she anon launched a attack adjoin it in the pages of The California Eagle. “Birth of A Nation”, directed by D.W. Griffith, depicted Reconstruction era atramentous legislators in abominable burlesque and bless Ku Klux Klan violence. The boilerplate apprenticed hailed “Birth of A Nation” as a battleground accurate achievement. The African American press, rallied by Charlotta Bass, reacted with outrage.

Jane Rhodes: And atramentous newspapers from The California Hawkeye appropriate there in Hollywood to newspapers all above the country, absolutely aloft the bogeyman of how abhorrent this blur was and how damaging it was to atramentous communities.

QUOTE FROM CHARLOTTA BASS: “We of the Hawkeye pioneered in an important acreage of amusing struggle, the attempt to accomplish the blur industry amenable about for the agreeable if its products, the attempt to lift college aesthetic standards in the ball world, standards absorption a faculty of amusing assignment and accordance rather than ageism and arrogant glory.”


Narrator: Shortly afore Charlotta Bass migrated to California, Robert S. Abbott larboard the South for Chicago, he absent of the new apple he’d glimpsed at the Columbian Exposition. What he got was a aftertaste of Northern bigotry.


James Grossman: Abbott’s journalism and his angle as a announcer was shaped by the connected bigotry he’d encountered on the way to acceptable the administrator of The Chicago Defender. He aboriginal approved in Chicago to be a printer. That’s what he was accomplished to be at the Hampton Institute. But acceptable a full-time artisan as a printer was artlessly absurd because of ancestral discrimination. He abutting approved law school. In fact, he accelerating from law school. He was the abandoned African American in his chic at law school.

Christopher Reed: He was exhausted from entering the convenance of law. He was told, “You’re too aphotic to accomplish an impr– appulse on a white judge.” And he affronted to journalism.

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James Grossman: And in 1905, accustomed The Chicago Apostle which he started from his landlady’s dining allowance table and afresh he went alfresco and awash the newspapers himself and he congenital the cardboard up from annihilation and by 1910 he had a activity concern.

Narrator: The aboriginal affair of The Chicago Defender, with a columnist run of 300 copies, appeared on March 4th, 1905. With a showmanship and hyperbole that was to accomplish him a fortune, Abbott heralded the four-page cardboard as a the “world’s greatest weekly”. The Apostle was awash in Chicago and the Midwest on assignment through alone agents. As the orders caked in, Abbott fabricated a accommodation that would change his affluence and appearance the approaching for bags of others. He beatific the Apostle into the South, home to 90 percent of the African American population. There, the Apostle has a abeyant atramentous admirers about 200 times above than in Chicago, an admirers that was athirst to apprehend what Abbott had to say.


Wallace Burney: It was, ah, at that time the black, he couldn’t allege up. If he batten up any affectionate of ways, like for himself or what he capital to do which was authoritative a progress, it aloof didn’t work. In added words, he was censored.

James Grossman: The Apostle would say things like, “When the white fiends arise to the door, shoot them down. Aback the mob comes, booty at atomic one with you.” Those were things that if you were a atramentous Southern newspaper, if you were a bi-weekly editor in Birmingham, Alabama, you can’t say that because your newspaper’s activity to get torched or you’re activity to get run out of town. Robert Abbott could say it and so atramentous Southerners came to see him as a man they could trust.


Narrator: Aural a decade, the Apostle out-sold every African American bi-weekly in the country and Robert S. Abbott, the son of above slaves, was on his way to acceptable the best able atramentous man in the nation. By 1920, the Defender’s apportionment soared to over 100,000. Anniversary archetype anesthetized through the easily of at atomic bristles readers and Abbott’s cardboard and it’s bulletin accomplished added than bisected a actor African Americans anniversary week. In the South, the Apostle was apprehend aloud in homes and in beautician shops, on artery corners, and in churches.


Vernon Jarrett: I was a little boy. My brother was abundant beforehand than I and I was so blessed that I could not read, because my grandfather, an ex-slave who was illiterate, we didn’t apperceive it at the time, fabricated my brother, as a little boy, apprehend The Chicago Apostle from folio to page, including the ads. And he would accomplish him go aback and say, “Read that again, boy.” He capital to apprehend about what was activity on in adapted genitalia of the world. This was, ah, I assumption my grandfather’s way of acumen he was a chargeless man, a atramentous bi-weekly from Up North.


Vernon Jarrett: Abbott’s Apostle bent on aback he began to use some of the aforementioned techniques that the white publications has been using. Abbott was apparently the aboriginal atramentous bi-weekly to go for the big adventurous headlines, and, of course, aback the annihilation seasons opened, of course, he gave those big ashen account about the analysis of atramentous people.


Narrator: Amid 1882 and 1919, three thousand African Americans were murdered by cafeteria mobs, one every four-and-a- bisected days.


Narrator: These murders, about abandoned by the boilerplate press, were kept on the advanced pages of atramentous newspapers.


Vernon Jarrett: I doubtable that best bodies today anticipate a annihilation was like you see in the cowboys pictures. You adhere somebody for burglary a horse. No. You was strung up, a blaze was afire beneath you, you were austere alive.


Vernon Jarrett: (Unintell.) that stuff. You attending at some of the old pictures, you see bodies in high-collared white shirts and ties.


Vernon Jarrett: The pastor of a abbey may announce, “They got the nigger. They got that nigger!” And he’d about-face out abbey for a lynching.


Earl Calloway: The Apostle was absolutely a apostle of the people’s rights. During the South at the aboriginal provocation, they would booty a man from his house. We apperceive that story. And, ah, alter him or they would abduction their women and so forth. And there was no way for that account to get out. So the Defender, ah, talked adjoin that affectionate of thing.

Narrator: As Abbott lashed out adjoin lynching, absinthian acrimony became a authentication of the Defender’s style.

QUOTE FROM THE CHICAGO DEFENDER: “Fifty-four lynchings occurred in the United States during the year 1914, six added than during the above-mentioned year. Abandoned 49 of the 54 actuality colored, assuming absolutely that a afflicting absurdity was fabricated somewhere. Anticipate of it. Bristles white men lynched! It seems that we can annihilation exclusive. Annihilation was a anatomy of punishment, abnormally able for us. At atomic that is what we accept been led to believe. Perhaps the fun wasn’t advancing fast and bent enough, so they threw in a few of their own cardinal for acceptable measure.” Robert Abbott, January 9th, 1915.

Narrator: The racism of the boilerplate columnist was addition admired ambition of Abbott’s ridicule.

James Grossman: One of the things that white newspapers did in the aboriginal 20th aeon was whenever they would acknowledgment somebody who was African American, they would put a parentheses abutting to his or her name, (negro). So it would say, “Jack Johnson (Negro) won the apple ample championship yesterday.” What Robert Abbott did, in acknowledgment to that, was he artlessly absitively that he should amusement white bodies equally. So it would say, “Woodrow Wilson (white) declared war on Germany yesterday.”


Narrator: During Apple War I, automated assembly in the North rose to almanac levels, creating bags of new jobs. With the draft, that’s far beneath workers to ample them.

James Grossman: Alpha in 1914 aback the war started in Europe, actual few European immigrants were able to arise to the United States. Eventually they affronted to African Americans as the abandoned accessible activity supply. So new opportunities opened. In Chicago, it would accept been animate mills and packing houses.

Narrator: The Chicago Apostle has consistently brash Southern blacks to break at home and activity for the rights, but in acknowledgment to the bread-and-butter opportunities created by the war, Abbott antipodal his position. With appropriate enthusiasm, Abbott acclimated the abounding assets of the cardboard — articles, editorials, cartoons, poems, and alike SONG s — in a attack to appetite the Defender’s readers to arise North. The cardboard alike printed alternation schedules, one-way to Chicago.

Narrator: Try to brainstorm active in a baby Southern boondocks area there’s artlessly not as abundant activity on as there is in a abode like Chicago. You apprehend your Apostle and you acquisition out that there are nine cine theaters in Chicago’s African American neighborhood. You acquisition out that there are nightclubs. You apprehend in the Apostle about the Eighth Illinois Regiment, which as an African American Civic Guard regiment that marches through the streets accustomed rifles. To a atramentous Southerner, this is actual exciting.

Christopher Reed: There’s no agnosticism that The Chicago Apostle was amenable for bags aloft bags of bodies accepting the chat that they didn’t accept to be annoyed area they were physically amid — that was in the South — and there was a abode area they could physically move to, the North, whether it was Chicago or Detroit or Rockford, Illinois, or Cleveland, there was a abode they could move to area they could, what, animate their lives to the fullest.


James Grossman: Abounding atramentous Southerners, afore they larboard the South, wrote to the North allurement for information. In abounding cases they would abode to the Defender, to Robert Abbott himself because they had such acceptance in him. For example, “Dear Sir, admittance me to acquaint you that I’ve had the amusement of account the Apostle for the aboriginal time in my life, as I never dreamed that there was such a chase cardboard arise and I allegation say …

Voice Over: “… I accept apparent your columns all about the South and the chase in the North. Now I am cerebration of advancing this abatement …

Voice Over: “I like the assignment all right, but they don’t pay abundant to get myself a acceptable hat.

Voice Over: “Don’t broadcast this because we accept to buzz this about amid ourselves, because the white affiliation are affronted now because the negroes are goin’ North.”

James Grossman: … (Unintell.) to arise North, east or west, anywhere but the South.” That’s a letter accounting in May of 1917 from Port Arthur, Texas. And the belletrist that we accept be atramentous Southerners arise from ample cities, baby towns, rural communities, and they all accept this affectionate of emotion, this faculty of achievement and this faculty of acceptance that comes in allotment from account the Chicago Defender.


James Grossman: Aback the abundant clearing absolutely aboriginal began in the abatement of 1916, white Southerners at aboriginal absolutely didn’t pay it abundant heed because they were abiding that aback blacks went North, they would get cold. They acquainted that African Americans were somehow biologically abnormal to the algid acclimate and they’d arise back. That didn’t happen. And what happened was, as landlords, ah, and added administration began to apprehend that their workers were leaving, they began to try to stop bodies from leaving, which meant aggravating to accroach The Chicago Defender. They would alike accept the badge go up assimilate railroad platforms and arrest bodies for vagrancy.


Narrator: With added than ten thousand atramentous bodies abrogation anniversary month, the South’s abridgement suffered and its leaders grew desperate. Some towns, blank the Constitution, alike banned the auction of atramentous affidavit to try to axis the advance of the migration. In Somerville, Tennessee a abode ordered that “no atramentous newspapers be circulated” and that “every darkie allegation apprehend the bounded white paper.” But Robert Abbott, the acute marketer, asked for advice from the one accumulation of African Americans who catholic advisedly through the South.

Patrick Washburn: Robert Abbott had a absolute problem. How could he broadcast his cardboard in the South? So he goes out to the railroad yards to one of the best acclaimed professions in the atramentous affiliation at that time, the sleeping car porters. And he easily them bundles of his newspapers, which they adumbrate in the train, and as these trains cycle through the South, instead of actuality put off at the stations like they acclimated to be, which are in the boondocks banned or the burghal limits, these porters would footfall out amid cars or at the aback of the train, bung ’em out in the countryside and aback all these Southern cities begin they couldn’t stop the atramentous newspapers, no bulk what they did.


Narrator: Warren H. Harris of Chambers County, Alabama has abandoned a third brand education, but afterwards account the Apostle he larboard Alabama for Chicago. Alive as a branch laborer, it took him eight months to save 20 dollars, abundant to accelerate for his family.

Dora Harris Glasco: My ancestor apprehend The Chicago Defender. It wasn’t a connected affair that he had to attending at to see that he could account his accouchement and his children’s accouchement by advancing North.


Narrator: Amid 1916 and 1919, 500,000 Americans caked out of the South apprenticed for the cities of the North and West. In the 1920s a actor added followed. The abundant clearing assuredly adapted the face of America. It additionally adapted the fortunes of Robert S. Abbott.

Vernon Jarrett: Robert S. Abbott became the aboriginal atramentous millionaire to become a millionaire as a administrator of a newspaper. All afore him has a mission and that mission was not necessarily to accomplish a lot of money. But Abbott begin out that you could accomplish some money.


Narrator: Unlike his baroque and about arrant newspaper, Abbott himself was academic and reserved. He was 50 years old afore he married. He would acquiesce neither his aboriginal nor his additional wife to abode him as added than “Mr. Abbott”. He did not alcohol and abhorred amusing activities. What he enjoyed was the accouterment of abundance — the gold- headed cane, the admirable tours of Europe, and alike admitting he did not drive, the Dusenberg convertible and Rolls-Royce limousine. Like abounding in the atramentous average class, Abbott was amorous of the amusing graces and attempted to use the cardboard to advise them to his readers. He alike arise a account of rules for migrant’s behavior.


Voice Over: “Don’t access on the boulevards in your hog- killin’ clothes.”

Voice Over: “Don’t apple-pie your fingernails and aces your adenoids on the street.”

Voice Over: “Don’t coquette with the grocery, abnormally if your beard is still beefy and abounding of bed lint.”


Narrator: But no aggregate of amusing abilities and bread-and-butter advance could stop tensions from ascent amid blacks and whites in Northern cities. In 1919, chase riots exploded above the United States and hundreds of bodies were killed, best of them African American. It became accepted as “The Red Summer”.

James Grossman: In Chicago a anarchism bankrupt out in July of 1919. In the end, added than 30 bodies died. Hundreds were afflicted and The Chicago Apostle ran a box score. At the top of the advanced folio it would accumulate track, day by day, of how abounding bodies on anniversary ancillary had been killed.


Timuel Black: It was the promised land. It was with acreage of hope, but it was not absolutely the accomplishment of the promised acreage as they had anticipated. Yes, they had bigger jobs, their accouchement could go to bigger schools, and they could vote, but there were so abounding added obstacles like racism, the alteration of the Jim Crow of the South to the racism of the North.

Narrator: The Chicago Apostle became the best able articulation on account of African Americans that had anytime existed. The bags who heeded Abbott’s alarm to move North created new burghal communities and in burghal afterwards city, added atramentous newspapers were accustomed to serve them. About 500 atramentous newspapers were in book by the aboriginal 1920s. They were a ability on which absolute communities depended. But in the advancing decades, the affidavit would additionally accommodate atramentous readers with article intangible, achievement and pride.


Edward Abie Robinson: I anticipate were the heroes of the atramentous affiliation because we were the abandoned one that was able to abode and account for the things that was in the hearts of atramentous men and women and couldn’t say and couldn’t do.


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Phyl Garland: What weapons or what accoutrement did atramentous bodies accept in adjustment to added their own account or to present their argument? They were shut out of the affiliation as a whole, but the atramentous columnist represented this array of abstracted apple in which atramentous bodies lived, area they could be absolved from images, inferiorities that prevailed, that permeated, were able by what was accomplished in schools or apparent in boilerplate newspapers or in the movies. And they additionally gave them an befalling to authorize their own image, their own identity, and to acquaint anniversary added what they anticipation of themselves abstracted from that mainstream.


Narrator: Amid Apple War I and Apple War II, African American newspapers guided their readers through a durably absolute world. The affidavit provided advice that was banal but analytical for African Americans’ survival. Display ads appropriate area they could boutique afterwards risking humiliation. Classified ads told them which administration did not discriminate. Sports and affiliation pages acclaimed the athletes and professionals who the boilerplate columnist ignored. Atramentous newspapers showed the abounding spectrum of activity in atramentous communities. In return, African American readers advised bi-weekly men and women with account and adulation. In the boilerplate press, atramentous journalists were denied the befalling to convenance their ability and acquire a living, but in their apple they were stars.

Phyl Garland: Actuality an amateur or an athletically was about the abandoned affair added alluring than actuality a affiliate of the atramentous columnist with your byline out there so bodies could see you. Anybody knew them. “Here comes so-and-so.” Aback they absolved into a club or a restaurant, anybody was aflame and this was exciting stuff.

Edward Abie Robinson: My job was circulation, sports editor, affiliation editor, abomination reporter, and janitor. And we did all these things because they didn’t accept any money. The bacon that we fabricated was like bristles dollars a week. We could calculation on bristles dollars a week.

Phyl Garland: Newspapers survived in the best allotment on the base of their advertising, bodies who pay, ah, the bills. But the atramentous newspapers couldn’t get those big ads from the administration food and manufacturers who was tryin’ to ability consumers. They had to booty what they could get.

Narrator: The absence of ample revenue-generating ads affected atramentous newspapers into a connected clutter to addition circulation. Abounding were in around-the-clock banking agitation and accent journalism had to allotment amplitude with abandoned ads. But the abridgement of ample advertisers had its advantaged.

George Barbour: We had our abandon as a bi-weekly to address things as we saw it. And the acumen is because we did not accept any annex on big advertisers, corporations, and what-have-you. The ads we had were — were ads about — bark ads, hair, ah, beard ads. If you’re impotent, you care to access your — how to access yourself as a man, and so alternating like that. And these were baby ads. We depended mainly on circulation. As a result, we could address and broadcast aloof what we saw as the truth.


Narrator: For atramentous newspapers, the accuracy was article adapted than the abusive images of blacks in the boilerplate press. Cartoon caricatures on the funny pages were about the best arrant and offensive.


Chester Commodore: This is the blazon that we protested and aloof detested. With the assistant lips. It was alleged Mush Mouth lips. “Mush Mouth!” “(Unintell.)” “Where is my breakfast?” “Comin’ up, boss. Comin’ up!” It’s actual degrading. That wasn’t the way we looked, never looked that way either.

Narrator: The cartoonists of the atramentous columnist fought aback by creating their own heroes.


Voice Over: Jive Gray, ablaze anchorman on The Liberator, one of America’s adventuresome chase papers, gets a alarm from his editor’s office.

Voice Over: “Now aloof one thing. Are you accessible to accident your activity for a acceptable story?”

Voice Over: “Just try me.”

Chester Commodore: Atramentous cartoons were important to atramentous newspapers because they brought in address and I anticipate this is what atramentous cartoons expressed.


Narrator: Application cartoons as illustrations, J.A. Rogers wrote a Ripley’s Accept It Or Not of atramentous history. His amalgamated feature, “Your History”, was an addition to a atramentous accomplished that was abounding of surprises.

Phyl Garland: J.A. Rogers apparently had one of the bigger classrooms in the country because he accomplished bodies like me about atramentous history. He came up with some alarming truths. Everybody was black. Beethoven had atramentous claret and Napoleon ability accept had atramentous blood, and if he didn’t accept it, Josephine absolutely did.

Robert R. Lavelle: And we would apprehend that and sometimes we would beam (Laughs) because you’d accept it that we were royalty, you know, and all that. And we didn’t apperceive annihilation about royalty. You know, we blacks were aristocratic anyway. And — but we were — we were pharaohs of Egypt and we were the chiefs of all the tribes, you know, of Africa and we were all these things.

Robert R. Lavelle: He was absolutely appropriate in abounding instances, but we had such a poor angel of ourselves that we would badinage it. But yet I would acquisition myself not missing it, you know, readin’ it and readin’ it and pourin’ over it. It aloof started me on my growth, my maturation process, I assumption of – – of not denigratin’ self.


Narrator: At a time aback jobs were bare to blacks at boilerplate papers, atramentous newspapers were a training arena for African American lithographers, pressmen, and typographers. For artists and writers, atramentous newspapers could be an important ablution pad. Author and artisan Langston Hughes was a bi-weekly contributor in 1937. And Pulitzer Prize champ Gwendolyn Brooks wrote balladry for The Chicago Apostle while still a teenager. And the bless artisan Romer Bearden began his career as a artist for The Afro American in 1936. The atramentous columnist additionally accomplished a countless of photographers who shaped images of African Americans through their own lens.

Charles “Teenie” Harris: I was in the numbers and I admired pictures. And I didn’t appetence to get, you know, raided or somethin’ like ‘at. I aloof went on and told my brother, you know, “I’m quittin’ the numbers. I appetence to the pictures.”

Vera Jackson: It’s affectionate of difficult to ascendancy it like I did then. You’d ascendancy it and get it in focus and afresh accord instructions to your accountable and booty the account and aggregate would be aloof perfect.

George Barbour: At that time ablaze bulbs, beam ablaze bulbs, were big-ticket and the Courier abandoned gave Teenie a assertive bulk of money for the ablaze bulbs.

Charles “Teenie” Harris: And I would be out, I took seven and eight-ten pictures. I said, “Well, that’s silly.”

George Barbour: So he would take, accomplish absolutely that one shot, that one attempt was “the” shot.

Charles “Teenie” Harris: I (Unintell.) up like this and I (Unintell.). Test ’em all and that’s why they alleged me One Shot.

George Barbour: They additionally alleged him Teenie the Lover, ’cause he had a way — he had a way with the women.

Charles “Teenie” Harris: Well, I like to see the girls. I got a bang outta that.

Vera Jackson: It didn’t feel bad to, ah, be the abandoned woman aback like I was in the way of some photographer’s picture, I would, ah — I would claiming him and sometimes they’d say, “Well, you didn’t get anything.” And I’d say, “Well, it’s bigger than you got, I’m sure.” (Laughs) We consistently at that time were affronted for, ah, a absolutely image, a assertive activity and we absolutely formed adamantine at it to put the best bottom advanced in every picture.


Narrator: An accretion African American affiliation affronted newspapers into assisting businesses and above employers. The above affidavit had their own columnist presses that would get their affidavit to their own commitment trucks, which would put them in the easily of an army of acquisitive newsboys. Some papers, like Marcus Garvey’s Negro World, were abbreviate lived. But added became dynasties. The Scott Family’s Atlanta Apple grew to be one of the few atramentous circadian newspapers. The Baltimore Afro American, started by the Murphy Ancestors in 18892, would abide to be arise by the Murphys added than a hundred years later. Amid the wars, a new atramentous columnist emerged. Abounding affidavit had both political and bread-and-butter strength. The Amsterdam Account in New York, The Norfolk Journal and Guide in Virginia, and the cardboard that afterwards Apple War I would exhausted the apportionment of The Chicago Defender, Robert Vann’s Pittsburgh Courier.

Patrick Washburn: During Apple War I, The Pittsburgh Courier was aloof addition atramentous newspaper. There was annihilation aberrant about it. It was a baby newspaper. It was of no absolute acceptation in the country. There were a lot of atramentous newspapers that were the aforementioned size. Robert Vann wasn’t decidedly radical. Afterwards the war, though, he saw the adventitious to alpha authoritative his bi-weekly bigger. He capital to acquire added money and, ah, he did several things. One of ’em is he started the aboriginal civic atramentous bi-weekly in acceding of that he had like 15 editions. He had one in, ah, New York. He had one in St. Louis. He had one in Chicago. All about the country in these atramentous communities, aback they were accepting The Pittsburgh Courier, which was adapted from any added atramentous newspaper. He, ah, would run one position one week. The abutting anniversary he would change and run addition position, annihilation to get added circulation.

Frank Bolden: Vann was a politician, statesman, publisher, and a ablaze lawyer, a astringent taskmaster. There was abandoned two means to do things for him and the appropriate way was consistently Vann’s way. He was a adamantine man to acumen with, but Bob Vann was a visionary. He could see about the corners.

Phyl Garland: Mr. Vann was a committed charlatan and he went with the wind aback it was accessory the his objectives. At one point he absitively that the atramentous bodies were actuality taken for accepted by the Republican Party, which was the affair of Lincoln in the atramentous community. In 1932 the country is in the average of a abasement and there were opportunities, not abandoned for atramentous people, for himself, he thought. So he gave a accent in Cleveland area he suggested, he says he saw millions of atramentous bodies axis Lincoln’s account to the wall. This became a ambulatory cry for blacks to leave the Republican Affair and to become Democrats. He capital to advice his people, but in allowance his bodies he additionally helped himself.

Narrator: Afterwards Roosevelt was adopted in 1932, Vann was adored for bringing atramentous voters to the Democratic Affair aback an arrangement as an Assistant Attorney General. He connected as administrator of The Courier, acceptable the cardboard by hiring abounding of the best minds in the country. The abolitionist bookish W.E.B. Dubois aggregate amplitude as a columnist with a bourgeois George Schuyler and with Marcus Garvey, the baton of the Aback to Africa movement. Writer and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston wrote for The Courier. Columns like “As An Indian Sees It”, “Africa Speaks” and “A White Man’s Views” offered a assortment of assessment and created the advancing agitation that was the paper’s hallmark. At its height, The Courier had 15 columnists, added than any added cardboard in the country.


Narrator: Aback Vann died in 1940, he larboard The Courier as “the” best able atramentous bi-weekly in the nation.

Robert R. Lavelle: The Courier meant aggregate to me. It was my way out, my way out of a activity of abasement and helplessness, and a — and a activity of — of not havin’ any merit, any worth. I would appoint myself out to people, ask ’em to booty me out. One white man said he wasn’t gonna advise a “nigger” anything. I offered to assignment for annihilation for him and that was the blazon of ambience that we — that we were active in at that time. The Courier represented ability for atramentous bodies and we never had any power. And so The Courier represented article absolutely different.


Narrator: By the end of the 1930s, atramentous newspapers had accomplished new heights of apportionment and influence. But the atramentous columnist would be activated during Apple War II, aback the affidavit took on their bigger and best able opponent, the United States government.

FDR Articulation Over: “December 7th, 1941, a date aback will animate in infamy.”


Narrator: United States access into Apple War II led to an access of American patriotism. Abounding whites in mainstreams newspapers were afire cheerleaders, but for atramentous Americans activity for the war accomplishment was about choleric by the absinthian absoluteness of segregation.


Narrator: James Thompson, a cafeteria artisan from Wichita, Kansas, appropriate in a letter to The Pittsburgh Courier that African Americans use the war above to columnist for change in their own aback yard.

James Thomspon Articulation Over: “Should I cede my activity to animate half- American? Will things be bigger for the abutting bearing in the accord to follow? Let me atramentous Americans accept the Bifold V for the bifold victory. The aboriginal V for achievement over our enemies from without. The additional V for achievement over our enemies from within.”

Edna Chappell McKenzie: Aback this adolescent fella, Thompson, came up with the abstraction of the Bifold V, Achievement at Home and Achievement Abroad, it fit appropriate into all that we lived for.

Vernon Jarrett: Achievement in Europe and in the Pacific, achievement in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Chicago, and Harlem and Detroit, as well, acceptation a achievement adjoin racism.

Robert R. Lavelle: And so The Courier came out with this Bifold V attack and, of course, it advance — oh, we — we accepted it, hugged it, admired it, yeah. Agreed. That’s right. That’s what we did.

Narrator: The Courier accustomed bags of belletrist and telegrams and accurate James Thompson’s idea. To capitalize on its readers’ sentiments, the ever-pragmatic Courier stepped up the Bifold V campaign.

Patrick Washburn: The Pittsburgh Courier had a accurate diagram, which was this Bifold V with an hawkeye in the middle, and bodies admired this affectionate of diagram. And you had women walking about with Bifold Vs on their dresses. You had a new hairstyle alleged the “doubler” area atramentous women would airing about and braid two — two Vs in their hair. You had Bifold V baseball games, Bifold V flag-waving ceremonies, Bifold V gardens. I beggarly it’s aloof Bifold V this, Bifold V this, Bifold V this. And The Pittsburgh Courier, which was attractive for circulation, played this to the hilt. There was alike a Bifold V SONG .

DOUBLE V SONG : “Every time I see a adusk soldier man with that accent in his footfall and gettin'(?) a tan, I could body a cairn up in the sky and on it I would carve these words that cry. I’m a Yankee Doodle Dan, a Yankee Doodle Dan, area annihilation can become the (Unintell.) …

Edna Chappell McKenzie: We were in war and in war you don’t accept affable relationship. You’re out to annihilate anniversary other. And so that’s the way it was with The Courier. We were aggravating to annihilate Jim Crow and racism.

Christopher Reed: And how would the columnist do this? How would you antithesis your criticisms of — of America at home and maybe some of the hypocrisies complex in the war accomplishment abroad afterwards aural seditious? It was absolutely difficult.

Patrick Washburn: And the government acquainted that if these injustices are played up, maybe blacks will debris to, ah, abutment the war. Maybe they’ll alike go out and draft up ability plants, railroad lines. They never did this, but — but the activity was — I beggarly that was bidding in government documents. “We don’t apperceive what’s gonna happen. We don’t apperceive if we can win afterwards ten percent of the country.”

Edna Chappell McKenzie: Now what they didn’t assume to understand, that we had every accurate acumen to activity for abounding citizenship at home if we accepted to accord our lives overseas?


Narrator: Mattie Atramentous cautiously handed her teenaged son a letter in August of 1943. He was drafted into the US Army. Timuel Atramentous arise to 6230 Vernon Avenue in Chicago and was beatific by alternation to Camp Custer in Michigan.

Timuel Black: The Army, for me, was a actual bad experience. Hated anytime minute of it, ah, but it was adorning aback the atramentous affidavit would arise through. It was a assurance booster because usually the affidavit told what atramentous soldiers were doing.

George Barbour: We apprehend The Courier and it was somebody (Unintell.) — it was a friend. It was a acquaintance who kept us, ah, ah, let us apperceive that they were attractive out for our interests.

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Narrator: But the aggressive advised the atramentous columnist an enemy. It fabricated every accomplishment to accumulate African American newspapers from the troops.

Patrick Washburn: You had the Army take, ah, a cardinal of these atramentous newspapers and now acquiesce them to arise into the column libraries anymore. The Army said, “We don’t anticipate this is good. You can’t apprehend it.” On a cardinal of bases you had affidavit that were taken abroad from newsboys, atramentous newspapers. You had cardboard burnings. I beggarly you anticipate about the actuality that you had books that were austere in Germany. Well, you had bi-weekly burnings in Apple War II in this country.


Narrator: It was actionable aggressive activity to abode atramentous troops beneath the command of Southern white officers, because, according to the Army, “Southern whites knew best how to ‘handle’ the negro”. It was the Jim Crow army of a Jim Crow country. Alike the claret accumulation was segregated. Aback ancestral abandon erupted aural the Army, atramentous newspapers took it as their assignment to address the advance of atramentous soldiers by their own countrymen.

Patrick Washburn: Blacks and whites are affronted anniversary added in the Army camps. They’re killing anniversary added off. And the atramentous columnist aloof played this up to the hilt. On the advanced pages it reads this affectionate of announcement in aback one of the affidavit snuck a columnist into one of these camps during one of these pitched battles and took a agglomeration of pictures and came aback and bashed it on the advanced page, which angered the government.

Christopher Reed: The atramentous columnist had to address on these riots honestly, accurately to its atramentous readers. The federal government did not appetence advice abounding above the country that ability aching civic morale.

Edna Chappell McKenzie: They capital to shut us bottomward because we were accomplishing article which captivated the who United States of American government up to the badinage of the accomplished world. How can you go about and activity for capitalism aback you accept bodies that you are afflictive by law?

Frank Bolden: Now Edgar Hoover absitively that the atramentous columnist was alarming to America’s abundance in the war and he did all in his ability to allege ’em of sedition. Hoover had the President’s ear. He had the ear of about every President, and Roosevelt was no exception. Roosevelt was gullible. He was a accomplished President, but he was gullible. He didn’t accept the audacity to aloof acquaint Hoover no, the chat “no”. All he had to do with J. Edgar Hoover is say, “What allotment of no don’t you understand?”


Narrator: J. Edgar Hoover orchestrated hearings afore a baddest board of Congress. Frank Bolden, one of the aboriginal two African American war correspondents, was summoned to Washington from his column in Burma

FRANK BOLDEN: I aloof got a apprehension one day that I was capital in Washington to address on the activity of the troops as commendations this Bifold V affairs the Hoover said was an act of sedition. I abandoned backward two canicule because aback I begin out it was abounding and silly, I didn’t appetence to decay my time. The best I stayed, the added affronted I became at Hoover and I anticipation I’d bigger get out of there afore I said article out of turn, because I accept a actual abbreviate agglutinate for neanderthal psychoceramics, crackpots.

Patrick Washburn: The affair that J. Edgar Hoover has to do is he has to additionally go through the Attorney General of the United States, ah, Francis Biddle. And Francis Biddle and J. Edgar Hoover aren’t the buddies that J. Edgar Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt are.

Narrator: In 1942, Hoover presented Attorney General Francis Biddle with diffuse letters on what he saw as alienated activity by the African American press. He asked Biddle to arraign a accumulation of publishers for treason. John Sengstacke had because administrator of The Chicago Apostle in 1940 afterwards the afterlife of his uncle, Robert S. Abbott. Sengstacke was abashed by the growing blackmail of censorship.

JOHN SENGSTACKE: Well, I anticipate Biddle got the advice from President Roosevelt to abutting up the atramentous newspapers in this country. And, ah, I assuredly went to Mrs. Roosevelt and told her I capital to see Biddle and allocution with him.

Patrick Washburn: So in June, mid-June, 1942, John Sengstacke, the administrator of The Chicago Apostle and the to publisher, if you appetence to alarm him that, of the atramentous columnist came to the Justice Administration architecture in Washington. And he entered a room. Biddle was there to accommodated him. And advance out on this table were all these atramentous newspapers. Biddle says, “See these newspapers? These are affliction the war accomplishment and if you don’t stop autograph this stuff, we’re gonna booty some atramentous publishers to cloister beneath the Espionage Act.”

JOHN SENGSTACKE: I said, “What are we declared to do about it? These are facts and we aren’t gonna stop. That’s what it’s all about.” That’s what the atramentous columnist was all about, attention blacks in this country.

Patrick Washburn: You’ve got to apprehend what an absurd affair that is for Sengstacke to say to Biddle, because Biddle, the Attorney General of the United States, the top law officer, he acutely has the appropriate to booty him to court, if he wants to.

JOHN SENGSTACKE: But afterwards we explained to them what the botheration was and we were citizens like everybody abroad and capital to be, they had no botheration with it.

Narrator: Sengstacke larboard the Attorney General’s arrangement with an amazing agreement. Biddle would not arraign if the newspapers would not amplify their attack during the war.

Frank Bolden: Afterwards Biddle actuality there, Roosevelt would accept apparently succumbed to Hoover’s appeal to ban the atramentous columnist and allegation them with sedition. Accumulate in apperception there were added bodies in this country adjoin the atramentous columnist than were for the atramentous press. Abounding bodies thought, including some African Americans, anticipation the time was not appropriate for us to be allurement for an abolishment of additional chic citizenship aback the country was at war.


Narrator: As the war ended, the attack for adequation at home and abroad had pushed the accumulated apportionment of atramentous newspapers for a almanac aerial of two actor affidavit a week. But achievement at home had yet to be won.

Vernon Jarrett: The Bifold V attack said, “When you arise aback home, we appetence the apple to be different.” It was that simple. And it inspired. And we came aback home with that feeling. I came aback home with that feeling, that I’m not gonna booty what I acclimated to take, that I’m not activity to let them insult my mother and ancestor the way they already did because we are activity to activity back.

Patrick Washburn: The atramentous columnist absolutely was a agitator for the Civilian Rights Movement. I beggarly you attending at the atramentous affidavit in that time and they aren’t talking about civilian rights. They’re not application those words, but the things that they’re – – they’re aggravating to get for the atramentous affiliation and atramentous bodies are civilian rights. And if you had not had the atramentous columnist in this aeon from 1910 to 1950 and if you had not had Apple War II, the Civilian Rights Movement would accept started at a lot lower akin and started in — in the 1950s.


Narrator: In the agitated post-war years, African American newspapers were key actors in the dispatch attempt for amusing change. The contest of the 1950s and ’60s would affectation new challenges to atramentous publishers, but ultimately for the atramentous press, the Civilian Rights Movement’s success would accompany the aeon of its greatest ability to an end.

Edna Chappell McKenzie: I was assigned by P.L. Pratt as the burghal editor at that time, to go out and do a alternation of belief on how you were advised aback you went to a restaurant to be served. Ahm, I went because I had to, but it was an acute experience.

McKenzie Articulation Over: I was greeted by a waitress who befuddled her head, acceptation no service, I anon begin out, the minute I sat at the counter. “I can’t serve you a Coke or annihilation else,” she explained. I asked to allege with the administrator and he snarled. “Everybody knows I don’t serve negroes in here. You allegation be a drifter because if you lived in Clairton, you’d apperceive bigger than to arise in actuality and sit down.”

Edna Chappell McKenzie: And aback I went home at night, I was aloof so aching I would cry myself to sleep. But afresh I knew to be a determined anchorman and to do my allotment for the cause. I acquainted I was accomplishing what I bare to do.


Narrator: As the appeal for change escalated, some atramentous newspapers, like Charlotta Bass’ California Eagle, led the alarm for actual action.

Edward Abie Robinson: The California Hawkeye was takin’ on the apartment authority, the absolute acreage association, and badge brutality, three of the best affecting agencies in this city.

Narrator: But in the berserk atmosphere of the backward 1940s and aboriginal ’50s, Charlotta Bass’ artlessness fabricated her a target.

Jane Rhodes: The, ah, column arrangement at one point launched an analysis of her and started to abjure the commitment privileges of The California Eagle, that the FBI trailed her and apprehend through all of her, ah, accord and — and abrupt accessories from her bi-weekly and absolutely hounded her for — for abounding years, never because she absolutely declared that she was a communist, but because her activism was so acutely analytical of US government behavior that it was constituted as actuality too abolitionist and red inspired, and so forth.

QUOTE FROM CHARLOTTA BASS: “I appetence to ask our burghal board and all the agencies that cry “Beware of Communists”, if the communists are amenable for the prices that accept put foods above the ability of our poor people, fabricated it absurd for GI negroes and added minorities to animate in houses fit for animal habitation? No, my friends, not communism, but accepted acquisitiveness on the allotment of the affluent and able and their newspaper, radio, and speaking puppets is what keeps us, the people, disconnected and weak. They!”


Narrator: Charlotta Bass was branded a antipathetic and a trouble-maker. African American readers began to about-face abroad from The California Hawkeye and Bass’s abolitionist politics.

Edward Abie Robinson: Any actuality that didn’t accommodate with the cachet quo of white calendar was alleged a communist, a rebel, a crazy.

Vera Jackson: We were analytical of the — anyone who was labeled as a communist. We, ah, acquainted that, ah, that was absolutely the end of it, that was absolutely the, ah — it was a abhorrent characterization in those canicule to be alleged communist.

Narrator: Discourage by crumbling affiliation abutment and adverse annealed antagonism from the adolescent and beneath active Los Angeles Sentinel, Charlotta Bass awash The Hawkeye in 1951. She had led the cardboard for 40 years, but at the age of 71, Bass boarded on a new career.


Narrator: In 1952, Charlotta Bass became the aboriginal atramentous woman to run for civic arrangement as the Progressive Party’s applicant for Vice President.


Narrator: The California Hawkeye connected beneath new administration until July 7th, 1964. Aback its presses shut bottomward for the aftermost time, The Hawkeye had been in book for 86 years and was the oldest African American bi-weekly in the United States.

Edward Abie Robinson: Aback the Hawkeye assuredly bankrupt its doors for good, how can you say aback you arise your own funeral. How can you do that? There would never be a accumulation like this that would be able to do the things that we acquainted we were able of doing. We were buried. We were dead. And it was … it was a tragedy. It was a loss. And Los Angeles has never recovered from it.


Narrator: The access of the Civilian Rights Movement in the 1950s was a amazing civic account adventure with African Americans at its center. And for atramentous journalists, it was the adventitious of a lifetime.

Evelyn Cunningham: Hell was breaking apart Bottomward South. This adolescent man, this adolescent preacher in Montgomery was alpha to arise in the affidavit and I capital to get bottomward there. So they beatific me Bottomward South. I am in one of those sad little hotels in Montgomery aback I heard a bomb. So I abject over to Dr. King’s abode and, ahm, abiding enough, the advanced of the abode was demolished. You accept no abstraction the appulse of continuing and watching this adolescent man appeal with these hundreds of bodies who are continuing in advanced of his abode with Coke bottles and pipes accepting accessible to go into boondocks and exhausted up somebody, to watch him acquaint them to be calm, to be calm, that was not the way. So I wasn’t about to leave, ah, the South with my addition to Dr. King that way at that point.

Phyl Garland: It was the adventure of the century, yet, unfortunately, ah, best did not accept the assets to awning the Civilian Rights, ah, Movement as thoroughly as they capital to. This additionally was the time aback the white media were alpha to address on what was accident to blacks. Bodies could about-face on the television and see the dogs and the blaze hoses.

Jane Rhodes: Atramentous Americans for the aboriginal time accept choices. They can buy The New York Circadian Account in New York Burghal or The Chicago Tribune in Chicago and apprehend at atomic article about their affiliation and their leaders and their interests and apropos in a way that they hadn’t begin there 20 years earlier.


Narrator: The Civilian Rights Movement fabricated African Americans added arresting to the blow of the nation, and big advertisers began to see atramentous affidavit as a way to ability out to atramentous consumers. Increased announcement dollars lessened the newspapers’ assurance on circulation, but about announcement additionally had an aftereffect on the paper’s exhausted policy.

Frank Bolden: You can abandoned criticize White America so far. If you criticize them the way they did in the old days, you wouldn’t get the advertising. General Motors or a city administration abundance is not activity to let you bang White America on that advanced folio and afresh accord you a full-page ad on folio four and five.

Narrator: As abundant of the atramentous columnist backed abroad from apparent confrontation, agitated civilian agitation erupted in cities above the country. While the riots were adverse to atramentous communities, they had abrupt allowances for African American journalists.

Phyl Garland: White newspapers and television capital to acquisition what was activity on, so they assassin atramentous reporters in any numbers for the aboriginal time. And I apperceive accompany of abundance who confused into, ah, boilerplate at that time. They could adduce the accurate anarchism that led to their actuality hired.


Phyl Garland: Riots led to the affiliation of the columnist and a academician cesspool that was devastating.

George Barbour: The acumen why I didn’t break with the atramentous newspaper, the atramentous press, and I admired it — it was a abandon that a anchorman dreamed of — is because of the money, the banking situation. I had a ancestors I had to abutment and as a result, I was offered added money from the – – ah, from Westinghouse Broadcasting.

Vernon Jarrett: I enjoyed the admirers of the white-owned publications, the actuality that my letters were goin’ out all over the country and everywhere, but there was article adapted about alive for a atramentous newspaper, area no best shall the others allege for us.

Narrator: In the 1960s, atramentous bi-weekly apportionment beneath and the paper’s ability and access began to wane. And alike as the papers’ numbers accept beneath and their choir muted, the allegation for an absolute advancement columnist remains. The words accounting by editors Russwurm and Cornish in 1827 connected to resonate. “Too connected accept others announced for us.”

Evelyn Cunningham: The atramentous columnist today seems to acknowledge only, acknowledge to a — an affair or a bearings or acknowledge to article that’s in the white press. We actual rarely in our atramentous columnist today initiate, dig up belief or our own. And I anticipate we do allegation a atramentous columnist today, very, actual abundant so. We accept no articulation that tells us about our own lives.

Phyl Garland: Afterwards this arrangement of communication, it has been far added difficult for African American bodies to appreciate absolutely what is accident to them, to be able to accept a agitation on issues amid themselves, and additionally to advance and to accept their own leaders.

Frank Bolden: I acquainted bad alike aback I went to assignment about abroad because they accomplished me how to write, how to accomplish up a newspaper, the amount of news, and the amount of actuality truthful. The atramentous columnist was the apostle of all our dreams, wishes, and desires. I still anticipate it was a greatest apostle for according and civilian rights that atramentous bodies anytime had in America. It had an aftereffect on everybody.



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