Black Press vital in forging path for civil rights

A continued fight for justice

Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Correspondent | 1/24/2019, midnight

The Black Press became one of the only means of communication between Black people.

“Black men and women were vilified in the New York press in the 1800s,” Leavell said. “Some White newspaper publishers sought to defend the dignity, honor and character of Black people, however, Russwurm and Cornish said they, ‘wish to plead our own cause.’”

Without the Black Press, genuine stories of African-Americans would go untold, Robert W. Bogle, the publisher of the “The Philadelphia Tribune,” said during a recent NNPA conference.

Bogle said that only Black people can tell their stories accurately. “We are as relevant today as we were when the ‘Freedom’s Journal’ said they wanted to tell our story in our words,” said Bogle.

NNPA, the Black Press of America, represents more than 215 African-American owned newspapers and media companies around the country with a combined weekly subscribership of more than 22 million.

When celebrating the 190th anniversary of the Black Press in 2017, NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. said that March 16, 2017 is a sacred historical day in the long, multi-dimensional freedom struggle of African people in America and throughout the world, because of the courage of Russwurm and Cornish who dared first to publish the “Freedom’s Journal.”

Chavis said that the Black Press in America has been on the frontlines of social change in the United States for [more than 190] years. “Today, more than ever, the Black Press remains the trusted and audacious voice of Black America,” said Chavis.

“Today, the NNPA continues this irrepressible tradition of publishing truth to power. Our freedom fighting publishers are all united as we reaffirm the vital importance and relevance of the Black Press now and into the future.”

And, as African Americans and others observe Black History Month, Brown said she’d like to see the Black Press continue to capture current events that aren’t borne from reports done by other media outlets.

“Tell the story of the Black entrepreneur. There are so many people who are reconnecting with the spirit of our ancestors to get our own bootstraps to pull ourselves up with,” Brown said. “Black entrepreneurs are daring to defy the business norms in an effort to explore financial freedom and chart new territory that we can call our own.”

Excerpt:“The Black Press is an aspect of the fabric of the Black existence in America that is not getting enough attention or support from the community,” Kisha A. Brown, the founder and CEO of Justis Connection, told NNPA Newswire.