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Y'ellow Spjrljcig-s, Ofctio 

Table of Contents 






One Hundred Per Cent American 32 

The Champion of the Negro Cause 35 

Widening Horizon 38 



Sensationalism 43 

So-Called "Enlightened" Self-interest 47 

Quislingism, the Negro's Greatest Enemy 52 

Freedom of the Press 63 


Number and Circulation 66 

Subscription Rates 71 

Publishing Establishments 72 

Wage and Labor Policies 75 





Ante-Bellum Newspapers 122 

From the Civil War to the Close of the First World War 124 

From the Close of the First World War to Date ... 126 

Negro Magazines Today 129 









prehcnsive book or a series of small volumes on Negro 
business 1 when I first completed my master's thesis on 
"Commercial Education in Negro Colleges" at the Uni- 
versity of Iowa in 1932. Five years later, I finished my 
doctor's thesis at Clark University (Massachusetts), using 
the same subject but enlarging its scope. This necessitated 
my visiting all the Negro colleges which were then offer- 
ing business curricula. I was dismayed to find that many 
students as well as teachers knew very little about the 
historical background of Negro business, its difficulties, 
its needs, and its potentialities. This was due, in part, to 
the fact that there was not any worthwhile literature on 
Negro business other than a few articles scattered in 
various magazines, a few reports published some forty 
years earlier, a mimeographed book on the Development 

1 The phrase "Negro business" is used here and thmout this 
book to mean business enterprises owned and operated by Negroes. 

- 3- 


of Negro Life Insurance Enterprise by William J. Trent 
published in 1933, and two excellent tho old books on the 
Negro Press: The Afro-American Press by I. Garland 
Penn published in 1891 and The Negro Press in the Uni- 
ted States by Frederick G. Detweiler published in 1922. 
Since then there have appeared two more books: An 
Economic Detour: A history of insurance in the lives of 
American Negroes, a book of very valuable tho poorly 
digested information written in 1940 by M. S. Stuart, a 
man in the insurance business; and the Negro Business 
and Business Education, the product of a comprehensive 
and valuable study sponsored by the General Education 
Board, written by Joseph A. Pierce, and published in 1947. 
The three volumes, which I am planning to publish under 
the general title of The Negro Entrepreneur, approach 
the subject of Negro business from a different angle; 
hence they do not duplicate Dr. Pierce's recent study, 
but definitely supplement it. These volumes have the 
added value of being highly critical as well as construc- 
tive in their evaluation of the present status of Negro 
business, especially since their author did not have to 
"sing to any one's tune." 

Constant questioning by students about Negro busi- 
ness made me realize how urgent the need for such a 
book is. Thus it was that I first conceived the idea of 
writing it. With this in mind I tried for three years to 
secure a fellowship from the Rosenwald Fund and the 

- 4- 


General Education Board, but my efforts were unsuc- 
cessful. Later on when I learned that the General Educa- 
tion Board was financing a large scale study of Negro 
business under the auspices of Atlanta University and 
the National Urban League, I volunteered my services 
for conducting that part of the research which dealt with 
business education in Negro colleges and universities, 
but I was unable to get any sympathetic response. 

It appears that most philanthropic organizations, and 
especially those which administer aid to minority groups, 
are closely tied with a few "proper" persons from each 
minority group, and unless these persons give the right 
signal, the applicant for aid is "out of luck." While I was 
trying all the available sources which would have per- 
mitted me to devote full time to this project, I was work- 
ing diligently on it in my spare time and during summer 
vacations. The entire book, when completed, did not turn 
out to be as exhaustive as I would have liked even tho I 
had spent a considerable amount of time and money on 
study and travel to finish it. The difficulty of getting 
replies to letters sent to our business men, many of whom 
have failed to develop a sense of responsibility toward 
good public relations, made my task doubly hard. "The- 
public-be-damned" attitude, so common in our business 
men as evidenced by their wholesale failure to answer 
letters that do not bring in direct and immediate mone- 
tary returns, may be partly due to their short-sightedness 



and partly to their being comparatively free from keen 
competition in the business fields in which they are gen- 
erally engaged. 

Much of the material of the entire study has been 
ready for some time, but I was hesitant to release it. One 
general reaction of many of my friends who read the en- 
tire manuscript was that the book was too critical of 
Negro business. Yet, try as I would, I could find no way 
of being honest with myself and at the same time ser- 
viceable to the future of Negro business except by being 
critical; for in this way alone can real service be rendered. 
Sugar-coated criticism quite often misses its mark as the 
listener may fail to see beyond the sugar-coating and 
may develop an attitude of smugness which often leads 
him to ultimate ruination. An attitude of receptivity to 
constructive criticism, on the other hand, is something 
that all persons should be eager to cultivate if they 
really mean to make progress. 

It is, indeed, disheartening and often sickening to see 
educators dissipating their creative ability in wrangling 
over the Du Bois vs Washington controversy instead of 
accepting the simple truth that both men were inspired 
with the highest of ideals and motives, that they were 
primarily interested not in themselves but in the uplift 
of the Negro as a whole, and that each expressed himself 
as he saw the problem and its solution. Being raised 
under different circumstances and with different back- 



grounds, their views were bound to be different, and to 
accuse either of them with race disloyalty is utter folly. 

If one were to take Dale Carnegie seriously and follow 
the philosophy expressed in his popular book, How to 
Win Friends and Influence People, there would be no 
progress made in human society. There would be no men 
like W. E. B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Phillip Ran- 
dolph, Clayton Powell, and many others who certainly 
have never gone about with the sole idea of winning 
friends. "Mutual Admiration" societies a la Dale Carnegie 
may have their merits, but quite often they end in cre- 
ating inflated heads the worst curse of human progress, 
individual or group. When a patient needs an immediate 
surgical operation, no doctor can cure him by soft and 
pleasing words or by postponing the crucial day in order 
to keep the patient in good humor and win his friend- 
ship. Neither can die-hards and unimaginative and con- 
servative people be aroused to action except by strong 
and stinging blows. 

It is with these things in mind and with the full 
realization of my sense of responsibility that this series 
is being written in the hope that it might help in stimu- 
lating some of our business leaders to action by bringing 
them to accept the challenge offered in its pages. I am 
also hoping that the appearance of this book, changed 
into a series of small volumes for reasons explained later, 
might stimulate some agency to commission someone 



to devote his entire time to study and travel for two to 
three years in order to gather the information necessary 
for writing a more exhaustive treatise. 

\l The segregation of American Negroes, who comprise 
approximately one-tenth of the total population, has led 
to the development of a new philosophy. This philosophy, 
which has now many strong adherents, holds to the doc- 
trine that the creation of a civilization within a civiliza- 
tion and the building of a segregated economy within 
the framework of a national economy are partial and 
temporary yet effective solutions to the Negro's socio- 
economic problems. It was this doctrine that led Booker 
T. Washington to organize the National Negro Business 
League in 1900; it had and still has thousands of adher- 
ents who are faithful to this day, I classify myself as one 
of them. 

The depression of the thirties struck the Negro worker 
and the Negro business man most heavily. As a partial 
solution to their economic plight, several successful boy- 
cotts were launched in Chicago in the early thirties. 
Leaders of this movement were supported by Negro 
newspapers and business men, both of whom expected 
direct benefits from the success of such campaigns. These 
boycotts were directed only toward white business enter- 
prises in Negro neighborhoods which did not employ 
Negro clerks, salesmen, or managers in their establish- 



ments. The slogan of this movement was: "Don't Spend 
Your Money Where You Can't Work." This meant that 
.if Negroes were not being employed in business enter- 
prises because of their race, then, out of self-respect as 
well as for self-protection, they should refrain from patro- 
nizing such enterprises and should buy their wares from 
Negro stores, or from white stores which do not discrimi- 
nate against Negroes in their employment practices. 

This movement brought many successful results and 
soon other cities, particularly those located in the North, 
followed Chicago's lead. While quite dormant during 
the recent war, when everyone who wanted work found 
work, it seems that the movement is likely to start again 
in full swing. The Vanguard League in Columbus, Ohio, 
under the leadership of Frank C Shearer, a brilliant law- 
yer and an indefatigable worker; the Future Outlook 
League in Cleveland, under the dynamic leadership of 
John O. Holly; the Housewives' League in Detroit, under 
the leadership of Mrs. Fannie B. Peck; and many other 
similar organizations scattered thruout the United States 
have opened several new employment opportunities for 
Negroes during the Second World War, often without 
resorting to the boycott and picketing methods. Labor 
shortages existing during the recent war made their task 
easy. Other cities, particularly those in the North where 
the Negro has enough political freedom to assure for 
himself a reasonably fair deal in the courts, should do 


everything possible to gain further entries into white 
collar jobs. Organized effort should also be made for 
preserving the gains already made in such jobs. 

If the policy "Don't Spend Your Money Where You 
Can't Work" is carried out to its logical conclusion, it 
not only strengthens the argument for a completely seg- 
regated economy (if such an economy is possible under 
our present complex industrial organization), but may 
lead to a counter movement by whites to shut out Negroes 
from work in those industries which do not enjoy a 
large Negro patronage. Such seems to be the contention of 
Dr. Abram L. Harris, formerly a professor of econom- 
ics at Howard University and now employed by the 
University of Chicago, the most liberal of all liberal uni- 
versities. In discussing the plight of the Negro middle 
class in his book The Negro as Capitalist, he expresses 
his conviction that the Negro leaders and business men 
behind this movement are motivated by the selfish desire 
to monopolize and to exploit the Negro market for them- 
selves by replacing the white merchants. "The Negro 
masses who seem to follow them blindly do not see," 
asserts Dr. Harris, "that they have no greater exploiter 
than the black capitalist who lives upon low-waged if 
not sweated labor, although he and his family may, and 
often do, live in conspicuous luxury." 2 

2 Abram L. Harris, The Negro as Capitalist, Philadelphia: 
American Academy of Political and Social Science, 1936, p. 184. 

- 10 - 


When one seriously but vainly looks around for phil- 
anthropic donations from Negro capitalists to aid in up- 
lifting the masses on whose support they are thriving, 
one is forced to admit the truthful implications of Dr. 
Harris' statement. One can say, however, with equal 
truthfulness, that the fathers of the American Revolu- 
tion were also guided by identical motives of self-advance- 
ment: they desired to capture the market then controlled 
by the English with a view to exploiting it for their own 
benefit. Our present competitive system of economy is 
so organized that the success of one individual is often 
achieved by the downfall of another. While, therefore, 
I agree with Dr. Harris in the contention that a black 
capitalist is no better than a white one, I believe that, in 
the absense of a better program, we should welcome 
further increase in the number of "black capitalists." 
Exploitation at best is bad, but, from a long range point- 
of-view, the exploitation of a people by some of its own 
people is less devastating than exploitation by outsiders. 
For that reason, the slogan "Don't Spend Your Money 
Where You Can't Work" should be constandy hammered 
into the consciousness of the buying public in spite of the 
possible, tho not probable, danger of the whites shutting 
out Negroes from work on similar grounds. Until a more 
practical program is presented, Negroes should continue 
their efforts by peaceful means to gain further entries 
into white business enterprises dependent upon Negro 

- ii - 


patronage. This movement should be carried down to 
Southern cities where conditions warrant such action. 

I believe quite strongly that before the Negro can suc- 
cessfully fight for his complete integration in the present 
American social and economic order, he must build a 
strong "Negro economy" within the fabric of "white 
economy." With this in mind, I have pointed out in this 
series that the Negro has not even scratched the surface 
of many opportunities open to him even in the limited 
fields of business ventures and that he can easily expand 
his present business enterprises in retail trade, service es- 
tablishments, insurance, newspapers, and service agencies 
dominated by whites to several times their present size 
by improving upon his present methods of doing business. 

I have also pointed out in this series that blaming the 
educated classes for not supporting racial enterprises as 
blindly as the masses seem to do will only aggravate the 
problem and that what the Negro business man needs 
to do is to set his house in order and offer his services 
and goods only on the basis of "as good as any other at 
the same cost." After all, the primary purpose of every 
business man is to make a profit for himself. Any attempt 
to mislead the public on this issue will end in disaster. 
The Negro public is gradually becoming fool-proof 
against any and all ballyhoo tactics. At the same time, it 
is becoming more race conscious and hence more eager 
and willing to support Negro business. Low as the Ne- 

- 12 - 


gro's economic status is, it should not be further lowered 
by a system of higher prices just to support racial enter- 
prises. I have seen many white business enterprises lo- 
cated in Negro neighborhoods fail entirely whenever 
they received strong competition from Negro enterprises 
whose appeal rested solely on the quality of service rather 
than on race loyalty. Excellent examples of this will be 
given in the chapter on "Case histories of some success- 
ful business ventures" in the third volume, titled The 
Negro's Adventure in General Business. 

It is high time that our business men realize that the 
days of ruthless competition and sharp business practices 
are passing away rapidly. As a result of the recent econo- 
mic and political death struggle in which the whole 
world was engaged, a new social and economic order is 
emerging, slowly yet steadily, both here and abroad. The 
question, therefore, arises: Have Negro business men 
enough sound judgment and strength of character to re- 
shape voluntarily their old worn-out laissez jaire philoso- 
phy or will they have to be compelled to do this by the 
onslaught of changing social forces? Negro business has 
reached a milestone and it ought to be justly proud of 
this achievement, but, at the same time, it must also re- 
alize that the enviable and praiseworthy success of a 
handful of business men will in no way solve the problem 
of the ninety per cent of Negroes who are still living in 


ignorance and dire poverty. Our business men, therefore, 
must develop a social consciousness without which their 
success will not mean much to the masses. 

The lack of social vision and philanthropic spirit in 
the Negro capitalist of today makes a very sad story in- 
deed! Atlanta University is the only Negro institution 
which has an endowed chair for the training of Negro 
youth in business, but the endowment comes from white 
philanthropy. The means for the only large scale survey 
of the present status of Negro business, just completed 
by Atlanta University and the National Urban League, 
also came from white philanthropy. Negro business has 
reached such a height that it could have undertaken this 
study without any financial aid from any outside source. 
After all, there are many successful business men who 
have amassed considerable fortunes thru the patronage 
of their own race. 

It might be noted here in passing that success of Negro 
business should not be measured merely by the number 
of Negro capitalists in proportion to white ones, but 
rather by the number of sympathetic Negro capitalists 
who are directly concerned in the Negro's welfare as 
against unsympathetic white ones who have nothing di- 
rectly at stake and who often open business enterprises 
in Negro neighborhoods only as stepping stones for their 
later business ventures exclusively in the white world. 

- 14- 


To avoid delay and annoyance that would have been 
inevitable had I taken the necessary time to "shop around" 
for a publisher for this book, I decided to undertake this 
job myself and go thru the thrill, the anxiety, and the 
worry incident to the publication and marketing of the 
book. I soon realized, however, that the printing costs 
had risen over 100 per cent in the case of low cost estab- 
lishments which hitherto had asked only a nominal 
price. The increased printing cost meant the sinking in 
of a larger sum of money than I could very well afford, 
especially when one considers the relatively limited mar- 
ket for this type of product. If I had decided to print 
several thousand copies, the unit cost would have fallen 
down considerably, but, on the basis of available statistics, 
I concluded that only a small number of copies will satis- 
fy the market, thus making the unit cost very high. It 
was the prohibitive cost of printing and binding plus my 
unwillingness to delay the publication any longer that 
led me to the decision of dividing the book as originally 
conceived into a series of three volumes and of publishing 
one volume at a time. 

Such a plan for publishing the book has another 
advantage. Material on such important ventures as news- 
papers, insurance, banking, and others is likely to be 
lost in a large book on the general subject of business. 
Division, on the other hand, into three small and easily 
readable volumes will afford proper emphasis to each of 

- 15- 


these types of ventures. All these considerations led me 
to divide the larger book, The Negro Entrepreneur, into 
the following three volumes: 

The Negro Newspaper 

Negro Insurance and Banking 

The Negro's Adventure in General Business 

The names of the first two volumes are self-explana- 
tory and require no further elaboration. In the third vol- 
ume, The Negro's Adventure in General Business, I dis- 
cuss the subject of popular business ventures. The follow- 
ing topics will indicate the scope: A brief history of the 
development of Negro business, economic development 
of the Negro, business opportunities open to Negroes, 
the National Negro Business League, case histories of 
some successful business ventures, and a functional pro- 
gram of business education. Dr. Frederick D. Patterson, 
president of Tuskegee Institute and past president of the 
National Negro Business League for several years, has 
written the introduction to the third volume. 

The question of business education in Negro col- 
leges, the type of curricula offered, the demand for such 
education, the need for changes in their present program, 
and other matters dealing with business education have 
been touched but lightly in the third volume under the 
chapter tided "A functional program of business educa- 
tion." Education for business training is, in reality, a sep- 



arate and distinct phase of Negro business a phase which 
has unfortunately been neglected too long by educators 
and by business men. Since adequate training programs 
in business will undoubtedly help in the healthy devel- 
opment of Negro business, it is my intention to discuss, 
in full detail, the entire question of business education 
in Negro colleges, either as a fourth volume of this series 
or as a separate book. 

The Negro Newspaper is selected to appear as the 
first of the series because of my conviction that a critical 
evaluation of the Negro Press is overdue and that with- 
holding this material any longer would make it stale. I 
have shown in this volume that newspapers have already 
lost a major part of their leadership in molding public 
opinion and that, unless they begin rapidly to develop a 
genuine social consciousness, they will lose their leader- 
ship entirely and become like gramophones without souls. 
In reading this volume one might suddenly realize that 
the newspapers of today do not necessarily reflect public 
opinion and that what is normally passed on by them as 
such is often the reflection of the thinking of their editors 
or publishers. Keeping in mind that the newspapers 
"make no bones" about criticizing everything that in any 
way conflicts with their own pet ideas, I have been very 
critical in evaluating them in the hope that they will 
take such criticism as gracefully as they "dish it out." I 
have also made some suggestions for their improvement. 



So many persons have helped me in various ways in 
putting this series of three volumes together that it is 
impossible to name all of them here. A few persons, 
however, deserve special mention. I owe a deep debt of 
gratitude to Dr. Frederick D. Patterson, president of Tus- 
kegee Institute, for his active encouragement in having 
me as guest of the institution while I used the files of its 
Records and Research Department and for his direct con- 
tribution to this series in writing the introduction to the 
third volume; to Mr. Charles H. Loeb, news editor of the 
Cleveland Call and Post and president of the Editorial 
Society of the Negro Newspaper Publishers Association, 
for his introduction to this volume; to Professor E. 
Champ Warrick of Wilberforce University for the excel- 
lent and meticulous editing and proofreading which Kave 
made the book more readable; to Miss Mollie E. Dunlap, 
Librarian of Wilberforce University, for help in securing 
reference material thru inter-library loans and for assis- 
tence in proofreading the manuscript; to Dr. Charles 
Leander Hill, president of Wilberforce University, for 
his concrete encouragement in every possible way; to 
the Youngs, father and sons, of the Journal and Guide, to 
Professor Armistead S. Pride of the School of Journalism 
at Lincoln University, Missouri, and to Mr. Joseph B. La 
Cour, manager of the Associated Publishers, Inc., for their 
critical, valuable, and helpful comments on certain sec- 
tions of this volume dealing with their special fields of 

- 18- 


interest; to the staffs of Fisk and Howard libraries for 
their courtesies; and to my wife Evangeline who urged 
me to finish the series with constant assurance that even 
if no one else prized them she would, nevertheless, regard 
them highly as crowning several years' hard labor and 
arising out of a sincere desire to tell the truth as I saw it 
in the hope that it would help Negro business in the long 
run. I must add that I assume full responsibility for the 
interpretations of facts and for the points-of-view ex- 
pressed. Those who have advised and helped me should 
not be saddled with any blame or censure whatsoever. 
Finally, I am indebted to the management of the Antioch 
Press for their sympathetic guidance born out of wide 
experience in dealing with manuscripts. 




gro newspaper, whether its editorial policy is militant or 
accommodating, blatantly radical or complacently con- 
servative, you will find a medium of special advocacy of 
human rights. 

With a few exceptions, and not all of them in the 
deep South, you will find the Negro Press a fighting 
p.res$. Seldom is the perusal of its pages a pleasant ven- 
ture into a new literature for its growing number of 
white readers, for the pages of America's Negro news- 
papers almost incessantly cry out in big bold type against 
the injustices of the second-class citizenship accorded 
its readers. 

It is not strange that a considerable number of white 
readers of Negro newspapers are prone to believe that 
Negro editorial writers turn out their copy on some 

*President. Editorial Society, Negro Newspaper Publishers Association. 
- 20 - 


special type of wailing wall, for a major proportion of 
editorials in the Negro Press are fervent cries for or 
against something. Negro editors cry out for justice, cry 
out for equal opportunity, complain bitterly against the 
status quo which relegates its readers to disfranchisement 
and economic slavery in the Southland and to slum ghet- 
tos and job discriminations in the Northern sections of 
the nation. There are cries against the Bilboes, Rankins, 
and Talmadges in the South, and cries for modern white 
emancipators to arise in the North. 

And there is only here and there the faintest expres- 
sion of hope that this journalistic wailing at the wall 
will soon abate. Those who expect the honesdy-motivated 
Negro journalist to depart soon from this incessant wail- 
ing are in for a great deal of disappointment, for the very 
origin of the Negrq^aewspaper is steeped in the fight 
against injustice. The first Negro newspaper, Freedom's 
Journal, was launched in 1827 by John B. Russwurm and 
Samuel E. Cornish as an abolitionist organ in the struggle 
to eradicate slavery. Frederick Douglass' North Star was 
brought into being during the Civil War and was one 
of the most potent factors leading up to the emancipation 

/Strangely enough, there exists no planning, no collu- 
sion, no overall strategy between Negro newsmen in 
this unanimity of protest, for the policies of the Negro 
Press have never been regulated by a central voice of 

- 21 - 


authority. Indeed, it is only within very recent years 
that the intense rivalry among Negro publishers for the 
limited number of available readers has permitted the 
organization of the Negro Newspaper Publishers Associa- 
tion in which less than 75 of the nation's more than 200 
periodicals maintain membership. Even this Association, 
while bringing Negro publishers and journalists together 
for consideration of such common problems as the stan- 
dardization of rates, elimination of offensive advertising, 
and higher journalistic standards, and for comparison of 
business techniques, makes little or no attempt to govern 
the editorial or news policies of its member papers. 

The growth of the Negro Press, at least in circulation, 
has been in almost direct proportion to the growth in 
literacy among American Negroes, and the trend is 
toward continuing growth. In 1870, there were 10 Negro 
journals in North America; in 1880, there were 21; in 
1890 there were 154. In 1880, there were Negro publica- 
tions in 19 states; in 1890, in 28 states. Most of them had 
small, almost negligible, circulation. Many of them were 
fly-by-night propositions that soon failed, but some of 
them like the Washington Bee, the Cleveland Gazette, 
the Philadelphia Tribune, and the New Yorf^ Age were 
destined to have many years of national influence. The 
majority of these early newspapers were "One-Man" pro- 
positions, printed for the most part in plants owned and 

- 22 - 


operated by whites, and usually terminating with the 
demise of their publishers. 

Today, the nation's most influential Negro newspa- 
pers are housed in modern plants where hundreds of well- 
trained craftsmen are employed. Whenever the coals of 
adverse criticism are heaped upon the heads of Negro 
publishers and working newsmen, they may well take 
pride in the consideration of the almost unsurmountable 
obstacles that were overcome in the process of develop- 
ing these plants. 

Few other business enterprises operated by any people 
anywhere have had to seek maturity against such handi- 
caps as have confronted the Negro publisher. To begin 
with, there were the formidable barriers against the Ne- 
gro's attempt to obtain higher education the higher edu- 
cation that is the requisite to the faultless, fluent, objective 
writing so ardently desired by those who castigate the 
Negro Press for its inaccuracy, sensationalism, and poor 

Confronting every Negro who embarks upon a pub- 
lisher's career are the dead bodies of previous failures. 
However, once embarked upon this risky career the 
would-be publisher faces the still insurmountable barrier 
of frozen bank credits. What sensible white banker can 
be expected to give financial aid and succor to a propa- 
ganda vehicle dedicated to resist worker-exploitation, and 
which incessantly wails against the status quo! "Why 



warm this viper at our financial bosom?" was the think- 
ing of the white banker of yesterday and of today. 

It is for this reason that there is a story strikingly 
repetitious in the history of every successful Negro news- 
paper. A lone pioneer who writes his own stories and edi- 
torials, has them printed in a white shop, distributes his 
own circulation, solicits his own ads, until bit by bit the 
necessary machinery is assembled; one by one the mechan- 
ical force is employed. This is the familiar story of the 
Robert S. Abbotts, the Murphy Brothers, the Youngs of 
Virginia, the William O. Walkers, and others whose 
names are outstanding in Negro journalism today. 

Then comes the tortuous business of training type- 
setters, compositors, layout men, stereotypers, and press- 
men for the slowly developing plants. Only two schools 
in the nation, Hampton and Tuskegee Institutes, have 
offered Negro Americans the mere semblance of typo- 
graphical training. Schools in which Negroes may learn 
to operate high speed rotary presses are virtually non- 
existent The craft unions that dominate the printing 
industry are still closed to Negro youth for apprentice 
training. Negro photo-engravers, of whom there are 
fewer than fifty in the United States, are either self-taught 
or the products of other Negroes employed in Negro 
newspaper plants. 

No one knows better than the publisher of a small 
Negro newspaper how much tolerance of a sympathetic 



readership, a readership hungry for news of its progress 
and grateful for a champion, has figured in the continu- 
ing growth of the Negro Press. Without this tolerance, 
few of today's Negro newspapers would have been able 
to survive the thousands of poorly-printed editions, the 
atrocious cuts and engravings, the complete lack of for- 
mat and balance, and the galleys of stale news that have 
characterized so many Negro newspapers. 

This tolerance is the most eloquent tribute that can be 
paid to the type of unselfish community service the great, 
great majority of Negro publishers have sought to render. 
The charlatans and fakes, the self-seekers and false lead- 
ers, the political opportunists and race traitors rarely sur- 
vive for more than a year or two. 

Negro publishers are engaged in a ceaseless struggle 
for anything resembling a fair .share of advertising reve- 
nue. It is only within recent years that the Negro Press 
has received even token accounts from big national ad- 
vertisers. However, there are many of the "middle class" 
newspapers (circulation between 40,0000 and 60,000) 
which have learned to develop their local markets. These 
papers are running close to fifty per cent advertising in 
their columns, securing the major portion of their busi- 
ness from Negro-owned establishments in the commu- 
nity, from white-owned establishments in the Negro com- 
munity, and thru local tie-ins with national advertisers. 
Wherever the smaller "local" newspapers have overcome 



this advertising dilemma they have ousted the objection- 
able "lucky charm," dream book, and occult advertising 
from their columns. Since the formation of the Negro 
Newspaper Publishers Association there has been a sig- 
nificant reduction of this type of copy in newspapers op- 
erated by its members. 

There can be no question today of the enormous im- 
portance of the Negro Press in forming Negro opinion, 
in the improvement of educational opportunities for Ne- 
groes, in the field of interracial relationships, and in the 
elevation of the level of the Negro people towards incon- 
testable equality with their fellow citizens of other races. 

For many years the Negro minister was the only 
leader of the race. He was both spiritual and practical 
leader. The advent and growth of the Negro Press has 
seriously challenged this exclusive leadership, and unfor- 
tunately, has created much unnecessary and, at times, 
ridiculous strife between these two important molders of 
Negro thought and progress. The astute Negro newsman 
is the last to underestimate the continuing influence and 
power of the Negro pulpiteer, and he is generally eager 
to seek his cooperation. Only the most self-centered and 
ill-advised of today's Negro ministers fails to avail him- 
self of the cooperation freely offered him by the nation's 
Negro newsmen. 



There are glorious years ahead for the Negro Press 
which Dr. Oak, the author of this book, so aptly points 
out, "has now definitely passed its initial period of ex- 
periment, of evangelism, and of missionary zeal." 

So long as the metropolitan newspapers of our nation 
continue to play down Negro achievement while playing 
up Negro crime; so long as they persist in ignoring the 
cultural and social life of the Negro people; so long as 
they continue their stubborn policy of giving only pass- 
ing thought to the Negro citizen as an American entity of 
considerable importance; so long as they are overly cau- 
tious in joining the crusade for full equality for all Amer- 
icans regardless of racial origin or of color, the Negro 
Press will remain indispensable to Negro progress. 

As the educational level of the Negro people rises, a 
larger and more exacting audience will be afforded the 
Negro Press. As Dr. Oak points out in his illuminating 
treatment of the subject, the Negro Press must become 
aware of the need to meet this rapidly-developing audi- 
ence of critics. In future years, the Negro Press will find 
itself called upon to produce a better printed, better writ- 
ten, and more objective newspaper. I am confident that 
it will meet this challenge. 

In the not too distant future, with the necessary im- 
provement and expansion of the already established news 
agencies and the ability of Negro publishers to procure 
modern news facilities, there will come into being power- 



ful daily newspapers operated by Negroes not weekly 
newspapers printed daily, but real dailies providing world 
news highlights regardless of color or implications, and 
retaining the same devotion to racial unity and progress 
that is the outstanding characteristic of today's Negro 

Even with the coming of the day and it will come 
when a citizen of the world will be recognized for his 
ability and merit regardless of his race or color or re- 
ligion, the Negro Press will continue to flourish. While 
one would be indeed blind if he failed to see the constant 
movement in America away from intolerance and racial 
discrimination, the Negro publisher hardly has reason 
to visualize impending doom. 

Gunnar Myrdal, in his American Dilemma, after an 
exhaustive study of Negro problems and institutions in 
the United States, concludes that the Negro Press is "the 
greatest single power in the Negro race." 

Certainly no Negro journalist of today would be dar- 
ing enough to make such a statement, but when it is 
considered how few Negro publishers have ever become 
millionaires, and how, until in recent years, hundreds 
of conscientious Negro men and women operated these 
newspapers with high altruism and low pay, it is not 
unseemly to regard the Negro Press as one of the most 
self-sacrificing agencies engaged in the fight for Negro 



The true Negro newsman, and I am happy in my 
association with his breed, is possessed with high courage 
and higher zeal. In the fight to improve the conditions 
of his people, he has learned that praise and plaudits 
are seldom given the "wailer, the crusader, or the re- 
former," and that criticism for his obvious shortcomings 
will always be abundant; but secure in the comfortable 
knowledge that he is fighting the good fight for the good 
cause, he is content. He reaps a daily reward in the con- 
sideration of the unmistakable signs of progress about 
him: the increase in literacy, the increase in the Negro 
life span, the hard-won victories over tuberculosis in the 
slums, the increasing political consciousness among a 
people only recently enfranchised, and the slow but sure 
increase in civic responsibilities. He likes to believe that 
his stories, ofttimes poorly written and none too accurate, 
and his deathless editorials fabricated out of paper, ink, 
and devotion have contributed. 

To him the bright horizon of full growth, full equali- 
ty with all men, and full citizenship for America's fif- 
teen million stepchildren is ever the challenge ahead. 


A Critical Evaluation of the Negro 
Newspaper (Favorable) 



cally self-supporting institution in Negro life and culture 
that has made so rapid an advance or that has helped so 
whole-heartedly in the acceleration of the social, econ- 
omic, and political progress of the Negro as its press. 
There have been occasions when the influence of the 
press over public opinion seemed to have declined con- 
siderably. This was true in the 1940 and 1944 presidential 
election campaigns when Republican dollars were often 
dictating the editorial policies of many of our news- 
papers. By and large, however, the Negro Newspaper, 
referred to hereafter as the Negro Press, has always stood 
as the champion of the people it served and has rendered 
unusually effective -and faithful service to the cause of 
America's neglected and mistreated one-tenth. "The 
importance of the Negro press for the formation of Negro 



opinion, for the functioning of all other Negro institu- 
tions, for Negro leadership and concerted action gener- 
ally, is enormous. The Negro press is an educational agen- 
cy and a power agency." 1 

The Negro Newspaper (Press) has now definitely 
passed its initial period of experiment, of evangelism, and 
of missionary zeal, and is approaching a professional 
standard which approximates and occasionally surpasses 
the best standards of many white country dailies or week- 
lies. The Negro Press, which is still ninety-eight per 
cent a weekly press, is now being financed by Negro 
' capital; written, edited, and managed by Negro brains; 
set in type by Negro typesetters; made ready to run 
thru the press by Negro mechanics; and distributed by 
Negro salesmen. Some newspapers are well written and 
well edited, and perform their news and advertising 
functions serviceably. A few also present a pleasing typo- 
graphical appearance. The larger publications like the 
Pittsburgh Courier, the Afro-American, the Chicago De- 
fender, and the Journal and Guide, whose combined ABC 
(Audit Bureau of Circulations) total of 750,000 a week in 
June, 1947, is rapidly approaching the million mark 
in 1948, are nationally circulating weeklies. The New 
Yori( Amsterdam News and the People's Voice, both 

1 Gunnar Myrdal, An American Dilemma: The Negro prob- 
lem and modern democracy, Harper and Brothers Publishers. 
1944, Volume 2, p. 923. 


published in New York City, are papers which empha- 
size local news and perform the function of city news- 
papers as capably as many of the outstanding white dai- 
lies, covering, however, only news touching the Negro. 


Contrary to what some persons like Pegler and Bilbo 
have led the public:, to believe, the Negro Press and its 
five million readers are not un-American. In spite of its 
vehement tho just attack on lynching and poll-tax, even 
while the Second World War was going on, it has cham- 
pioned whole-heartedly the cause of the allies. Time and ' 
again, the Pittsburgh Courier, the Afro-American, the 
Chicago Defender, the Journal and Guide, the Peoples 
Voice, the New Yor{ Amsterdam News, the New Yorl( 
Age, the Chicago Bee, the Kansas City Call, the Ohio 
State News, the Cleveland Call and Post, and the St. Lowis 
Argus, to mention only a few,. have written editorials 
pointing out to their readers that the ultimate salvation 
of the Negro lay in the allies winning the war. While a 
German-American may look for a home in Germany or 
an Italian-American in Italy, the American Negro does 
not look for a home in Africa even tho he was originally 
brought here from that continent against his will. 

Culturally, the American Negro is as different from 
the African Negro as any white man and his loyalty to 
the American Flag is as strong as that of the descendants 



of the pilgrim fathers. The American Negro's cultural 
heritage is one hundred per cent American, for the rigor- 
ous life during the days of slavery wiped out all his back- 
ground of African culture. Under these circumstances, 
the American Negro cannot be anything but loyal to the 
United States since that is the only place he can call his 
home. 2 Aside from a few uneducated and misguided 
persons who were found to have some sort of connection 
with a Japanese organization, Negroes have not been 
found guilty of sabotage, espionage, and other subversive 
activities in war times. 

It is true that the Negro Press is becoming more and 
more militant in its demand for a real democracy at 
home, but this growing impatience is quite natural and 
very desirable. As a matter of fact, all of the non-white 
races in the world today are demanding greater economic 
an r d political freedom, and unless the American Negro 
is entirely unintelligent and unprogressive he is bound 
to demand his right to be a free citizen in the real sense 
of the word, especially when he has but recently fought 
"abroad for the cause of freedom. 

If the People's Voice under the powerful pen of the 
Reverend A. Clayton Powell, Jr., congressman since 1945 
and dynamic and dramatic leader of the Negro masses in 
Harlem, had been militant during the Second World 

2 V. V. Oak, "What of the Negro Press?" Saturday Review 
of Literature, 26: 45-46 ft, March 6, 1943. 



War in putting the issues of the Negro to the forefront to 
such an extent that it had led some white persons to 
assert that it was an un-American paper, I wonder in 
what category would these same persons place the defi- 
ant Chicago Tribune during its trial in the summer of 
1942 for having published Stanley Johnson's dispatch con- 
cerning the battle of Midway and thus exposing strictly 
military information. To climax it all, the Tribune held 
a gala banquet to celebrate its legal tho not moral victory 
over the Justice Department of the United States at a 
time when we. were busy fighting a war with Germany, 
Italy, and Japan. 

This defiant and apparently unpatriotic attitude of 
the Tribune which makes both the so-called militant 
Negro and white papers appear pale; the daring refusal 
of several white companies in the South to accept war 
orders during the Second World War because they did 
not want to follow the Presidential order against racial 
discrimination in the use of labor; the support given to 
such refusals by governors of certain Southern states; 
the viciously organized opposition against anti-lynching 
and FEPC legislation of certain reactionary Northern Re- 
publicans and most Southern Democrats who are still 
dreaming of the long-vanished glories of plantation days; 
the dangerous assertions of several Southern white news- 
papermen and other influential white persons that, if 
winning the war meant greater freedom for the Negro, 



they would prefer to lose the war; and the revolting reac- 
tions of some Southern Democrats and even governors 
to the recent forthright pronouncements of President 
Truman on the civil rights of Negro Americans in this 
country reactions which make every believer in dem- 
ocracy hang his head down in shame these and other 
similar assertions and acts, and not the cry of the Negro 
for justice and fair-play, seem to be not only undemocratic 
and, therefore, un-American, but definitely fascist 

What the Negro Press is demanding is exactly what 
responsible leaders of the now-dead New Deal and all 
modern social thinkers interested in saving democracy 
have been asserting boldly, namely, that a new economic, 
social, and political order must come without delay, now 
that the war is over. By trying to meet the pressing needs 
of the masses before they reach the exploding point, these 
forward thinkers are helping to save capitalism from the 
resultant social and economic chaos of revolution and the 
tragic death of capitalism as a result of this revolution. 


The Negro Press arose out of the dire need for racial 
leadership, and hence, it is natural that it should be large- 
ly racial in its outlook. In fact, its success is due to its 
being racial, supplementing as it does the service rendered 
by the white press. 

- 35- 


In general, the Negro Press is interested in news that 
touches the Negro, and rarely, if ever, pays any attention 
to news that has no racial significance. The kidnapping o 
the Lindbergh baby, one of the biggest stories of the 
American press, was hardly noticed by the Negro Press 
until it was reported that a Negro had found the body of 
the Lindbergh baby. "Dizzy" Dean (white) was of no 
news value to the Negro Press until his team was play- 
ing against the Monarchs, a Negro team. Since the white 
press ignores the Negro almost completely, except to 
play him up as a criminal or a clown, the Negro Press is 
becoming more and more a necessity to its readers as the 
purveyor of news about its own group. 

When the world-famous singer Roland Hayes, for 
example, was beaten and put into jail in July, 1942, by 
the believers in white supremacy in Rome, Georgia, white 
newspapers did not give any prominence to this news, 
and most of them completely ignored it. Friends of Rol- 
and Hayes had to wait until the complete story broke in 
the Negro Press with strong editorials on the incident. 
While some white papers later gave publicity to this in- 
cident, which, in most cases, consisted merely in printing 
a United Press release in which Governor Talmadge de- 
fended the beating of Roland Hayes on the ground that 
he had kicked a policeman, it was the Negro Press that 
came to Hayes' defense by pointing out the absurdity of 
the charge against this most peaceloving and highly sen- 

- 3 6- 


sitive man who would never lift his finger against any- 
one, even under provocation! 

Discussing this phase of the Negro Press, the Fortune 
magazine made the following interesting observations 
in a special feature article: 

The pictures in Negro newspapers are of Negroes or of 
mixed Negro-white groups. The news is news of Jim Crow 
regulations . . . ; it is news of Negroes winning scholarships, 
of Negroes in battle, of Negroes denied commissions, of 
Negroes running for local office, of Negroes sitting on com- 
mittees with white men, of white men speaking up for Ne- 
groes, of white men embarrassed because they have ne- 
glected Negroes. And, except when it is news thus angled, 
there is no news of national affairs, of the war, of Congress, 
of the President, of industry. The Negro press deals single- 
mindedly with the problems of being a Negro in the United 
States, the prospects, the troubles, the triumphs, and the 
despairs of all those for whom the fact of being a Negro 
outweighs, for a part of the time at least, all other con- 
cerns. 3 

The Negro Press is undoubtedly contributing a great 
deal to the preservation of American democracy by its 
virtuous fight in behalf of its people, is rendering in- 
valuable service to the cause of justice and fair-play, and 
is capable of understanding and appreciating India's 

8 Fortune Press Analysis: Negroes, Fortune, May, 1945, pp. 
233 2 35- 



fight for freedom, Burma's utter apathy toward Eng- 
land's success during the last world war, and Africa's 
complete distrust of the white man! The Pittsburg Cour- 
ier with its "Double V" campaign during the Second 
World War made both colored and white readers realize 
that we had to win victory not only abroad but also at 
home. The Ajro^American with its fearless editorials 
coupled with its special editions on vital issues; the Chi- 
cago Defender with its new and comparatively progres- 
sive policy toward labor and its ability to plan and suc- 
cessfully execute campaigns as evidenced by its bold and 
frank stand on the fourth term for Roosevelt in 1944; the 
Journal and Guide with its non-sensational approach 
toward Negro news and opinion and its non-aggressive 
yet balanced leadership in the South; the People's Voice 
with its dynamic and aggressive tho highly dramatic and 
sensational attacks on all questions affecting the Negro's 
welfare; the Cleveland Call and Post with its methods of 
keeping alive for a long period of time any cause it may 
have espoused; these, along with many other newspapers, 
have been serving the people of America in a commend- 
able way. 


The advance of the Negro Press has been made in 
credulous aping of the white dailies. Negro newspapers 
are still startlingly similar to white papers in structure, 


duplicating their good and bad features alike. As yet, 
they do not seem to show any special evidence of a 
"distinctive personality" other than their almost one hun- 
dred per cent racial emphasis. This lack of distinctive- 
ness may be due to the fact that Negro journalists have 
been so preoccupied with bringing their papers abreast 
of those of the whites that they have neglected to intro- 
duce new patterns into the business of collecting and 
editing news. 4 

How well they have succeeded in modernizing their 
papers will become evident from a study of the following 
indices of rapidly growing maturity: the organization of 
several press and syndicate services; the printing of na- 
tional and local editions, and different editions for dif- 
ferent states or regions; the emergent use of color presses 
by the more opulent weeklies (suspended during the 
Second World War); the appearance of strong news- 
paper affiliations; the growing patronage of white busi- 
ness enterprises as evidenced by the number of "ads" from 
this source; the creation of extensive promotional activi- 
ties among both their colored carriers and the general 
public; and the increasing space that is alloted to foreign 
news that affects the fate of all the colored peoples of 
the world. 

This last international aspect of the problem of the 

4 John Syrjamaki, "The Negro Press in 1938," Sociology and 
Social Research, 24: i, September-October, 1939, p. 44. 



"colored 1 races of the world, first introduced by Dr. 
W. R B. Du Bois thru the Crisis magazine as early as 
the First World War, will now be found in all the better 
class weeklies. "The editor's horizon," observes Professor 
Detweiler, "is at least as wide as that of a small-town 
white editor and often wider. Negro writers are inter- 
ested in South Africa, where there is a huge race prob- 
lem; in Brazil, where the color line is indistinct; in Soviet 
Russia . . . ; in the Virgin Islands, Haiti, Santo Domingo, 
Liberia. From Spain, toward the end of 1937, Langston 
Hughes was writing articles for the Afro-American, 
which sent a man to Russia to interview Stalin, to Berlin 
for the Olympics, and to Geneva to witness the appear- 
ance of Haile Selassie before the League of Nations." 5 

The large number of Negro foreign correspondents 
in the Second World War is a further proof of the grow- 
ing world-consciousness of the Negro Press. From the 
opening of the war to 1946, the Chicago Defender had 
five foreign correspondents: Deton J. Brooks, David Orro, 
George Padmore, Edward B. Toles, and Enoc P. Waters; 
the Journal and Guide had five: Henry }. Cole, Lemuel 
E. Graves, John "Rover" Jordan, P. Bernard Young, Jr., 
and Thomas W. Young; the Afro-American had eight: 
"Art" M. Carter, Herbert M. Frisby, Payton Grey, Max 
Johnson, Elizabeth M. Phillips (first Negro woman war 

Frederick G. Detweiler, "The Negro Press Today," Ameri- 
can Journal of Sociology, 44: 3, November 1938, p. 398. 



correspondent in this war), Ollie Stewart, Vincent Tubbs, 
and Francis Yancy; the Pittsburgh Courier had eight: 
Edward Baker, Haskell Cohen, Randy Dixon, Collins 
George, Oliver Harrington, Theodore A. Stanford, Ed- 
gar T. Rouzeau, and Billy Rowe; and the Houston In- 
former had one: Elgin Hychew. In addition to these, the 
Associated Negro Press (ANP) had three full time for- 
eign correspondents: Rudolph Dunbar, Frank D. Gor- 
dien, and George Coleman Moore, and six part time cor- 
respondents; the National Negro Publishers Association 
(NNPA) had three: Frank E. Bolden, Charles H. Loeb, 
and Fletcher P. Martin. 

Time and again, the leading Negro newspapers de- 
nounced the Hitlerian tactics of Winston Churchill in 
his dealings with India and for his gall in imprisoning 
men like Gandhi and Nehru who were fighting for their 
country's freedom even as Churchill was fighting for his. 
But while Churchill was being hailed as a savior of dem- 
ocracy, Gandhi and Nehru were put into prison like com- 
mon criminals, and the White Press did not seem con- 
cerned very much about it. The Negro Press, on the other 
hand, alert as it had become in recent years in matters 
affecting all colored races of the world, detected the hy- 
pocrisy and duplicity behind this international scene. 
"There is probably not a single issue of any one of the 
big weeklies which does not point out the failure of the 
British to give India independence, or contain editorial 



reflections to the effect that the defeat in Singapore and 
elsewhere was due to the Britishers' having maltreated 
and lost the confidence of the natives. China, moreover, 
cannot be expected to have too much trust in America 
which discriminates against all colored people. 516 

6 Myrdal, op. cit, 9 Volume 2, p. 915. 



A Critical Evaluation of the Negro 
Newspaper (Unfavorable) 



the shining points of the Negro Press in the preceding 
chapter, let us turn our attention to some of the weak ones 
which make the Negro Press so easily vulnerable to the 
attacks of men like Bilbo, Pegler, and others. 


If the Negro Press is often accused of sensationalism 
or of featuring crime stories, it can truthfully retort that 
it learned this art from such widely read white papers 
as the New Yor^ Daily News, the Chicago Tribune, and 
the Hearst chain newspapers. The Pittsburgh Courier, 
the Afro-American, the Chicago Defender, and the Peo- 
ple's Voice, the first two of which have the largest circu- 
lation of all Negro newspapers, definitely go in for sensa- 
tionalism. On the other hand, papers like the Journal and 

- 43 " 


Guide, the New Yor^ Age, and a few others, which are 
rendering great service to the Negro community, do so 
without stooping to follow the footsteps of "yellow" jour- 

One cannot but deplore, however, the following type 
of journalistic license, especially when it cpmes from a 
newspaper with unlimited possibilities. Writing under 
the appropriately named column, "Soapbox," the Rever- 
end Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., the leader of the Harlem 
masses whose everyday language he certainly knows how 
to use, a preacher of the gospel, founder of a dynamic 
newspaper, and now a congressman, had this to say in 
his paper, the People's Voice: 

The attack by Martin Dies on Mary McLeod Bethune is 
the last straw. Dies has already won infamy as an interna- 
tional jackass, but today, with your permission, let us omit 
the "jack." Any low cracker scum like Dies who will dare 
to point his finger at a great American woman like Dr. 
Bethune deserves to be publicly purged. Dies is no good, 
never has been any good, and never will be any good. The 
sooner he is buried the better. He is one of the few people in 
history whose body has begun to stink before it died. Dies is 
Public Skunk No. i. There is only one place for him to live 
and that's in Hitler's out-house. . . . 


7 The People's Voice, October 3, 1942, p. 5. 



The "Soapbox" was continued by Powell in the same 
tone until he severed all his connections with that paper 
by the end of 1946. 

The author regards Powell as a dynamic, useful, and 
courageous leader who has done a great deal of good in 
awakening the masses, especially those residing in Har- 
lem, and who will be able to do more good as days go by, 
and the colored masses all over the world are proud of 
his actual accomplishments. Nevertheless, it seems that 
to lead the masses one does not have to stoop to such a 
low level that the cultural veneer, which a good educa- 
tion is supposed to have given to every learned man, dis- 
appears. The theatrical performances and utterances of 
Powell do bewilder many of his friends and admirers 
and cause them despair, tho these utterances do, undoubt- 
edly, keep him in the limelight. Well might Powell say 
in his characteristic way, "To hell with the intelligentsia 
and the white-collared men! I am the messiah of the 
masses and I must talk in a language that the masses will 
understand." The fact that his own collar is ultra-white 
and that he wears the preacher's garb does not worry him. 
His motto for the common man is: "Don't do as I do, 
but do as I say," and the common man seems to accept 
this motto as the last word from heaven, believing hon- 
estly that "the messiah can do no wrong." That Powell 
is inevitably the leader of the masses and that he knows 
how to lead them is beyond question, tho one is often 



afraid that he might lead them wrong. In any event, he 
has awakened Harlem, and that in itself is a worthy 

The emphasis on sensationalism is often justified by 
Negro journalists on the ground that "that is what the 
public wants." It would be more honest to say that that is 
what the scandal- or sensation-lover journalists think the 
public wants, which, of course, is quite a different story. 
If one were to evaluate public tastes thru the eyes of these 
newspapers one would arrive at the inevitable conclusion 
that the public has no heart, no brains, no conscience, and 
no ideals or worthy aspirations; that the public is cruel 
and mean at heart and entirely .disinterested in its own 
uplift or that of its children; that it loves to read filth, 
devour stories of murder, crooked politics, vilification, 
misrepresentation, and Machiavelian art; and that, such 
being the case, the public taste having reached the lowest 
level of degradation the press cannot do anything about 
it. So, the scandal- or sensation-mongers contend, the 
smart thing to do is to cater to this degraded taste of the 
public even more, "make hay while the sun shines," and 
let the public pay for it since it is in the mood to do so. 
The pity of it all is that these so-called gentlemen of the 
press fail to realize that what they think is the taste of 
the public is often the reflection of their own hidden 




One should not be completely blinded by the rapid 
stride of the Negro Press, discussed at greater length in 
the next chapter, and fail to notice some of its unpleasant 
features. The fact that some newspapers have been able 
to survive thru the depression, have become more afflu- 
ent, and have enlarged their circulation enormously does 
not necessarily mean that they were always serving the 
interest of the people best or that they were idealistic and 
impartial in their approach to all questions. In our pres- 
ent competitive economic and social order and with our 
emphasis upon material wealth as the key to social ad- 
vancement, "survival of the fittest" does not necessarily 
mean survival of the morally or even physically fit, but 
rather it means survival of the cunning and the ruthless 
who are often motivated by greed, referred to by the 
more pleasing tho less accurate and thoroly euphemistic 
phrase, "enlightened self-interest." Such persons know 
how to get things done by hook or crook. 

It seems that, by and large, the newspapers of today, 
be they colored or white, do not seem to have the zeal of 
real crusaders passionately devoted to the principles of 
democracy, freedom, honesty, and fair play, especially 
when such principles hurt their pocketbooks. On the 
other hand, many newspapers seem quite willing to sell 
their pages to anyone who is willing to pay the proper 



price. In this respect, most Negro journalists have fol- 
lowed the steps of white journalists and have become 
economic opportunists, which, of course, makes them 
"good business men." According to diem, any policy is 
good in business if it pays well and shows higher profits, 
especially if it is a generally-accepted and tacitly-followed 
policy among 'other business men. By and large, Ameri- 
can business men do not seem to be concerned with the 
long-range effects of their policies upon social welfare. 
This apathy on their part may be partly due to their sel- 
fishness, partly to their ignorance, and partly to their 
lack of vision in looking ahead into the future. 

Discussing the general policies of one of the "Big 
Four" Negro papers during the presidential campaign of 
1944, one of the author's students made the following 

One notes that while undoubtedly favoring FDR's fourth 
term, this paper continues to include in its pages large and 
impressive advertisements for Dewey an'd Bricker. But wheth- 
er this fact is to be interpreted as an evidence of a half- 
hearted attempt to show the point of view of the opposite 
side,' or whether it is motivated merely by a lucrative inter- 
est, there might be some doubt. 8 

8 Ethel Coleman in a term paper on "A sociological study of 
the ... newspaper published during the last six weeks of the 1944 
presidential campaign," written as a partial requirement in the 
course on "General Sociology" given by the author at Wilberforce 
University in 1944-45. 


This quotation is given here because it represents a 
point of view that cannot be easily ignored. It is a thought- 
provoking statement and just the type one should expect 
from young people, but the owner of the newspaper, to 
whom these remarks were sent, took exceptions to it in 
the following words: 

Such a reference is a serious reflection upon the integrity 
of any newspaper. The only thing a newspaper has to sell, 
with the exception of subscriptions, is its advertising space, 
which is its main source of revenue. All legitimate newspa- 
pers display political advertising from all parties. The fact 
that our newspaper carried display advertising placed by the 
Republican National Committee and plainly marked "Paid 
Advertising*' did not mean that our paper was attempting in 
a half-hearted manner to present the other side. Such a view 
displays only the ignorance of the person who would write 
even in a student paper such a statement. 9 

The student's counter response was that instead of 
putting the words "Paid Advertising" at the top in bold 
type, they were placed in tiny type at the bottom, hardly 
noticeable by the average reader. Furthermore, the ad- 
vertisement did not carry its message in unbiased words 
but in general and suggestive statements maliciously de- 
rogatory to the Roosevelt administration statements 

9 From a letter dated January 6, 1945, written by the owner 
of the newspaper to the author when he submitted to him the 
student's paper in question. 



which the masses could easily misinterpret as those in 
which the newspaper itself believed. In fact, it was this 
belief in being able to mislead the masses, in the first 
place, that had led the Republican party to pay so heavily 
for the clever and suggestive "ads" which appeared all 
over the nation. 

The reasoning of the owner of the newspaper, in a 
sense, is very much akin to that followed by our big 
business men year in and year out business men who 
seem always willing to sell arms to both sides of the 
fighting forces, as they actually did in the late thirties to 
various warring factions in China for continuing their 
civil war, to Japan when she started an unjustifiable war 
of greed against China, and to Italy when she attacked 
without the slightest provocation a helpless nation like 
Ethiopia. As if this were not enough, our business men 
supplied scrap iron to Japan for a long period of years 
the scrap iron she used in making deadly weapons with 
which she struck us at Pearl Harbor. Yet, these very 
business men naively wondered why things got out of 
their control and why the ever-dupable public was so 
ready to accuse them for all the ills of war. "Business is 
business," as Lanny Budd's 10 father would put it, or "mon- 

10 Lanny Budd is the dynamic, philosophic, and fictitious 
character drawn by Upton Sinclair and made the hero of a series 
of novels depicting the intriguing and shocking scenes behind 
thq international and intra-national life of Europe and America. 



ey does not stink" (pecunia non olei), as the Romans 
used to say, are also the mottoes of our successful busi- 
ness men of today, both white and colored. 

Even at the risk of annoying some of our readers, 
it seems necessary to point out here that it is just this 
sort of utilitarian philosophy that has made our youth of 
today distrust our political, business, religious, and educa- 
tional leadership. To the youth's mind, the end does not 
justify the means if, in the process of attaining the end, 
the means used tend to destroy that intangible something 
we call soul or spiritual life and, thus, obscure our sense 
of perception. To make matters worse, even many of our 
religious leaders seem to have no compunction of con- 
science in accepting tainted money whenever they can 
get their hands on it, presumably for the noble purpose 
of building monuments of our faith in God. Yet, they 
naively wonder why the youth of today is slowly but 
steadily losing its faith in their leadership. These leaders, 
too, are forgetting the simple fact that truth, like Christi- 
anity, has no compromise even tho its pedlers have pros- 
tituted it and have placed it on a mercenary basis. Most 
newspapers, of course, follow this utilitarian philosophy, 
often under the pretext that they want to give opportunity 
to both' sides in presenting their cases, but, in reality, for 
the money they get out of it. After all, they maintain, 
pecunia non oletl 




Let us now take some really serious cases of material- 
istic journalism where the profit motive is such a domi- 
nant factor and where service to one's own race so com- 
pltetly forgotten that quite often the net result is actual 
disservice or harm to the race. 

Harping on the theme that a fourth term for Roose- 
velt would mean the ending of the two party system, 
the Pittsburgh Courier wrote editorially on its front page 
in bold type as follows: 

only to guess at what his position would be under a one-party 
system. Look at Germany! Look at Italy! Look at the South! 
All are the results of the one-party system. Italy is gone, Ger- 
many is doomed. The South is America's poorhouse: Poor 
hospitals, the poorest schools, the poorest social conditions 
and the lowest wages. Whatever tends to destroy the two- 
party system in this country is dangerous for the Negro. 11 

One thing is certain. The Negro Press has copied 
well the Machiavellian art of effective writing from the 
"yellow" press, the curse of American journalism the 
curse which permits its adherents to turn freedom of 
speech and press into license. "Drink Dr. Pepper, boys 
and girls, at 10, 2, and 4" says a business man's mouth- 
piece even tho such a concoction can do no good to any 

^Pittsburgh Courier, September 30, 1944, p. i. 


youngster's health. "Smoke Camels for your nerves,' 7 
comes in the soothing and almost beseeching voice of 
another mouthpiece even tho it is universally admitted 




that a stimulant like tobacco increases one's nervousness 
in the long run even if it may temporarily have the oppo- 
site effect Athletic directors almost uniformly forbid the 
use of tobacco and colas and other stimulants when they 



want their teams to remain in -one hundred per cent 
shape. "Use Dremal Shampoo for falling hair/' assures 
the radio voice of a third mouthpiece who himself, so the 
story goes, is bald-headed. The art of supersalesmanship 
has made many a family buy things beyond its means as 
well as its needs, but, what is worse, buy things which 
are both individually as well as socially undesirable and 
harmful, and the desire for which is created by mis- 
leading, and often untruthful, advertisements. 

Discussing racial conflicts in the United States under 
the editorial caption, "The New Deal and Riots," this 
same widely-read, seventeen - different - region - edition 
newspaper, the Pittsburgh Courier, asserted two weeks 
later, a la Hearst style, "that such [racial] conflicts may 
take place after the war is not unlikely, and if they do, 
the responsibility for them can be placed squarely at the 
door of the New Deal, because this administration's 
[Roosevelt's] policies lead directly to racial conflict and 
have been responsible for them in the past." 12 

The article then went on to cite instances of racial 
conflicts all over the United States, including the Detroit 
riots and the killings and beatings of Negro soldiers in 
the South, and ended in blandly placing all the blame 
for these conflicts on President Roosevelt. A Bilbo could 
not have written a better anti-Roosevelt and anti-New 
Deal article using also the Bilbo logic! Let an intelligent 

^Pittsburgh Courier, October 14, 1944, p. 6. 



teen-age girl express her reactions in her own words to 
the editorials and other writings in the Pittsburgh Courier 
appearing during the last six weeks' presidential cam- 
paign of 1944: 

Speaking from a purely non-partisan standpoint, such 
statements as made in the Courier against President Roose- 
velt and his administration should be discounted by the intelli- 
gent and discriminating reader, as mere contravention de- 
signed to fill the narrow minds of the crowd with seeds of 
hatred and malice. Of course, anyone can see the injustice 
being meted out to those of Negro blood in all phases of social 
life! Yet, to place the responsibility for this situation solely 
on President Roosevelt and his administration is a mistake. 

To say that the president has passively contributed to 
these situations thru failure to do anything about them comes 
closer to the truth. But he could not plant the murderous and 
baneful seeds of racial hatred so deeply into the hearts of men 
from the South and also the North. These feelings of racial 
animosity have almost been institutionalized so that they are 
common and learned patterns of responses of whites against 
those of Negroid blood. 13 

It is not the author's contention that President Roose- 
velt was above criticism. What he strongly objects to is the 

18 Irma Clark in a term paper on "A sociological study of the 
Pittsburgh Courier published during the last six weeks of the 1944 
presidential campaign/' written as partial requirement in the 
course on "General Sociology*' given by the author at Wilberforce 
University in 1944-1945. 



CAN WE AFFORD TO DO THIS? Pittsburgh Courier 
/''H? 1 . November 4. 

stooping to the use of unfair and sensational methods to 
gain one's end. Whatever one might think of Roosevelt's 
domestic and international policy, even his worst enemies 


have often conceded that he was undoubtedly the friend 
of the underdog, including the Negro. To vilify him by 
cartoons and treat him as if he were a Ku Kluxer is the 
unkindest cut one could ever give to one's friend. Even 
the conservative New Yorl^ Times, so prone to be imperi- 
alistic and dogmatic, credited Roosevelt for "having rec- 
ognized minority groups, their rights and privileges, es- 
pecially those of the Negro." 14 

J. A. Rogers' assertion 15 that "the Negroes are turning 
away from the Democratic party because they see the 
awful control the South wielded over their interests 
strikes me as a misrepresentation of facts," continues this 
keen-minded teen-age girl. 

He [Rogers] seems to give the impression that the Dem- 
ocrats and Republicans have adopted a strict policy of dis- 
crimination and liberality respectively in regard to the Negro. 
This impression is fallacious because each party adopts poli- 
cies of this sort only when it is to its advantage politically. If 
they find that giving a few Negroes jobs or releasing a few 
occupations for Negroes will help them in their campaign, 
they will do this. But if they see that they will gain more by 
kicking the Negro around and keeping him out of good jobs, 
they will do this just as readily. The fact that some Negroes 
are again swinging over to the Republican party docs not 
mean that they actually think that this step will miraculously 

Yor^ Times, Editorial, October, 1944. 
^Pittsburgh Courier, October 21, 1944, p. 7. 



dissolve all forms of racial discrimination, but it merely illus- 
trates the human tendency to have hope or faith in a 
change." 16 

"A straight Republican ticket is the strongest and the 
most intelligent protest against racial discrimination and 
indignities," avowed the Pittsburgh Courier in another 
editorial 17 titled, "New Deal's 'Roll of Shame.' " Discus- 
sing this editorial, the same student makes these wise 

Imagine telling a reading public, supposedly intelligent, 
to vote a straight ticket! The Negro, if anyone, should be 
more discriminating about everybody elected to any office of 
authority in which he may wield control over the cherished 
ideals and aspirations of his people and whose influence may 
be felt for years. Many disappointments have been felt by 
the Negro when after many promises of a Utopia of social 
living he was again forced into the role of a slave or an utter 
wretch. Why then, when he is given the chance to place a 
man in office who will at least give him some form of liber- 
ality, should he hand over his only claim to being a citizen 
by ^discriminatingly voting a straight ticket? Even the 
much-abused Political Action Committee created by the more 
progressive and dynamic labor organization, the CIO, did 
not advocate the voting of a straight ticket!" 18 

16 Clark, op. cit. 

^Pittsburgh Courier, November 4, 1944, p. 4. 

18 Clark, op. cit. 

- 5 8- 


Front* Page, Pittsburgh. Cotirier, Nov* 4, '44 

blew Deal's 'Roll Of Shame' 

f " 

President Roosevelt is Commander-ifi*Chief of the 
U. S. armed forces. Under war-tynfc exigencies, he 
has the extraordinary power to end segregation and 
discrimination in all branches of the armed services. 

Below, The Pittsburgh Courier is publishing "a list 
of some of the Negro boys IN UNIFORM who have 
COUNTRY, but MURDERED by their country. They 
paid the supreme sacrifice on the Altar of Dixie preju- 
dice and our COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF has -not only 
said nothing. . HE HAS DONE NOTHING. 




The Afro-American, another of the four big papers 
with the second largest circulation among Negro news- 
papers, and the New Yori( Amsterdam News were also 
as malicious and vicious and illogical as the Pittsburgh 
Courier in their attacks on Roosevelt and his administra- 
tion. Says another student, after reading the issues of the 
Afro-American during the 1944 presidential election: 

The Afro has used every trick and trade in journalism to 
discredit Roosevelt. ... By mentioning the name of Bilbo 
and the possibility of his becoming president some day for as 
long as sixteen years or more if we now allowed Roosevelt to 
become president for the fourth term, the editor attempted to 
throw a scare into the minds of the people. . . . The Afro 
portrays the Republican party as having views synonymous 
with those of the late Wendell L. Wilkie. Any intelligent 
man knows that this is not so. 19 

The long quotations above, few of the many that were 
written in the same strain, are given here as clear signs 
of hope in our youth of today signs which indicate that 
the youth is doing its own thinking and that neither 
the Courier nor the Afro-American nor the Amsterdam 
News, all of which were villif ying Roosevelt, seem to have 

19 Waltcr Crider in a term paper on "A sociological study of 
the Afro-American published during the last six weeks of the 1944 
presidential campaign," written as a partial requirement in the 
course on "General Sociology" given by the author at Wilberforce 
University in 1944-1945. 



been able to influence public opinion very much in cer- 
tain matters, in spite of their large circulation. The reader 
should not get the impression that these three were the 

"The Moving Finger Writes, and . . .* 

Page Four 
JLfro-Americ*n, Sept 

only papers which went all-out anti-Roosevelt in this 
Republican campaign against the New Deal. The general 
line-up of some of the important Negro newspapers print- 
ed near and above the Mason-Dixon line, either as pro- 
Roosevelt or anti-Roosevelt papers during the 1944 presi- 
dential election, is given below. 




Chicago Defender 
People's Voice 
Journal and Guide 
New Yor% Age 
Los Angeles Sentinel 
St. Louts Argus 
California Eagle 
Ohio State News 
Washington Tribune 
Michigan Chronicle 
Louisville Defender 


Pittsburgh Courier 
Amsterdam Star News* 
Kansas City Call 
Cleveland Call and Post 
Philadelphia Tribune 
Philadelphia Independent 
Chicago World 
St. Louis American 

*Now Amsterdam News 

The word anti-Roosevelt rather than pro-Dewey is 
used here advisedly. A careful study of the Republican 
presidential campaign indicated that most of its effort 
was spent in discrediting and denouncing Roosevelt and 
the New Deal instead of building up Dewey and the mil- 
lenium he was expected to bring in our domestic econo- 
my. Commenting on this Quislingism, the Negro's great- 
est internal enemy, Conrad 20 makes the following per- 
tinent observations: 

It is the Democratic and Republican Parties which bear " 
the first responsibility for such "deal/' They deduce it is 

Conrad, Jim Crow America, New York: Duell, Sloan 
and Pearce, 1947, p. 79. 



cheaper to buy the Negro press than to pass progressive 
minority legislation. Also, when they pay off the Negro papers 
they feel that their obligation is largely taken care of and 
they don't have to worry; with the Negro publishers and chief 
editors involved in guilt the major parties can ignore much 
of the year-round pressure which the Negro press exerts. 
What this process amounts to, finally, is another form of 
supremacist control of the Negro group. 


Further evidence of how well Negro newspapers are 
copying white ones in the suppression of ideas contrary 
to their own, real or alleged, and how these champions 
of freedom often are ready to destroy free thought is 
seen in the following actions of some newspapers during 
the 1944 Presidential election as reported by the Negro 
magazine, Headlines, later known as Headlines and Pic- 
tures, and finally ceasing publication in 1946. 

Several nationally known Negro columnists broke with 
their publishers over their political differences. Erudite Dr. 
W. E. B. Du Bois resigned from the New Yor^ Amsterdam 
Star News which paced all Negro papers in support of Dewey 
and Bricker. Horace- Clay ton of Chicago found his copy omit- 
ted in the Pittsburgh Courier which backed the Republicans. 
Roy Wilkins continued to receive his check but his copy did 
not appear in the Amsterdam Star News. . . . 

White House Correspondent Harry McAlpin was cen- 
sured by Republican publishers who subscribe to the NNPA 


news service for giving too much copy about President Roose- 
velt. Harry replied that he was assigned to cover the White 
House and until Dewey got there it would be reasonable to 
expect that most of the copy would center around President 
Roosevelt, the present occupant. 21 

^Headlines, December, 1944, pp. 23-24. 


How the Negro Newspaper Functions 


study of Negro newspapers is limited to the consideration 
of number, circulation, and subscription rates; publishing 
establishments and mechanical features; and labor and 
wage policies. The observations are based primarily upon 
a careful examination of sixty-six Negro newspapers cho- 
sen on the basis of geographical and population distribu- 
tion. The newspapers marked with an asterisk in the di- 
rectory of newspapers given in Appendix II are the sixty- 
six newspapers that were chosen for this study. 

Credit for a large portion of this section of the chapter 
is due to Professor John Syrjamaki of Yale University 
who kindly granted the author permission to use the 
statistical data gathered in his own study of the "Negro 
Press in 1938," referred to in Chapter 3. Professor Syrja- 
maki's study was taken as an excellent model for a further 
study of the same subject which included sixty-six papers 



instead of sixty-one. In this way, all statistical material 
and conclusions were brought to January, 1948. 


The Negro Press is represented in thirty-six states and 
the District of Columbia. The only states not having any 
representation are the following twelve: Connecticut, Del- 
aware, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, 
New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, 
and Wyoming. With the exception of Delaware, the 
states not having Negro newspaper representation have 
a sparse Negro population and are either Northern or 
Western states. Delaware has a college paper, but it can- 
not be properly classified as a newspaper in the sense 
in which the word is used in this book. West Virginia's 
only so-called newspaper, the Star Journal, is really a 
monthly magazine. This state, therefore, does not have a 
<?#tfpaper in the real sense of that word. It has, however, 
another important magazine called Color which deals 
with Negro life and has a substantial circulation of 
110,000. For this reason, West Virginia has been included 
among the states having Negro Press representation. 

In June 1945, there were, according to the Bureau of 
the Census, no general newspapers, 45 religious, college, 
advertising, fraternal, and other miscellaneous papers, and 
100 magazines and bulletins, making a grand total of 



255 Negro periodicals. 1 Adding to this number the names 
of other periodicals listed in Ayer's Directory of News- 
papers and Periodicals? the International Year Book 
Number of the Editor and Publisher The Fourth Es- 
tate? the Negro Handbook^ the Negro Year Booltf and 
the author's own files, and omitting those which have 
ceased publication for one reason or another, there were, 
at the beginning of 1948, a total of 169 newspapers, 56 

^Negro Newspapers and Periodicals in the United States: 1945, 
Bureau of the Census, Negro Statistical Bulletin No. i, Washing- 
ton, D.C., August 29, 1946. This directory lists all the different 
state editions of the Afro-American separately. Since a very large 
portion of the news and national advertising in all the Afro 
editions are identical, there seems to be no sound justification for 
listing each edition separately without following the same pro- 
cedure with reference to the different state editions of the 
Courier and the Journal Guide. Nevertheless, each Afro edition 
has been counted as a separate newspaper in this discussion. 

^Directory of Newspapers and Periodicals, 1948, Philadel- 
phia: N. W. Ayer & Sons, Inc., 1948. 

International Year Book Number, 1948 (Section on Negro 
Periodicals in the United States), Editor and Publisher , January, 

*Negro Handbook, 1946-47, New York: Current Books, Inc., 
1947, pp. 237-250; also similar sections in previous issues. 

5 Negro Year Eoo\ (Chapter 16), Tuskegee Institute: De- 
partment of Research and Records, 1947, pp. 383-404; also similar 
chapters in previous issues. 



college campus publications of all types, and over 100 
religious, fraternal, general, and other papers, bulletins, 
and magazines. This gives us a total of over 325 periodi- 
cals of all types. 

Of the 169 newspapers reporting information on the 
frequency of publication, 3 were semi-monthlies or bi- 
weeklies, 159 weeklies, 5 semi-weeklies, and 2 dailies, 
with a total circulation of over two million (2,120,000). 
Of this total, a little over one million (1,007,500) com- 
prised the Audit Bureau of Circulations figures totaling 
19 newspapers. The circulation figures of the remaining 
150 newspapers were either estimates of publishers or 
their sworn statements, or were secured from figures 
released by advertising representatives of publishers. 

The Second World War undoubtedly stimulated great 
interest of the Negro in his press and the comparatively 
comfortable increase in his earning power made it possible 
for him to translate this interest in supporting his race 
papers. It is, therefore, very easy to understand the rapid 
increase in the circulation of Negro newspapers from a 
little over one million in 1937 to more than two million 
in 1947, an increase of almost one hundred per cent. 

Mere circulation figures, of course, do not give one 
the actual number of the reading public. Quite often, one 
paper is read by several persons. On the other hand, a 
small number of persons in the better-income group buy 
at least two papers: one, a local Negro paper, and the 



other, a national Negro paper. On a conservative estimate 
it would be safe to assume that out of the nine and one- 
fourth million Negroes who are fourteen years of age 
and over, close to five million read some Negro news- 
paper each week. 

Of the 169 newspapers, 85 were published in the South 
where three-fourths of the total Negro population resides, 
66 in the North, and the remaining 1 8 in the West. The 
total circulation of the Southern papers was less than 
forty per cent of the total; that of the Northern papers 
was more than fifty-six per cent of the total and close to 
one and one-half times as much as that of Southern pa- 
pers. One might be tempted to draw the conclusion from 
the larger circulation of Northern papers that the North- 
ern Negro might be vastly more literate, that he might 
have a greater love for reading, and that he must be more 
race conscious than his Southern brother. One might also 
be led to believe that almost every other Northern Negro, 
be he young or old, child or adult, was a purchaser of 
some Negro newspaper since there were but a little over 
three million Negroes in the North with a total circula- 
tion of one and one quarter million Negro papers each 

A more factual explanation of this larger circulation 
of Northern papers is that owing to their better news 
coverage and their generally fearless editorial policies 
they are in great demand in the South. The Chicago Dc~ 



fender, for example, had a local circulation of only 62,300 
as against non-local or national circulation of 131,600 
during the six months ending September 30, 1947. This 
means that over two-thirds of its ckculation was national. 
Over 66 per cent of this national circulation, however, 
was in the South. 

The four leading newspapers with their total audited 
circulation of over four-fifths of a million (812,700) as 
of September, 1947, are: 

Pittsburgh Courier (all editions) 277,900 

Afro-American (all editions) 235,600 

Chicago Defender (both editions) 193,900 

Amsterdam News (weekly total) 105,300 

Ohio has the largest number of Negro newspapers if 
one were to include the three editions of the Pittsburgh 
Courier (Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Ohio) as separate 
papers. These three editions had a total circulation of 
over 20,000, which is more than any other Ohio paper 
except the Cleveland Call and Post. This gives Ohio a 
total of fourteen newspapers. California has the second 
largest number of papers (twelve) since 1947, and Florida 
and Texas come next with eleven papers. 

Distribution of newspapers is done by mail and thru 
news-stands in large cities. In recent years, many railroad 
news-stands have been carrying nationally-known peri- 
odicals. There is, however, at least one distributing agency 



owned and operated by Negroes. On January i, 1938, the 
Great Eastern News Corporation was established by Leroy 
Brannic in New York City as a newspaper distribution 
agency, with the People's Voice as its first customer. 6 By 
1945, it had obtained fourteen Negro publications and one 
white, giving the corporation a total circulation of 500,000 
a week. 


No more than a mere handful of Negro papers have 
built a sufficient volume of advertising to secure any im- 
portant source of income from it. The volume of revenue 
derived from job-shop printing enjoyed by Negro news- 
papers is also very small. As a result, in most cases, a 
substantial financial burden of the Negro Press tends to 
fall largely upon circulation income which is consider- 
able. The average price of the better class papers on a 
subscript!^ basis varies from four to five dollars a year 
and for oSier papers from two to three dollars a year. 
On a retail basis, these papers generally sell for between 
ten and twelve cents a copy for most large city papers, 
and five to seven cents for others. The racial nature of the 
Negro newspaper makes its sale possible at such' a com- 
paratively high price even tho die average size of the 

6 Walter H. Rollins, The Negro Press in America: A content 
analysis of five newspapers, (Master's thesil at the University oJ 
Minnesota), June, 1945, f>. 34. 



paper has been reduced considerably since the Second 
World War. Generally, however, these papers are again 
gradually going back to their previous pre-war size. 


Information on business circumstances of the Negro 
Press is virtually impossible to secure. It can be surmised 
only from an occasional news item and from a cross sec- 
tional analysis of Negro papers. Mr. G. James Fleming 
estimated in 1935 that the Negro Press represented an 
evaluation of over $3,000,000 and gave whole or part time 
employment to about 6,000. Presuming this figure to be 
fairly accurate, it would appear that the rapid stride made 
by the Negro Press in the last thirteen years and the pres- 
ent high cost of material ought to bring the total evalu- 
ation to a figure close to $10,000,000 and total part and 
full time employment nearing 10,000. 

The business and printing structure have not kept 
stride with the development of news functions in the 
Negro Press. A study of sixty-six representative news- 
papers revealed that, with the exception of a dozen papers, 
most of them are typographically inferior, even tho, in 
many cases, they are well edited. While an assortment of 
type faces is used for headlines and advertising displays, 
the quality of printing and typographical arrangement is 
so poorly done that they often look unattractive. An un- 
balanced and overcrowded appearance with pictures care- 



lessly scattered everywhere seems to be the rule. A few 
papers have shown remarkable improvement in this re- 
spect in recent years. The People's Voice, during its first 
year of publication when it was fashioned after the P.M. 
newspaper and printed in P.M.'s plant, and the Journal 
and Guide have been among the leaders which presented 
an attractive display of type and balanced arrangement. 
The Chicago Sunday Bee also had a balanced arrange- 
ment, but the quality of the printing was poor. It was 
edited for several years by Miss Olive M. Diggs, a capable, 
young, college graduate, and often carried editorials of 
very high caliber. It never catered to sensationalism dur- 
ing the life time of its publisher. In late 1946 and soon 
after the death of its founder and publisher, Anthony 
Overton, a successful business man of excellent reputa- 
tion, the Bee made a futile attempt to survive and changed 
its format to a tabloid size, but within a few months after 
that it ceased publication in the latter half of 1947. The 
loss of this newspaper has been a distinct blow to high 
class journalism. 

Inking and press work of most newspapers with small 
circulation are inferior. Evidence of second hand or worn- 
out presses is apparent in the appearance of many papers. 
Line cuts are used generously by even the poorest papers 
in contrast with the number used by white dailies, but 
only a few of the more affluent papers can afford the use 
of better grade halftones. Generally, neither the line cuts 



nor the halftones, however, appear well in print except 
in a few leading papers, suggesting again the use of in- 
ferior presses and of poor engraving in the case of half- 
tones. 7 Probably the great majority of small Negro papers 
are issued from unpretentious side-street shops having 
second hand or inadequate equipment, generally inclu- 
ding a flat bed cylinder press, one linotype, a casting box, 
a job press or two, and limited fonts of display type. 

There is, however, a pronounced evidence toward 
better plants and equipment. Periodic mention of news- 
papers that have moved into new specially constructed 
buildings appear in issues of the Negro Press. The Afro- 
American, the Black Dispatch, the Chicago Defender, 
the Cleveland Call and Post, the Houston Informer^ the 
Kansas City Call, the Norfolk Journal and Guide, the 
Pittsburgh Courier, and the St. Louis Argus are among 
those which have modern rotary presses. 

Printers and pressmen on Negro papers are now Ne- 
groes, trained either by practical experience or in indus- 
trial schools. What difficulties Negro publishers have to 
face can easily be surmised from the editorial comments 
of the California Eagle made only a little over ten years 
ago in its 1937 Thanksgiving issue: 

Most of our printers we had to make; not out of materials 
with backgrounds of experience in the printing profession, 

7 Syrjamaki, op. cit., p. 47. 



but from the rank and file those who have been denied 
opportunities. A number of the printers and operators em- 
ployed by the Eagle today learned their profession in our 
shop. Many of them were just ambitious litde tykes with 
great zeal and little else when they came . . . asking for a 
break. Time and again our machines have been damaged 
by youngsters gaining their first mechanical experience. 


While direct information on salaries and wage sched- 
ules of the Negro Press are difficult to secure, its lack of 
business stability, as evidenced by large casualties in the 
thirties and early forties, and its inadequate income from 
advertising and job-shop revenues tend to suggest that 
minimum rather than maximum levels probably prevail. 
Indicative of the growing professionalization of Negro 
journalists is the fact that staff members of the New Yorl^ 
Amsterdam News joined the New York Newspaper 
Guild 8 in 1936. When the publishers of that paper re- 
fused to cede to the demands of the local guild, its mem- 
bers went on strike and were fully supported by the white 
guild. After eleven weeks, the owners went bankrupt, and 
the new publishers signed an agreement with the local 

8 This guild affiliation is only a sort of half unionization since 
Negro typesetters and mechanics are still generally barred from 
most ITU locals. 



As a further evidence of the growing strength and 
manhood of staff members of some Negro newspapers 
strength and manhood made possible by unionization 
one finds this curious line-up in the 1944 Presidential 
election: While the publishers of the New Yorf^ Amster- 
dam News went all-out Republican, urging and coaxing 
their readers by writing anti-Roosevelt editorials of the 
meanest type and urging them to vote for Dewey, the 
staff members of this paper urged their co-workers thru 
their own trade union paper to vote for Roosevelt. 

Staff members of the People's Voice joined the Ameri- 
can Newspaper Guild, an affiliate of the CIO in 1944. In 
1945, staff members of the Chicago Defender and the Los 
Angeles Sentinel also joined the American Newspaper 
Guild a forward step indeed. A year later, the staff 
members of the Pittsburgh Courier and the Washington 
Afro-American joined the Guild. Probably two or three 
moire have joined the Guild since then, but, by and large, 
most staff workers in the Negro Press are not members 
of any trade union, partly because the average Negro 
newspaper is still run as a small individual business en- 
terprise where personal relationship plays an important 
part and partly because the Negro capitalist is no differ- 
ent from any other capitalist whose main objective is to 
amass a fortune, often calling this objective by the eu- 
phemistic phrase of "enlightened self-interest." As a re- 
sult, the Negro capitalist has almost always frowned upon 



unionism in his own plant while advocating it elsewhere. 

In November, 1947, the International Typographical 
Union in Chicago went on strike for $ioo-a-week pay, 
and the daily papers of that "windy city" were being 
printed by the unique process of photo-engraved zinc 
cuts made from typewritten copies with handset head- 
lines. While the Chicago Defender was preoccupied with 
court litigation, it acceded to the Union's demand, but as 
soon as the court fight, arising out of the will of the late 
Robert S. Abbott, was over in late December, the Defen- 
der declined to continue complying with the Union's de- 
mand of $ioo-a-week pay for its workers. 

John H. Sengstacke, general manager of the Chicago 
Defender, answered the Union's demand with the follow- 
ing statement that hits directly at the very weakness of 
the Negro's attempt in building a segregated economy 
within the fabric of national economy a national econo- 
my that is built upon the tacit acceptance of the Negro's 
economic, political, and social segregation as a matter of 
course. The statement, clear and concise as it is, raises 
some pertinent questions. Pointing out that the available 
resources of the Chicago Defender could not support the 
wage demands made by the Union, Sengstacke appealed 
to the strikers to keep in mind the following facts: 

Our resources are limited and we must depend upon the 
Negro population only for income to survive. 



As a Negro newspaper we are circumscribed by all the 
business limitations imposed upon our race. 

Because of this fact, we are restricted in securing adver- 

Because of this fact, we are restricted in circulation growth. 
f Because of this fact, we are restricted in purchasing news- 
print, new presses, and the necessary tools to operate. 

Because of this fact, we are restricted in securing bank 
credits, loans, etc. 

Because of this fact, our Negro stereotypers and pressmen 
are not admitted into their respective unions and generally 
are restricted to work in establishments operated by Negroes. 

We cannot get away from these facts because they are 

All Negro workers, too, must also remember that these 
facts confront all Negroes regardless of their religion, union, 
political and other affiliations. 

. . . The other Negro newspapers in America, we believe, 
should understand our problem and appreciate that recent 
events more and more are conspiring to put Negro newspa- 
pers out of business. If this comes to pass the Negro's strong- 
est weapon in his struggle for first class citizenship will have 
been destroyed. 

While the author sees clearly the logic of Mr. Seng- 
stacke's appeal, which undoubtedly deserves the serious 
attention of all labor leaders, it seems rather strange and 
highly far-fetched to compare this International Typo- 
graphical Union with the Ku Klux Klan, as the ultra- 
conservative Journal and Guide did in its two-full-length- 



column editorial tided, 'The Use of Negroes as Labor's 
Pawns," dated December 20, 1947. Declaring rightfully 
that the closed shop has so far proven to be the Negro's 
enemy, the Journal made the following remarks, part of 
which' are italicized by the author for emphasis: 

It should not require an economist to see the logic and the 
cold, practical sense in the argument which Mr. Sengstacke 
makes. Unless that lesson is learned well, Negro newspaper 
workers all over the country will find themselves being used 
as pawns, destroying the only means of employment in the 
printing trades and newspaper profession available to them, 
in a foolish and suicidal gesture of cooperation with white 
newspaper workers who have done and are continuing even 
today to do everything possible to keep them from qualify- 
ing and obtaining jobs in white newspaper plants. 

A great many of our leaders have embraced without 
question the entire dogma of the professional unionists. It is 
not strange, therefore, that a majority of Negroes are sympa- 
thetic with the efforts of the typographical union and other 
labor organizations to defy and nullify the TAFT-HARTLEY law. 

But we cannot hold these views and we cannot enter into 
this fight without shaking the very pillars of constitutional 
government by which we have been able to establish and to 
hold the fundamental rights of American citizens. 

// we encourage an international labor union to defy and 
vitiate the TAFT-HARTLEY law because it does not agree with 
it, although it is the law of the land, then we cannot consis- 
tently ta\c a different position when another group, the Ku 
KLUX KLAN, for instance, defies and nullifies a civil rights 



law simply because it does not li\e it or does not believe it 
should be the law. 

This comparison of the International Typographical 
Union with the Ku Klux Klan only indicates the anti-la- 
bor attitude of this paper, which, of course, has many bed- 
fellows. While fighting for the Negro's right to be recog- 
nized as a full citizen of these United States, many news- 
papers are, at heart, believers in the old laissez faire doc- 
trine which made slavery and child labor possible in this 
country even after other progressive nations had aban- 
doned them! 

The author has no intention of denying the historical 
fact that closed unions have prevented Negroes from 
gaining entrance in skilled and specialized labor jobs in 
the past, as the Journal and Guide so aptly pointed out in 
the same editorial. It is, nevertheless, equally true that la- 
bor unions in the last ten years, particularly those organ- 
ized under the CIO, have, perhaps, done more for the up- 
lift of Negro labor and Negroes' civil rights tha^i the help- 
less outcries of the Negro Press. One should not overlook 
the fact that the general trend in the policies of the more 
progressive as well as aggressive unions has been defi- 
nitely toward recognizing the Negro's right to skilled 
jobs and his right to join craft unions. 

The author's serious objection, however, to comparing 
labor unions with the Ku Klux Klan lies in the fact that 



a labor union works within the framework of all laws and 
of the state and federal constitutions. Furthermore, labor 
unions do not adopt the tactics of secrecy, hooded meet- 
ings, intimidation, threat, and violence so consistently 
used by the Klan. Another striking difference is that the 
unions try to build class solidarity without distinction of 
color, creed, or sex, which certainly is a far broader classi- 
fication than the race purity and race solidarity concep- 
tions of Hitler followed by the Klan conceptions which 
have invariably ended in creating race hatred and race 
riots. If one must attack the aggressive nature of labor 
unions and their tactics of getting around the laws with- 
out violating them, as they evidently are doing now, one 
must admit that they learned these tactics from their em- 
ployers who have been past-masters in evading laws they 
disliked, using all the legal talent that their money could 
buy to do so. As a result, the employers have succeeded 
in creating a new class of super lawyers, known by the 
special tide of "corporation lawyers," whose only job is 
to show their patrons, for a high price, of course, how to 
get around or beat laws without being caught by them. 
Even a casual study of the development of our present 
employers' liability laws will show numerous illustra- 
tions of how employers have always used all means within 
their power to evade their legal responsibilities even when 
such evasion was socially and ethically unjustifiable tho 
legally possible. 



The latest evidence of the anti-labor attitude of the 
Negro Press as a whole was manifested at the eighth an- 
nual convention of the Negro Newspaper Publishers As- 
sociation held in Detroit in June, 1947, when that august 
body, by a strong vote, urged Senator Robert Taft to bend 
every effort to have President Truman's veto of the Taft- 
Hartley labor bill overridden. The defense of the publish- 
ers for this action was that the bill contained an FEPC 
clause providing non-discrimination in the selection of 


News Coverage and General Make-Up 



showed competent news writing and editing. Since 1920, 
there has been a steady drift to the Negro Press of young 
college graduates who often have specialized training. As 
a result, some newspapers have been able to approach the 
professional standards of white papers and to achieve a 
creditable impersonality in their writings. The Norfolk 
Journal and Guide and the Kansas City Colly to name but 
two, state that they employ as heads of their principal 
departments only graduates of professional schools of 

Personal opinions and prejudices have disappeared 
markedly from news articles of several important week- 
lies, except as noted later in this section. Articles and col- 
umns furnished by the news services are particularly out- 
standing, while reporters on some of the leading news- 
papers could competently fill jobs on white city dailies. 
In fact, since the Second World War a growing number 


of Negro reporters are serving as regular workers on 
such well-reputed white papers as the New Yor^ Evening 
Post, the New Yor% Times, the New Yor{ Herdd-Trib- 
une, the PJM., the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Chicago 
Daily News, the Chicago Herald-American, the Chicago 
Sun, the Toledo Blade, the Afpon Beacon-Journal, and 
the Detroit Free Press? In most of these cases, however, 
these workers are assigned to write news touching Negro 
life only. 

Selection of news seems often very poor. Negro jour- 
nalists appear to have learned the technique of writing 
and editing news without making equal progress in find- 
ing news, a process which requires a larger financial 
outlay. These newspapers have tended to deal almost 
completely with the. quirks ajid oddities of personalities. 
The news covered is often of the obvious type, following 
patterns of common gossip. To the well-informed reader, 
many of these newspapers often become somewhat dull 
and disappointing after the initial novelty wears off. In- 
stitutional news is strikingly lacking and only a few 
leading papers espouse local causes. The New Yor^ Am- 
sterdam News and the People's Voice do cover local news 
rather commendably, possibly because they are published 
in a city having a large Negro population and also be- 
cause they do not try to capture a nation-wide market by 

Year Boo^ 1947, pp. 395-396. 


issuing national editions as do the other larger papers 
mentioned below. 

From the point of view of coverage of national news 
about the Negro, the Pittsburgh Courier, the Afro-Amer- 
ican, the Chicago Defender, and the Journal and Guide 
are the first four leading weeklies. How much emphasis 
these papers give to national news and national circula- 
tion can be gathered from the fact that the Pittsburgh 
Courier publishes seventeen different editions: Local, Pa- 
cific Coast, Louisiana, Florida, Texas, Far South, South 
National, New York, Washington (D.C.), Philadelphia, 
Ohio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, 
and Mid-West; the Chicago Defender, two: Local and 
National, and two affiliates: the Michigan Chronicle and 
the Louisville Defender \ the Journal and Guide, four: 
Local (Norfolk), National, Richmond, and Newport 
News. The national edition of each of the above-named 
papers is meant to circulate in every state where that par- 
ticular newspaper does not have a state edition nor an 
affiliated paper in that state or section. 

The Scott Newspaper Syndicate, which invaded the 
Negro press field on a wide scale during the depression, 
publishes the Atlanta Daily World. It also controls twelve 
other papers which are printed in whole or in part in the 
offices of the Atlanta World, thus effecting an economy 
in production costs and permitting the use of up-to-date 
shop equipment. At the same time, these very things com- 


pel excessive uniformity and minimize the importance of 
local news in various papers of the syndicate. Possibly, 
that may partly account for their meager combined circu- 
lation of only 70,000. Other syndicates controlling a group 
of papers are: the Birmingham Weekly Review Group 
controlling seven papers; the Wolverine Group, four; the 
Atlas-Power Group, five; and the Informer Group, four. 

By and large, leading Negro newspapers serve a wider 
area than their immediate localities; hence, their selection 
of news is state, national, and international rather than 
local. As a result, local news is often sadly neglected by 
such papers. In a large number of newspapers, however, 
national news appears scattered thruout the papers in- 
stead of appearing on a few select pages. Furthermore, 
this news is often culled from press services or clipped 
from other papers and used in part for filler purposes. 
Syndicated columns seem to be printed sometimes for 
this reason. This indicates, in part, an inability or lack 
of effort on the part of newspapers to cover the local field 

In the selection of the news, particular emphasis is 
naturally placed on successes made by Negroes in com- 
petition with whites. News of Negro churches and lodges, 
certainly among the highest developed institutions in 
"Negro culture," tends generally to tell only of elections, 
social announcements, and other trivial details of no 
serious news value. Frequently, even this trivial news 



appears from one to three weeks after its occurrence. 
Quite often, such news is very poorly written. 

Negro schools and colleges also supply their own news 
written quite often in the style of society news with utter 
disregard to its value as "news." Attempts at improvement 
of the content and in the general tone of this news are 
often frowned upon by the administrative officers of the 
institutions who seem to be guided solely by the desire 
to compete against other institutions for newspaper space. 
To get more space in newspapers and to remain in their 
good graces, some educational institutions buy so-called 
legitimate advertising in which they announce the open- 
ing dates of their institutions. A few newspapers make a 
practice of collecting additional assessments in return for 
their espousal of the institution's cause. 

Except in the case of about a dozen papers, prominent 
either because of their full treatment of local news or of 
national news, editorial columns in most newspapers do 
not rise much above the pattern of news writing discussed 
above. Only in the syndicated columns does one find 
articles attempting to deal with the more fundamental 
problems confronting Negroes. This lack of institutional 
news may be reflective of the fact that "Negro culture" 
is only partly on its way to maturity. Such news cannot 
be written if it does not exist, if no serious attempts are 
made to gather it, or if there is no demand for it. The 
impression gained from a careful study of outstanding 



newspapers, however, is that the main fault lies with 
Negro journalists. They have aped the white papers too 
sedulously and have placed undue emphasis upon per- 
sonalities and sensationalism in order to sell their issues. 2 
In so doing, they have often completely ignored the op- 
portunity of educating the public and thus elevating its 
tastes. Possibly, they believe that their main job is to give 
the public what it wants, or, rather, to give the public 
what they think it wants. 

The Negro papers are not unlike white papers in their 
appearance. In general, they run in the direction of more 
sensationalism, a feature stemming from the initial enter- 
prise of the Chicago Defender and the Afro-American 
which built themselves in the image of the Hearst papers. 
The contents of the Negro papers include collectively the 
usual treatment of news, robberies, murders and scandals, 
society and personal items, sports, dramas and theater, 
syndicated columns, letters to the lovelorn, Winchellian 
columns, comic strips in white or shade, newspaper verse, 
the inquiring reporter, beauty hints, recipes for the home- 
maker, advice on how to bring up children; serial stories, 
and astrological and "lucky number" columns. Some 
newspapers of even the better caliber like the Courier have 
been exploiting, until recently, this last phase of putting 
the so-called lucky numbers in their papers so that num- 
ber players may buy their papers. 

2 Syrjamaki, o/>. '/., footnote no. 10, p. 49. 


The departmentalization of such news as sports, soci- 
ety, and the theater is generally well-done tho general 
news is often badly scattered thruout the paper. There 
is a general tendency toward prodigality in the allotment 
of space to sports and somewhat less to drama and theater 
news in the small city as well as in the metropolitan 
weeklies. Little attention is given to book reviews except 
in half a dozen leading papers. Racial issues are always 
to the fore as one might naturally expect. Human interest 
feature material touching upon the lighter side of life 
is singularly absent; it is broached, however, occasionally 
in the signed columns of a personal type. 3 Cartoons on 
serious matters other than racial issues are rarely pre- 

The use of pictorial journalism has been particularly 
played up by the Negro Press, and even the smallest 
country paper carries an ample share of cuts. Because of 
the expense of engraving involved, cheap cuts are used 
by small papers. The larger publications are able to in- 
dulge in lavish displays of halftone etchings and often 
devote between one-fifth to one-fourth of the entire space 
to pictures alone, the Afro leading all others in this re- 
spect. Larger papers, of course, use pictures as a part of 
their sensationalistic appeal. Yet, there is an evident cal- 
culated utilization of cuts to present news pictorially in 
the Negro Press. Such policy also serves as a healthy 
p. 50. 


check against the repression neurosis from which the 
Negro often suffers due to the complete apathy of the 
whites who deny him the privilege of enjoying all the 
social and cultural advantages which rightfully belong 
to him as an American citizen ! 

The proportion of space devoted to news as compared 
to that given to advertising is exceptionally high in most 
papers. Perhaps, an average for the leading papers would 
be between seventy-five and eighty per cent including 
pictures. Space devoted to editorials and columnists is 
from three to five per cent in many papers except in the 
Pittsburgh Courier which definitely overplays this angle. 
To conserve space, the Courier often uses small type in 
major stories with solid or very thinly leaded long lines. 
Stories on the front page of this paper, spreading some- 
times from three to four columns in width, are printed 
with poor leading and in small type, thus causing undue 
strain on the readers' eyes an aspect that no better class 
newspaper should neglect to take into consideration in 
publishing a newspaper. Such neglect makes the general 
appearance of the paper rather poor and its reading hard 
and harmful to the eyes. Quality is sacrificed for quantity, 
forgetting that this often defeats its main purpose, which 
is to have the news read on a large scale. By and large, 
sense of balance and rhythm and an attractive display of 
type and pictures is generally lacking in dl but two or 
three papers. 



As pointed out earlier, while considerable progress 
has been shown in eliminating bias or personal opinions 
in the writing of news stories, some newspapers still find 
it difficult to be objective and honest in reporting news. 
Such papers often omit news affecting certain persons 
either because they have personal interest in them or be- 
cause these persons are highly glamorized, popular, and 
well-known individuals and the newspapers prefer not 
to touch them adversely. 

When the controversy between the church- and state- 
supported units at Wilberforce University ended in the 
dramatic dismissal of Dr. Charles H. Wesley as president 
of the University in June, 1947, and in the establishment 
of a separate state college at Wilberforce with Dr. Wesley 
as its first president, and when charges and counter- 
charges were hurled by each faction against the other, 
many Negro newspapers carried news favoring one fac- 
tion only and either refused to present the other faction's 
point of view, or presented it meagerly, assigning to it 
some insignificant place. 

Strange as it may seem, on two occasions the Negro 
Press ignored dynamic stories on the Wilberforce split, 
possibly because these stories touched a highly glam- 
orized faction leader. All factions did some doubt- 
ful maneuvering. Quite often, their careless actions in- 
volved infringements on one's constitutional rights and 
civil liberties actions full of tragic human drama, of 



actual assault and intimidation, of greed and selfishness, 
of corruption and immorality, of congenital incompe- 
tency, of "vested" or "divine" rights, of conflicting and 
self-centered ideologies, of moronic inefficiency, of Machi- 
avellian diplomacy, of Jekyll and Hyde, but the Negro 
Press did not send in reporters to investigate even after 
it was made aware of the existance of such a story! Thus 
it lost a splendid opportunity to be of service to an age- 
old institution with unusual potentialities but temporarily 
stunned by internal warfare. At least, the welfare of the 
students should have prompted some of the leading 
Negro papers to look into this matter since their only 
justification for existence is that they are primarily inter- 
ested in the uplift of the Negro race. 

The White Press, completely mystified and confused 
by the civil war on the campus of a Negro institution, 
did not know what to do, tho, be it said to its credit, 
that it did send in good reporters who saw all factions 
with the only motive of finding out the truth the truth 
that was buried deeply in the past twelve years' history 
of that memorable institution. Not understanding Negro 
psychology, needless to say, they failed and frankly ad- 
mitted their failure by being silent on the entire situation 
and waiting for things to develop. 

How far some Negro newspapers flatly refuse to be 
objective and become autocratic in their general policies 
will be evident from the following incident: 



In December, 1947, Wilberforce University submitted 
an "ad" to the Afro, the Courier, and the Crisis magazine 
for possible publication in their mid-January issues. Real- 
izing that the "ad" might be refused on the ground of 
its being controversial, in spite of its being factual, and to 
avoid unnecessary delay as well as expense, the Univer- 
sity, after trimming its "ad" to one third its size, submit- 
ted a week later a second "ad" as a possible substitute 
for the previous one. 



We are anxious to build our alumni records which have 
to be started from a scratch since Dr. Charles H. Wesley, pres- 
ident of the newly-created state college at Wilberforce, and 
Mr. Dorsey T. Murray, executive secretary of the Alumni 
Association, have flatly refused to let us have access to the 
names and addresses of our graduates and former students, 
even though I have been elected by the Alumni Association 
to be editor of the Alumni Journal. Please send to my office 
your name, the year of graduation or departure from the Uni- 
versity, your present complete address, along with those of 
other alumni whose names and addresses you know. Please 
urge others to do likewise. 

We have just finished preparing a very revealing, dynamic, 
and much-needed pamphlet, with no punches pulled. It is a 
document which throws light on the Wilberforce Dilemma 
created by the split between the church and the state a split 
led by Dr. Claries H. Wesley. It is tided "The Wilberforce 



Dilemma An Objective and Critical Evaluation of Dr. Wes- 
ley's Administration." Please send for it. 

Milton S. J. Wright, Director, Alumni Relations Office, 
Wilberforce University, P.O. Box 24, Wilberforce, Ohio. 


We are anxious to build our alumni records which have 
to be started from scratch since we are unable to get access 
to the records now in the files of the old Alumni Office. 
Please send to the undersigned your name, year of graduation 
or departure from the University, your present complete ad- 
dress, along with those of other alumni whose names and 
addresses you know, and urge others to do likewise. Thank 
You. Milton S. J. Wright, Director, Alumni Relations, P.O. 
Box 24, Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, Ohio. 

The Crisis refused the first "ad," but promptly ac- 
cepted the second "ad." This was published in its Febru- 
ary issue. 

The Afro also promptly wrote accepting the second 
"ad," but stated, at the same time, that if the University 
still preferred the first "ad," the Afro would have to take 
some legal advice before giving the University its final 
answer. From later correspondence with the publisher 
about the Wilberforce split, the author seriously feels 
that the "ad" would have been refused. 

The Courier took ten days to refuse the first "ad." 
Then after several days deliberation, it also refused the 



second "ad," naively assuring the University at the same 
time that this was done "in the best interest of all con- 
cerned-" No commentary seems necessary on this action 
of the Courier except to point out the danger inherent 
in a newspaper that gets monopolistic control in the circu- 
lation of news a monopoly made possible by the seven- 
teen different state and regional editions which the Cour- 
ier publishes each week thruout the United States, a mon- 
opoly that can be destroyed only by a readers' strike. 

The Courier and the Afro-American gave only unfa- 
vorable publicity to Wilberforce University, showing her 
worst side while bringing out the best side of Dr. Wesley 
and his newly-created state college. Then, on November 
29, 1947, the Courier carried the following italicized note 
on a news story -titled, "Dr. Wesley, Mrs. Ransom Dis- 
cuss Wilberforce": 

In \eeping with the COURIER'S policy of impartial report- 
ing of the news and views t we present two pictures of the 
Wilberforce situation: one from the President of the State- 
supported school, the other from the wife of the Senior Bish- 
op of the AME Church which supports the other school. 

Both were date-lined Wilberforce, Ohio. On reading the 
two columns one would get the impression that the Cour- 
ier had interviewed these two persons. The fact of the 
matter was that Mrs. Ransom was never interviewed nor 
was any letter written to her on that subject. What she 



was purported to have said was literally copied from a 
letter that she had sent to the Dayton Hcrdd for publi- 
cation. In this letter she was expressing her protest against 
certain statements appearing in a news story published 
in the Herald and written by one Jack Vincent on the 
"Wilberforce Muddle." 

The Courier made no reference to this newspaper, but 
gave its readers the impression that its story was either 
sent to it by the parties concerned or secured after an 
interview with them. To the author this appears nothing 
but dishonest journalism, and the Courier has been guilty 
of it on many occasions. Perhaps, that is its method of 
"making" news when none is available! 

When the Director of Publicity of Wilberforce Uni- 
versity protested to the Courier about this story on the 
ground that it gave bad publicity to Wilberforce, the 
Courier's answer was, "When the article was printed in 
the Herald it immediately became a public matter. What 
is your argument?*' 

The author's response, that letters to editors were not 
public in the sense that anyone could use their contents 
without even mentioning the newspapers in which such 
letters were originally printed, went unheeded. 

The author has no desire to pass any judgment on the 
"Wilberforce split" led by Dr. Wesley except to say that 
all the blame does not lie on one side. The net result of 
the tragic split has been "faculty thrown against facility, 



students thrown against students, board and community 
members divided into groups, gradual social disintegra- 
tion, and false statements and confusion on all sides/* 
The author's reason for making any reference to the in- 
cident at all is that he knows this case from first hand 
knowledge and hence feels secure in citing some of the 
incidents as mere samples of ethics of some Negro news- 

"Lifting" news and feature articles from newspapers 
and magazines of the White Press and passing them on 
as their own without giving any credit to proper sources 
is not an uncommon practice among Negro newspapers. 
Immediately after the NewsweeJ^ published a two-col- 
umn illustrated story on the "Rose Meta House of Beauty" 
a Negro enterprise in New York City which netted a 
profit of $35,000 in 1946 this story was released by many 
newspapers, almost word for word, without the name of 
any agency or without any reference to its original source. 
Some newspapers rewrote the story immediately after its 
first appearance in the Neu/suseefy perhaps a "gentle- 
manly" form of stealing news without being held liable 
for such an action. The fact remains that the story, very 
valuable to the Negro Press, was first unearthed by some 
one connected with the Newsu/eel^ and was copyrighted 
by it. 

It might be noted here, in passing, that Negro news- 
papers should be willing to pay for stories turned in in- 



stead of devising means to avoid payments. It is this sort 
of unfair treatment that has prevented many writers 
from turning in good stories with the result that many 
newspapers print stories after they are two or three weeks 
old. Certainly, the well-entrenched newspapers could 
afford to pay for good and fresh news stories! 

News-Gathering Agencies 


JLHE COLLECTION of news for 

the Negro Press is done by reporters and correspondents 
covering local and regional centers, by voluntary reports 
made by institutions, fraternal organizations, business es- 
tablishments, and other similar organizations, and by 
twenty -four news - gathering agencies of all types and 
shades. Only two of these news gathering agencies are of 
importance: the Associated Negro Press of Chicago and 
the National Negro Press Association of Washington, 

The Associated Negro Press (ANP), 3507 South Park- 
way, Chicago 15, Illinois, still the oldest as well as the 
most comprehensive news services, is a cooperative news- 
gathering agency founded in 1919 by Claude A. Barnett 
for rendering service to Negro newspapers. Any newspa- 
per of good standing which agrees to abide by the rules 
of the agency and pays an application fee of twenty-five 
dollars may be granted membership. Additional charge 



is made for the service itself. There were eighty-six news- 
papers which held membership as of January, 1948. 

News is issued twice weekly and under two classifi- 
cations: class "A" and class "B." These releases leave 
Chicago by mail on Friday and Monday of each week. 
Class "A" service entitles the holder to both releases. 
Class "R" service, which costs less, entitles the holder to 
receive the Friday release only. 

Each member newspaper agrees to cover news in its 
vicinity and to report it to the ANP home office in Chi- 
cago for distribution to all the members. This agreement, 
however, is generally ignored by member - subscribers. 
The greater part of news relayed to the newspapers in the 
two weekly releases of the ANP is gathered by ANFs 
own staff. The ANP claims that spreading out from its 
Chicago office is a network of correspondents, one located 
in every center of considerable Negro population where 
news of vital importance to the Negro is apt to break. 
All types of information continuously pours into the Chi- 
cago office by mail from its selected correspondents. Many 
volunteer writers also hold credentials which officially 
establish them on a reportorial basis and designate them 
as newsgatherers. Some of the news touching Negro life 
is often culled from white newspapers and magazines. 
Many important Negro organizations also make use of 
the facilities of this agency to distribute news of their 

- 100 - 


Regarding the charge that ANP often acts as pub- 
licity agent for some institutions and groups rather than 
as an impartial news service, the director of ANP denies 
that the agency "ever 'sells out 5 its news service to any 
party, although he makes no secret of the fact that sub- 
jects of pictures are generally asked to underwrite the 
cost of cuts and mats." 1 

Engaged in the task of presenting information affect- 
ing the progress and achievements of the Negro, there is 
no doubt that the ANP as a pioneer organization has 
rendered and is still rendering signal service to the growth 
and development of the Negro Press. 

The National Negro Press Association (NNPA), 2007 
Fifteenth Street, N.W., Washington 9, D. C, is the young- 
est and yet, potentially, the most dynamic news-gathering 
agency that is serving the Negro Press today. As such, the 
NNPA news service has existed only since July 19, 1947. 
The Negro Newspaper Publishers Association decided to 
separate the news-gathering functions from its other acti- 
vities at its June, 1947, convention. Thereupon, a group 
comprising eleven publishers holding membership in the 
Publishers Association took over the news setup without 
interruption of service and pooled the needed funds to 
carry it on with the same personnel. Following the suc- 
cessful technique of the Associated Press, they reorgan- 

^Myrdal, of. cit. y footnote 30, pp. 1424-1425. 
- 101 - 


ized the service so as to insure greater national coverage. 
A written agreement for reciprocal exchange of news was 
required of all newspapers using the NNPA service. Ex- 
cept for this essentially technical change-over, however, 
the service dates back to an earlier period, as will be ex- 
plained later. 

Realizing that coordination of ideas and policies and 
closer association among publishers were conducive to 
healthier competition and mutual benefits, a large num- 
ber of newspaper representatives met in Chicago on Feb- 
ruary 9, 1940, and formed the Negro Newspaper Publish- 
ers Association. 2 

When the gpth Fighter Squadron (formerly, the 99th 
Pursuit Squadron), the first all-Negro air unit, was as- 
signed to combat duty on June i, 1943, practically every 
important newspaper wanted to have its own representa- 
tives cover its activities. This, of course, the War Depart- 
ment could not very well permit. So, Major General 
A. D. Surles, then director of the Bureau of Public Rela- 
tions of the War Department, suggested that newspapers 
anxious to have direct coverage should form a "pool" for 
getting news thru one or two correspondents with the 

2 A similar organization, known as the National Negro Press 
Association, was in existence during the First World War and 
was very militant in its activities in the twenties. Its main purpose 
was "the moral, material and general betterment of the Negro 
press in the United States and the world." 

- 102 - 


understanding that such news coverage would be shared 
alike by all members of the "pooL" 

The first "pooling" arrangement lasted only two or 
three weeks. However, the idea of cooperative coverage of 
news and the promise of the War Department to give 
priority in transportation arid wire facilities to correspon- 
dents selected by a group of newspapers working coopera- 
tively caught the imagination of fourteen publishers of 
leading newspapers. They immediately formed a general 
"War Correspondents' Pool." 

Washington, during the war, was clearly the biggest 
source of news of major interest to the Negro reading 
public. Even now, it is the chief point of origin of the 
biggest news, not only of general, national, and inter- 
national import, but of and about the American Negro. 
Great issues are always coming before the Supreme Court, 
before Congress, before the various government bureaus 
and departments, before chief officials, before the Presi- 
dent himself issues affecting the most fundamental prob- 
lems and aspirations of Negro Americans. 

Recognizing the importance of news emanating from 
Washington and the imperative need for a central bureau 
to gather and distribute such news, the Negro News- 
paper Publishers Association proceeded to set up an office 
in that city in 1944, with Harry S. McAlpin, previously of 
the Chicago Defender, as its first head. The Association 
also succeeded in getting a Negro correspondent accred- 

- 103- 


ited to the White House by a direct appeal to President 
Roosevelt, at a conference in the White House on Febru- 
ary 5, 1944. McAlpin was selected for this job. Finally, 
and after long negotiations, the Association was able to 
get Negro representatives admitted to the Congressional 
Press Galleries on March 18, 1947. Louis R. Lautier and 
P. L. Prattis, correspondent for Our World, a leading 
Negro magazine, were the first Negro representatives ad- 
mitted to the Congressional Press Galleries. Lautier is 
also the present White House correspondent and chief 
of the NNPA news service. 

Thanks to the continued efforts of the Negro News- 
paper Publishers Association to get Negro newspapers 
recognized in every phase of activity of the Congress and 
of the President of the United States, two Negro journal- 
ists, P. Bernard Young, Jr., editor of the Journal and 
Guide and chairman of the NNPA news service, and 
Llewellyn A. Coles, editor of the Ohio State News and 
vice-president of the Negro Newspaper Publishers Asso- 
ciation, were accredited to the press group comprising a 
total of twenty-eight persons accompanying President 
Harry S. Truman on his official tour which left Washing- 
ton, D.C., on February 20, 1948, for Key West, Florida, 
and thence to Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and Cuba. The 
third Negro representative included in the group was 
Lem Graves, Jr., Washington correspondent of the Pitts- 
burgh Courier. This was the first time that Negroes have 

- 104 - 


been accepted to the press group accompanying the Presi- 
dent of the United States. 

All active members of the Association received this 
news service free as the cost for it was included in the 
annual assessments paid to the Association by them on 
the basis of their net paid circulation. 

Some of the members of the Publishers Association 
did not like the idea of paying large assessments in order 
to keep the news service going since they were also main- 
taining their own correspondents or bureaus in the capital 
city. These members brought pressure on the June, 1947, 
convention of the Association and succeeded in inducing 
it to give up its news gathering activities. The Pittsburgh 
Courier took the lead in this fight as it felt that the service 
was merely a duplication of its own efforts with its own 
seventeen different state or regional editors and staff 
members scattered thruout the nation. Furthermore, the 
Courier was opposed to the idea of further expansion in 
this service, as was first proposed, and of being charged 
for the services on the basis of circulation, especially since 
it was leading all other papers in circulation and would, 
therefore, be required to pay the largest fee for this ser- 
vice. This, the Courier selfishly argued, would be sub- 
sidizing the service at its expense only to receive stronger 
competition from small newspapers which would be re- 
quired to pay only small fees for the same service. There- 

- 105- 


upon, eleven newspapers, as explained earlier, took over 
this service. 

To maintain the goodwill created by the earlier service 
of the Negro Newspaper Publishers Association, the or- 
ganizers of the new service decided to call it the "National 
Negro Press Association," and thus retain the initials 
NNPA, which had then become popularly associated with 
the news service. 

Slowly but steadily, the NNPA is expanding its news 
coverage nationwide. Even tho a great deal of the news 
dispatched by it may carry a Washington date line, it is 
not Washington news in the local or restricted sense. For 
example, the recent reports by the President's committees 
on civil rights and on education, the earlier reports on the 
utilization of Negroes in the military forces, and the Su- 
preme Court's decisions in the University of Oklahoma 
lawsuit suggest the nature of the type of news made in 
the capital. It is news of the very essence of importance 
to people seeking to escape second class citizenship. 

The NNPA sends out four regular mimeographed 
releases each week. Wednesday's release is primarily fea- 
ture and column material; Friday's and Saturday's are 
primarily spot news; Monday's is supplementary spot 
news. In addition, telegraphic service of news breaking 
on the deadline is sent to those papers which have pre- 
viously authorized its dispatch by press rate collect tele- 

- 106 - 


While the NNPA is providing only occasional foreign 
service at present it is giving more and more national 
coverage thru news coverage arrangements with its sub- 
scribers. The service is available to any newspaper and the 
fee is determined on the basis of net paid circulation. 

In 1945, when this service was still a part of the Negro 
Newspaper Publishers Association, forty-eight newspa- 
pers, including one daily, with a combined circulation of 
one and one-half million copies a week, were subscribers 
to this service. As of January 1948, this reorganized ser- 
vice had thirty-three newspapers on its membership list 
with an estimated total circulation of 821,527. The Pins- 
burgh Courier was not a subscriber to this service. 

The NNPA news service reports that it has had in- 
quiries from England, Virgin Islands, Ethiopia, South 
Africa, Panama, Gold Coast, and Nigeria regarding the 
availability of its news to publications in those countries. 
In many other places, there are great numbers of persons 
of African descent and of other colored races who are in- 
terested in the activities of Negro Americans. The NNPA 
and other American Negro news services have thus addi- 
tional avenues of expansion in these directions. 

It is evident that with the active support of newspaper 
publishers, with the growing national coverage made pos- 
sible thru an exchange-of-news agreement from its sub- 
scribers, with its chief office located in the key city of 
Washington, D.C., and with capable and seasoned men 



behind it, this service will undoubtedly offer keen compe- 
tition to the ANP the oldest and, seemingly, still the 
strongest and best known news-gathering service. 

How long the one-man dominated ANP will be able 
to survive against the growing competition of the NNPA 
is a matter of conjecture. Nevertheless, the reader may 
sense the trend from the outburst of the Ohio State News 
in its 1948 New Year's edition. The News implied that 
its decision to subscribe to the NNPA news service (it 
was already a subscriber to the ANP service) was a clear 
indication of its progress and that its readers could, from 
then on, rely upon a better news coverage! 

On the other hand, both services may survive and 
grow, competing against and supplementing each other. 
There is not now a complete duplication of subscribers 
using both services. Many papers can afford to be sub- 
scribers to both NNPA and ANP. Both could prosper 
with support from a sufficient number of weeklies now 
in business. Survival of both services would remove the 
dangers inherent in a monopolistic news service. The 
White Press is much more extensive and much more se- 
cure financially than the Negro Press, it is true. It (the 
White Press) supports three major news-gathering agen- 
cies which offer twenty-four hour wire services and, lit- 
erally, hundreds of special news, feature, and photo ser- 
vices. It would seem, therefore, that there is room for two 



strong semi-weekly or even daily news services devoted to 
the interest of the rapidly growing Negro Press. 

Continental Features, 507 Fifth Avenue, New York 
City 17, specializing in several syndicated cartoons and 
comic strips, serve some eighty-seven Negro papers a 
week. Prior to the Second World War, Continental Fea- 
tures also released articles on sports and the theater, but 
it had to discontinue this part of its service during the war 
and has not been able to resume it "because of shortage 
of newsprint paper." 

Calvin's News Service, 101 W. 46 Street, New York 
City 19, was founded in 1935 and offers its patrons, free 
of charge, theater, sports, general, spot, and labor news 
as well as feature articles, photographs, and matrices. The 
releases are dispatched weekly by mail, but there may also 
be week-end flashes when the nature of the material 
merits them. 

The Continental Press Association, 2703 E. 22 Street, 
Kansas City, Missouri, was founded in 1935 by C. E. 
Chapman. Like Calvin's, it is a private organization which 
dispenses general news in small quantities, photographs, 
and matrices. 

The Atlas News and Photo Service was founded in 
Chicago in 1941 by Fred Douglas Downer. It is a coopera- 
tive enterprise which supplies its more than fifty member- 

- 109 - 


papers with photo service and occasional news items. This 
service is also offered free to the newspaper publishers; 
the cost of photographs and matrices is borne by the pub- 
licized subject. Any newspaper that agrees to use the re- 
leases may have the services once each week. 8 Its present 
location is at 444 E. 47 Street, Chicago 15, Illinois. 

The Scott Newspaper Syndicate, 210 Auburn Avenue, 
Atlanta, Georgia, and the Informer Syndicate, 2418 Le- 
land Avenue, Houston 3, Texas, maintain independent 
and exclusive services of their own. 

In addition to these services, various recent directories 
list the following seventeen services, most of which are 
one-man organizations and do not play an important 
part as news-gathering agencies of national scope: 

Amalgamated News Agency, 407 Columbus Avenue, 
Boston, Massachusetts. 

Hampton Institute Press Service, Hampton Institute, 

Howard News Syndicate, 515 Mulberry Street, Des 
Moines, Iowa. 

Independent Press Service, 48 W. 48 Street, New York 

NAACP Press Service, 20 W. 40 Street, New York 
City 18. 

8 Walter H. Rollins, op. cit., p. 34. 
- 110 - 


National Negro Features, 501 E. First Street, Los An- 
geles, California. 

Negro Digest News Service, 5619 S. State Street, Chi- 
cago, Illinois. 

Negro Labor News Service, 312 W. 125 Street, New 
York City. 

Negro Press Bureau, 4255 Central Avenue, Los An- 
geles, California. 

Pacific News Service, 617 N. Main Street, Los Angeles, 

Progress Neu/s Service, 80 Wickliff Street, Newark, 
New Jersey. 

Reciprocal News Service, 1600 N. Thirteenth Street, 
Washington, D.C. 

Tusfagee Institute Press Service, Tuskegee Institute, 

United News Company, 6306 Rhodes Avenue, Chi- 
cago, Illinois. 

Victory News Service, 839 W. Walnut Street, Milwau- 
kee 5, Wisconsin. 

White Newspaper Syndicate, P. O. Box 58, Ham- 
tramck, Michigan. 

World Newspaper Syndicate (present address un- 

- in - 


Advertising in the Negro Press 

.wo MAIN REASONS have pre- 
vented Negro newspapers from developing as lucrative 
a source of income from advertising as have white papers 

First, until recently, Negro papers have had to rely 
mainly upon the patronage of business establishments in 
Negro neighborhoods. These establishments have not been 
sufficiently numerous nor affluent to be rich sources of 
revenue for Negro newspapers; consequently, advertis- 
ing revenue from them has been negligible. Since the 
late twenties, however, newspapers in major cities have 
been able to secure increasingly larger revenues from 
local retail advertising. Most of them are derived from 
retail establishments in segregated communities and from 
centrally located retail outlets with large Negro patron- 
age. According to one prominent advertising representa- 
tive, more than ninety-five per cent of the establishments 
using Negro newspapers for advertising purposes are 
owned and managed by whites. 

- 112 - 


Second, prior to the thirties, the growth of the Negro 
Press was recognized only by a handful of important 
national advertisers which included, among others, manu- 
facturers of Camel cigarettes, White Owl cigars, Lifebuoy 
soap, Chevrolet automobiles, and Bond bread. This lack 
of recognition of the Negro Press on a larger scale as an 
advertising medium was partly offset by the efforts of 
W. B. Ziff Company of Chicago, a white organization 
which served as publishers' representatives and which 
sought to secure the patronage of nationally advertised 
merchandise for Negro newspapers. The Ziff Company's 
efforts were partly successful in securing some advertis- 
ing, but in the late thirties it began withdrawing itself 
from this field and finally gave it up entirely, changing 
its name to Ziff-Davis Publishing Company and devoting 
itself first to the publication of specialized magazines 
for fishing, hunting, and other sports, and finally to book 

Apart from the early efforts of Ziff Company in se- 
curing the patronage of a small number of national ad- 
vertisers for the Negro Press, a few individual newspapers 
were able to attract such national advertisers as Gerber's 
products, El Producto cigars, Pepsi-Cola, and Seagrams 
and other nationally known liquor brands. Among those 
which were sucessful in selling the Negro Press to nation- 
al advertisers, the Afro-American was the foremost pio- 

- 113- 


neer. The New Yor% Amsterdam News, the Chicago De- 
fender, the Kansas City Call, and the NorfolJ^ Journal and 
Guide were also among the early pioneers in this respect. 

In 1940, Interstate United Newspaper, Inc., 545 Fifth 
Avenue, New York City 17, was organized by the late 
Robert Vann of the Pittsburgh Courier and Ira Lewis, 
now president of the Courier. Together, they bought the 
business formerly operated by Howard Crohn, who was 
once the eastern manager for W. B. Ziff Company. To 
capture some of the major advertising accounts, the Inter- 
state set in motion the preparation of special studies on 
Negro consumer markets in important cities having large 
Negro populations studies similar to those completed by 
the Afro - American in 1945. The organization cam- 
paigned vigorously and successfully for. some important 
advertising accounts. The leading sales arguments to pros- 
pective customers were that the purchasing power of the 
Negro had risen from four billion dollars in the twenties 
to seven billion dollars in the thirties, and over ten billion 
dollars in the forties, and that the Negro was a large 
buyer of goods by brand names. 

William Black, a capable, young, hard-working man, 
joined this organization in 1942. With the help of his as- 
sociates and by dint of hard work and presentation of 
cold facts, he succeeded in securing the patronage of 
jnany nationally known merchandise advertisers who had 

- 114 - 


hitherto limited their patronage to only a few papers. 
Among the national advertisers whose patronage was 
secured by the Interstate, one finds Calvert, Seagrams, 
and other well known distillers' products; Tromer's, 
Pabst, and Hoffman beers; Coca Cola, Pepsi-Cola, and 
Royal Crown Colas; Chevrolet, Ford, Buick, and Chrys- 
ler; Bond Bread, General Baking, Corn Products, Best 
Foods, American Sugar Refineries, Safeway and A & P 
Stores, and a few other nationally known food manufac- 
turers and distributors. 

Following the pattern of white advertising agencies, 
first suggested to Batten, Barton, Durstine and Osborn 
Advertising Agency by William Vomack, formerly of the 
Ziflf Company, and by Joseph B. La Cour, formerly of the 
Afro-American, Interstate was able to employ the tech- 
nique of using testimonial advertisements by Negro art- 
ists. Nehi Corporation now advertises its Royal Crown 
Colas in the Negro Press with the endorsements of such 
celebrities as "Peg Leg" Bates, "Hot Lips" Page, Erskine 
Hawkins, and others. 

All in all, Interstate, the first and evidently the largest 
representative of Negro publishers, is doing a commend- 
able job. As of January, 1948, it claimed to be serving 135 
periodicals. As of February, 1948, publications represented 
by it had a slightly greater Audit Bureau of Circulations 
total than any other group in the Negro field even thb 
the number of ABC papers represented by it was small 



The Pittsburgh Courier with its seventeen separate edi- 
tions is Interstate's most important customer. The New 
Yor{ Amsterdam News, the Kansas City Call, and the 
Scott Newspaper Syndicate Group are among its next 
important customers. 

Interstate is a profit making organization set up on 
a purely business basis to increase the volume of quality 
national advertising in the Negro Press. It receives its 
compensation in the form of commissions from secured 
business. Its management claims that it has sold more than 
three million lines of paid advertising in one year and is 
continuously increasing its volume. Recently, it spent forty 
thousand dollars in cooperation with its member papers 
to secure exact figures on the brand preferences of Ne- 
groes from coast to coast and has published the result of 
its study in an illustrated pamphlet titled, The National 
Negro Market. 

In March, 1944, the Associated Publishers, Inc., 526 
Fifth Avenue, New York City 19, was formed under the 
joint ownership of the Afro-American Group comprising 
six newspapers, Carter Wesley of the Informer Group, 
the Journal and Guide, the Michigan Chronicle, and the 
Louisville Defender. All of them are among the most 
prominent customers of the Association. None of the 
newspapers served by the Associated Publishers patron- 
ize the Interstate and vice versa. 



In the short space of four years, the Associated Pub- 
lishers has made rapid progress and is now serving twen- 
ty-four newspapers. The combined weekly circulation 
of these twenty-four papers is a little over half a million. 
Two-thirds of the newspapers having membership in the 
Audit Bureau of Circulations belong to this Association 
which now has a branch office in Chicago and employs 
a total of fifteen full time workers. From all available 
records it appears that the Association has proven satis- 
factory to the newspapers it represents and has earned for 
itself an enviable reputation among important agencies 
and advertisers. It has been fortunate in having experi- 
enced, highly capable, and alert management and staff. 
This may account, in part, for the rapid stride it has 
made within the limited space of less than four years. 

The names of advertising agencies operated by Ne- 
groes, as distinguished from the publishers' representa- 
tives just discussed, are: David J. Sullivan, 545 Fifth 
Avenue, New York City 17; Braiidford Advertising, Inc., 
107 West 43rd Street, New York City; J. W. Christian & 
Associates, 501 West i45th Street, New York City; W. B. 
Graham & Associates, 55 West 42nd Street, New York 
City; Sidne Flanders, Inc., 489 Fifth Avenue, New York 
City; Davis, Fouche & Powell, Inc., 6308 Cottage Grove 
Avenue, Chicago 37, Illinois; J. B. Williams & Associates, 
622 E. 68th Street, Chicago 38, Illinois; A. L. Foster & 
Associates, 417 E. 47th Street, Chicago 15, Illinois; and 

- 117- 


the City Service Advertising Agency, 3447 S. Indiana 
Avenue, Chicago 16, Illinois. Some newspapers, notably 
among them the Chicago Defender, maintain their own 
advertising departments which secure both local and na- 
tional advertising for their respective papers. 

Commenting upon the patronage of the Negro Press 
by white national advertisers, Joseph B. La Cour, mana- 
ger of the Associated Publishers, Inc., makes the follow- 
ing observations in a letter to the author, dated January 
5, 1948: 

Misrepresentation of circulation and lack of believable 
and authentic market data have also militated against the 
acceptance of media serving our market and the colored 
family as a consumer. 

However, the picture is improving and with that im- 
provement, important national advertisers are giving greater 
recognition to the market and its media. Factors have been 
the initiation of consumer research studies by the Afro- 
American Newspapers, the subsequent national surveys of 
Interstate United Newspapers, and the Pittsburgh study 
sponsored by the Courier. 

The growth in ABC circulation has also been contribu- 
tory. For example, in 1930 only two Negro newspapers, the 
Kansas City Call and the Amsterdam Nett/s, held member- 
ship in the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Their combined 
total was 52,000. As of November, 1947, twenty-four news- 
papers hold ABC membership with a combined circulation 
in excess of 1,100,000 and two magazines with a total com- 
bined circulation of 361,000. Obviously, today we have more 



in the way of proved circulation with which to attract adver- 
tisers and to command their attention and respect. 

It is pertinent, however, to point out that there still re- 
main many advertisers and agencies who do not give to the 
Negro market the mature consideration it deserves. 

A study of sixty-one newspapers in 1938 showed that 
only nineteen, on the basis of liberal criteria, had devel- 
oped their local advertising field with any success. Only 
five carried legal advertising, and these were in limited 
amounts. 1 Further study made in 1947 showed that na- 
tionally circulating weeklies more than doubled their ad- 
vertising linage during the past ten years and that they 
were receiving more and more of national advertising 
coverage in their national editions. The Pittsburgh Cour- 
ier led all others in national advertising by a wide mar- 
gin. Local advertising has also more than doubled, and 
in some cases more than trebled, in many papers whose 
circulation is limited to a radius of about fifty miles. 

The advertising in the nationally circulating papers, 
still small in volume, is virtually completely national in 
appeal and consists mainly of advertisements for colas, 
beers, and liquors; for hair and skin lotions; for leading 
automobiles, food products, and patent medicines. Adver- 
tisements of hair and skin lotions, easily the richest ad- 
vertising contracts for the Negro Press, are generally lim- 
ited to a few larger, nationally circulating papers and 

1 Syrjamaki, op. "/., footnote no. 12, p. 51. 
- lip- 


magazines, and do not reach small city papers. Patent 
medicine advertising tends to appear in all types of papers. 

Occasionally, the papers receive some lavish propa- 
ganda advertisements of election campaigns, of big busi- 
ness anxious to present its side of the case on some long- 
standing strike, especially when the public seems to be 
sympathetic towards the strikers, or of an industry ex- 
plaining its stand in a labor strike. 

The general appearance of advertising in the smaller 
papers seems restrained and reasonable. These papers do 
not unduly engage in hawking doubtful nostrums. This 
is generally true of the Negro Press as a whole altho the 
Afro-American, the Chicago Defender, and the Pitts- 
burgh Courier have been, until recently, gross violators 
in this respect. This may have been due to the fact that, 
being the best sources of national advertising, they re- 
ceived this patronage as a matter of course. Furthermore, 
they were dependent upon this support, since they re- 
ceived but scant attention even from big national adver- 

The New Yort( Amsterdam News, the Ohio State 
News, the St. Louis Argus, the Baltimore Afro-American, 
the Washington Afro-American, the Journal aftd Guide, 
the Indianopolis Recorder, the Louisiana Weekly, the 
Atlanta Daily World, and a few others are leaders in se- 
curing extensive local advertising. A considerable amount 
of the total advertising space in these papers is devoted 

- 120 - 


to "legitimate" and local advertising. The People's Voice, 
a newcomer in the field of journalism, also stands up to 
this measure. 

The proportion of space given to advertising varies 
from fifteen to twenty-five per cent for leading papers 
and from seven to fifteen for small papers. Some small 
papers with aggressive management like the Ohio State 
News and the St. Louis Argus have succeeded in selling 
from thirty to fifty per cent of their space for advertising. 
These are, however, only second class newspapers with 
great potentialities. 

- 121 - 

A Brief History of the 
Negro Newspaper 



i HE FIRST NEGRO newspaper 

was published in New York on March 16, 1827, by John 
B. Russwurm and Samuel E. Cornish under the name of 
Freedom's Journal. This name was later changed to 
Rights of AIL It was the forerunner to Garrison's Liber- 
ator and was militant in its fight against slavery. In 1830, 
Russwurm was captured by the Colonization Society and 
sent to Africa, and this resulted in the suspension of the 

In January 1837, Phillip A. Bell of New York started 
the Weekly Advocate, selecting Samuel E. Cornish as 
its editor. Two months later, the name of the paper was 
changed to the Colored American, and, like its prede- 
cessor, it took up the fight against slavery. This paper 
was finally discontinued in 1842. 

Some of the other publications of the period were: the 
Elevator (1842), published in Albany by Stephen Myers; 

- 122 - 


the National Watchman (1842), published in Troy, New 
York, by William G. Allen and Henry Highland Gar- 
nett; the Clarion (1842), successor to the National Watch- 
many in Troy, New York, by Henry Highland Garnett; 
the People's Press (1843) in Troy by Thomas Hamilton, 
and John Dias; the Mystery (1843) in Pittsburgh by 
Major Martin R. Delaney; the Genius of Freedom 
(1846?) in New York by David Ruggles; the Ram's Horn 
(1847) * n New York by Willis A. Hodges and Thomas 
Van Rensselaer; the North Star (1847) in Rochester by 
Frederick Douglass; the Imperial Citizen (1848) in Syra- 
cuse by Samuel R. Ward; the Colored Man's Journal 
(1851) in New York by Louis H. Putman; the Alienated 
American (1852) in Cleveland, Ohio, by Professor W. H. 
H. Day; the Mirror of the Times (1855) in San Francisco 
by Hon. Mifflin W. Gibbs as one of its editors, the paper 
later merging into the Pacific Appeal in 1862; the Herald 
of Freedom (1855) in Ohio by Peter H. Clark; and a 
few others. 

All of these early papers were militant in their general 
policies and were motivated by a burning desire to secure 
justice for Negroes, slave or free. The founders of the 
papers were men of strong character who were primarily 
interested in educating their readers and in spreading 
information about the conditions under which the Amer- 
ican Negroes were living. Since the founders did not 

- 123 - 


measure the success of their papers by the profits they 
made from their sales but rather by the service they ren- 
dered to the community, these newspapers, with the ex- 
ception of the North Star (renamed Frederic]^ Douglass' 
Paper in 1850 and finally discontinued in 1864), had short 
lives running from two months to five years. 

The National Reformer (1833) published by William 
Whipper; the Mirror of Liberty (1837) by David Ruggles, 
and the Anglo-African Magazine by Thomas Hamilton 
were the only magazines published during this period. 
All of these were short-lived. To this group may be added 
the Christian Recorder, a religious weekly that was first 
started as a quarterly in 1841, then changed to a weekly 
in 1848 as the Christian Herald, and finally took its 
present name as the Christian Recorder in 1856. This is 
the only publication that has managed to survive thru the 
Civil War and the two World Wars. 


"From the year 1866 on," observes I. Garland Penn in 
his splendid book, The Afro-American Press, "Afro- 
American newspapers were being founded in almost 
every state, some of which died an early death, while" 
others survived many years. Some dropped their original 

- 124- 


name, and, under another, exist today.*' 1 According to 
Penn, there were thirty newspapers by 1880. Seventeen 
of these were published in the South where ninety per 
cent or close to six million Negroes out of the total Negro 
population of six and one half million were residing. The 
remaining thirteen papers were published in the North 
where only half a million Negroes were residing. What 
actually happened was that many of the Northern papers 
also served the people of the South, a situation which is 
true even to this day and which was discussed fully in 
the previous chapter. 

America's interest in the Allies and her final entry 
into the European conflict gave further impetus to the 
influence and growth of Negro newspapers. At least 
twenty-four newspapers were started between 1900 and 
the close of the First World War (1919), and half of 
these were started during the duration of the war. At the 
end of the First World War, there were 220 newspapers 
and 230 religious, fraternal, college, and other miscel- 
laneous periodicals, making a total of 450 periodicals. 2 
The circulation of most of the now well-entrenched news- 
papers like the Philadelphia Tribune (started in 1884), 
the New Yor% Age (1885), the Afro-American (1892), 
the Norfofy Journal and Guide (1900), the Chicago De- 

1 L Garland Penn, The Afro-American Press, Springfield, 
Massachusetts: Willey & Co., 1891, p. 107. 
*Ncgro Year Boo%, 1918-1919, p. 461. 



fender (1905), the Amsterdam News (1909), and the 
Pittsburgh Courier (1910) was increasing rapidly during 
this period. 


From the close of the First World War to the year of 
the stock market crash of 1929, at least twenty-one ad- 
ditional Negro newspapers were started. The long, never- 
ending depression of the thirties witnessed the following 
changes in the Negro Press: the suspension of close to 
eighty newspapers, eliminating the financially weak ones 
and strengthening further those which were in capable 
hands; the birth of thirty-two new newspapers; the doub- 
ling, and, in some cases, trebling of circulation of many 
papers; the rapid increase in advertising linage; the in- 
stallation of new and expensive printing equipment; and 
the dispatching of foreign correspondents to Europe by 
two papers. This period between 1919 to 1929 also wit- 
nessed the development of newspaper "combines" or af- 
filiates and the introduction of different editions for dif- 
ferent states or regions. The Pittsburgh Courier was lead- 
ing others in circulation, closely followed by the Afro- 
Americm, the Atlanta World and its affiliates, the Hous- 
ton Informer and its affiliates; and the Chicago Defender 
and its affiliates. The Atlanta World, founded by W. A. 
Scott II on August 5, 1928, became a semi-weekly in the 
Spring of 1930, then a tri-weekly on April 20, 1931, and 



finally a daily on March 13, 1932, when its name was 
changed to Atlanta Daily World. In the meantime, sev- 
eral newspapers were started or joined as affiliates when 
the Scott Newspaper Syndicate was established. In 1941, 
this syndicate had twenty-nine affiliates. A special Sunday 
edition was added to the regular daily edition, but was 
later discontinued. By 1948, the number of affiliates was 
reduced to thirteen. 

In the fall of 1934, the Harlem Heights Daily Citizen 
was started in New York as a daily, but within three 
months it was suspended. It soon became evident that it 
was well nigh impossible to start an independent Negro 
daily and make a business success of it all by itself. The 
Daily Bulletin, Ohio's colored daily newspaper, was foun- 
ded in Dayton in 1942. It was more of an advertising, four 
tabloid-page bulletin than a newspaper, even if one were 
to judge it by the simple standards of the Atlanta Daily 
World referred to above. It ceased publication in 1945, 
but the Ohio Daily Express, started in 1944 and patterned 
after the Bulletin is still in existence. It is also a four-page 
tabloid bulletin of hardly any news value, serving only 
as an advertising instrument for its owners. Neither the 
Daily Bulletin nor the Ohio Daily Express deserves the 
classification of a newspaper. The Atlanta Dotty World 
has been able to survive for a long time as a daily mainly 
because it has many affiliates which absorb its losses. Fur- 
thermore, Atlanta city has the most progressive business 



community in the South as well as the largest number 
of colleges; this results in getting a more sustained sup- 
port to the city's Negro daily. 

Commenting upon the growth of the Negro Press, 
Joseph B. La Cour observes: 

This vitality of the Negro press as demonstrated under 
obviously difficult conditions is the essence of its strength as 
a business institution. In this strength resides its economic and 
cultural value to the Negro group. It's axiomatic that a finan- 
cially strong press can best serve the true interests of its pub- 
lic. This applies not only to its ability to secure and present 
news and features but to its ability to utter forthright and 
honest editorial opinions. 3 

In 1945, there were no newspapers, 45 religious, fra- 
ternal, college and other miscellaneous newspapers, and 
100 magazines and bulletins, making a total of 255 Negro 
periodicals. 4 As of January, 1948, there were a total of 
169 #/,?papers, 56 college campus publications of all 
types, and over 100 religious, fraternal, general, and other 
papers, bulletins, and magazines, making a grand total 
of 325 periodicals. 5 

3 Joseph B. La Cour, "The Negro Press as a Business," Crisis, 
April, 1941, p. 108. 

4 Negro Newspapers and Periodicals in the United States, 

*Supra, chapter 5, p. 68. 




This brief history of Negro newspapers will not be 
complete without some mention of the existing status of 
Negro magazines. They, too, are helping in the develop- 
ment of Negro education and culture, and have given 
jobs to several hundred persons. Some of them have a- 
chieved professional standards that can be compared fa- 
vorably with the best magazines. There were 100 Negro 
magazines and periodical bulletins published in the Uni- 
ted States in 1945. Some of these publications are of doubt- 
ful cultural value, some are purely religious and fraternal 
publications, while a few others are as good and scholarly 
as any publications of their kind. Less than half a dozen 
of these, however, have proven commercially successful. 

The Phylon (1940), started by Dr. W. E. B* Du Bois 
and edited by him until the summer of 1944 and since 
then edited by Dr. Ira De A. Reid; the Journal of Negro 
Education (1932), started and edited by Charles H. 
Thompson under the auspices of Howard University; 
the Journal of Negro History (1916), started and edited 
by Dr. Carter G. Woodson; and Opportunity, the Journd 
of Negro Life (1923), started and published under the 
auspices of the National Urban League deserve first men- 
tion because of their high scholastic standards. All of 
these are issued four times a year; their main appeal is 



community in the South as well as the largest number 
of colleges; this results in getting a more sustained sup- 
port to the city's Negro daily. 

Commenting upon the growth of the Negro Press, 
Joseph B. La Cour observes: 

This vitality of the Negro press as demonstrated under 
obviously difficult conditions is the essence of its strength as 
a business institution. In this strength resides its economic and 
cultural value to the Negro group. It's axiomatic that a finan- 
cially strong press can best serve the true interests of its pub- 
lic. This applies not only to its ability to secure and present 
news and features but to its ability to utter forthright and 
honest editorial opinions. 3 

In 1945, there were no newspapers, 45 religious, fra- 
ternal, college and other miscellaneous newspapers, and 
100 magazines and bulletins, making a total of 255 Negro 
periodicals. 4 As of January, 1948, there were a total of 
169 newspapers, 56 college campus publications of all 
types, and over 100 religious, fraternal, general, and other 
papers, bulletins, and magazines, making a grand total 
of 325 periodicals. 5 

3 Joseph B. La Cour, "The Negro Press as a Business," Crisis, 
April, 1941, p. 108. 

4 Negro Newspapers and Periodicals in the United States, 
5> of- <** 
^Supra, chapter 5, p. 68. 




This brief history of Negro newspapers will not be 
complete without some mention of the existing status of 
Negro magazines. They, too, are helping in the develop- 
ment of Negro education and culture, and have given 
jobs to several hundred persons. Some of them have a- 
chieved professional standards that can be compared fa- 
vorably with the best magazines. There were 100 Negro 
magazines and periodical bulletins published in the Uni- 
ted States in 1945. Some of these publications are of doubt- 
ful cultural value, some are purely religious and fraternal 
publications, while a few others are as good and scholarly 
as any publications of their kind. Less than half a dozen 
of these, however, have proven commercially successful. 

The Phylon (1940), started by Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois 
and edited by him until the summer of 1944 and since 
then edited by Dr. Ira De A. Reid; the Journal of Negro 
Education (1932), started and edited by Charles H. 
Thompson under the auspices of Howard University; 
the Journal erf Negro History (1916), started and edited 
by Dr. Carter G. Woodson; and Opportunity, the Journal 
of Negro Life (1923), started and published under the 
auspices of the National Urban League deserve first men- 
tion because of their high scholastic standards. All of 
these are issued four times a year; their main appeal is 

- 129- 


limited to scholars and educators which naturally results 
in small circulation. 

The Crisis (1910), founded by Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois 
and edited by him for several years and now edited by 
Roy K. Wilkins, and published under the auspices of the 
National Association for the Advancement of Colored 
People^ is a monthly publication of popular interest with 
an estimated circulation of close to 40,000 an issue in 1947. 
Other non-religious and non-fraternal periodicals of 
promising scholarship which deserve mention here, for 
reasons given below, are: the Negro History Bulletin 
(1934)5 edited by the Association for the Study of Negro 
Life and History, for its contribution in the stimulation 
of interest of students and teachers in the Negro's contri- 
bution to civilization; the Negro College Quarterly 
started as the Wilberforce University Quarterly in 1939, 
changed to its present functional name in 1942, and edited 
by Dr. Vishnu V. Oak since its founding, for its short 
and varied articles of educational interest; 6 and the Quar- 
terly Journal of Higher Education among Negroes (1933), 
started and edited by Dean T. E. McKinney under the 
auspices of Johnson C. Smith University, for its reports 
of proceedings of important educational conferences and 
other chronicles of higher education among Negroes. 

The Negro Digest (1942), a publication modeled af- 
ter the Reader's Digest and edited by John H. Johnson 

temporarily suspended since June, 1947. 

- 130- 


and others of Chicago, has shown great promise, and its 
well-edited articles, its rapidly growing circulation, and 
its pleasing format have helped it to become a very popu- 
lar Negro magazine. Encouraged by its success, the edi- 
tors of the Negro Digest started in October, 1945, the pub- 
lication of Ebony, modeled after Life, and are publishing 
a highly creditable magazine of excellent quality which 
has jumped in circulation so rapidly that, as of January, 
1948, it stood at the top among Negro periodicals of all 
types. In June, 1947, ^ ts Audit Bureau of Circulations fig- 
ure was close to 325,000. 

Headlines (1944), spicily-written, monthly publication 
fashioned after Time magazine and edited by Louis Mar- 
tin in Detroit, undoubtedly showed exceptional promise 
even tho it got a late start in the period of war prosperity 
and lived only two years. 

Other new magazine ventures which indicate the 
growing literary interest of the Negro and which deserve 
mention because of their nation-wide appeal are: Our 
World (New York), Color (West Virginia), The Negro 
South (New Orleans), The Negro (St. Louis), and 
Bronze Confessions (Miami). 

Pep, a worthy but poorly executed attempt to model 
after the Editor and Publisher magazine, showed con- 
siderable improvement after it was taken over by the 
School of Journalism at Lincoln University of Missouri 
in 1945, but soon after that it met sudden death. The need 


for such a journal is great, but it cannot prove successful 
as a business venture at the present stage of the Negro's 
business progress. For that reason, it has to be published 
as a service agency to Negro newspapers and periodicals. 
The Negro Newspaper Publishers Association or some 
other similar agency should undertake the responsibility 
of its resumption and thereby render a badly-needed ser- 
vice to the betterment of the Negro Press as a whole. 



Suggestions for Improvement 


"NE is FORCED to admit that, 
despite the many faults of commission and omission, 
some of which are quite common also to the White Press, 
the Negro Press is rendering an invaluable service in 
crystalizing Negro thought and action. In serving as a 
necessary outlet to the Negro's otherwise thwarted ambi- 
tions and repressed anger against the injustices of his 
white compatriots, it is also preventing the birth of more 
"Bigger Thomases." Hounded at every turn, unable to 
enjoy even the ordinary decencies of what we call the 
"American way of living," debarred from recreational 
activities and eating facilities open to white Americans, 
the Negro finds that his press is the only outlet for him 
and the only place where he sees himself depicted very 
much as he is and for what he is worth without the 
normal prejudices which meet him at every turn in his 
dealings with the dominant race. 

Measured by the amount of investment returns, no 
other Negro business enterprise has paid the investor so 

- 133- 


handsomely as the newspaper. This is especially true in 
the case of big profit-making newspapers like the Courier, 
the AfrOy and others whose owners and top executives 
"have incomes ranging from $10,000 to $30,000 and up- 
wards a year." 1 In addition to these attractive profits, the 
newspaper entrepreneurs may well be proud of the fact 
that they have been, slowly but surely, arousing the social 
conscience of their own racial group as well as those mem- 
bers of the white group who read Negro papers to the 
injustices meted to the Negro. Here is one case where 
"enlightened self-interest" has proven to be a blessing all 

This enlightened self-interest and the desire to stream- 
line business techniques so as to conform to the latest 
conceptions of public service ought to induce Negro news- 
paper publishers to introduce the following reforms im- 
mediatelyreforms which will pay them in the long run 
thru increased sales and greater popularity: 

(1) All news should be properly classified and then 
should be printed on a definite page or pages, thus mak- 
ing it easy for the reader to find quickly the type of news 
in which he is especially interested. 

(2) If large white dailies (and dailies are certainly 
hard pressed for time) can manage to find time to prepare 
a daily index of major items of news covered by their 

1 Conrad, op. dt., p. 78. 


papers, there is absolutely no excuse whatever for Negro 
weeklies and semi-weeklies not doing likewise. 

(3) Local issues should be more frequently espoused 
and more persistently followed and kept alive until these 
issues are satisfactorily solved. 

(4) Incomplete news stories should be followed in 
subsequent issues with later developments and closing 
stories. Otherwise, readers are prone to believe that the 
newspaper concerned is either incompetent or that it has 
been "paid off." 

(5) Sensationalism should be toned down consider- 
ably, especially by certain newspapers who seem to ex- 
ploit shamelessly people's miseries and misfortunes. Free- 
dom of the press should not be turned into license of the 

(6) All correspondence should be promptly handled. 
The author's own experience, corroborated by many of 
his friends, has been very sad, indeed, in this respect In 
these days of enlightened public opinion, when the need 
for good public relations is so important, newspapers 
should show more respect to the public instead of assum- 
ing a contemptuously silent or "the-public-be-damned'* 

(7) Sell-outs during the Presidential election years 
should be regarded as the worst sort of Quislingism. After 
all, a Negro newspaper is a crusading organ even tho it 



cannot ignore the business angle altogether. While strug- 
gling small town weeklies and bi-weeklies may have some 
excuse for their sell-outs, there is absolutely no excuse for 
successful large city newspapers doing likewise. Unfortu- 
nately, the large papers are often the worst offenders and 
do more harm to Negro morale. "Of what avail is it to 
White fighters for Negro advancement and honest Negro 
leadership," asks Conrad in despair, "if their work is to 
be canceled out in critical election moments?" Continu- 
ing, he gives this solemn warning, "This situation has 
implications of dynamite for the elections of 1948. In the 
current disillusion with Truman, 2 prevalent in Negro 
ranks, those papers which, in 1944, sold themselves to the 
Republicans (while praying for a Roosevelt victory) now 
have a better excuse, a rationalization, for the possible 
'deals' with them in I948." 3 

(8) News should be written without bias or without 
personal opinion injected into it. While considerable pro- 
gress has been made in this respect, a large number of 
Negro newspapers still find it difficult to be objective and 

2 Author's note: While this statement was true in 1946, the 
courageous stand taken by Truman since 1947 on many contro- 
versial issues is gradually swinging the vote of the Negro intel- 
ligentsia back to him and to those of his colleagues who have 
shown equally strong courage of their convictions and have come 
out openly for a real democracy at home. 

8 Conrad, op. cit., p. 79. 


honest in reporting news, and often omit news affecting 
someone in whom they have personal interest News 
should be treated as news, even if it happens to be adverse 
to highly glamorized individuals. No one is so sacred 
that he need be given the privilege of trampling over 
anyone's constitutional rights. 

(9) Old news should not be published just because it 
was once sensational. When the Kiwanis Club in Ahoskie, 
N. C, refused to give Harvey Jones the Cadillac he had 
won on a lottery ticket because of his being a Negro, it 
was a big news story to the Negro Press. Within forty- 
eight hours after the news became public, the Kiwanis 
Club reversed its decision. Yet many Negro newspapers 
played the first part of the story several days later, ig- 
noring the sequel entirely or playing it down. Such ethics 
in journalism will, in the long run, hurt everyone. 

(10) When articles are "lifted" from white journals 
proper references should be made to their sources. This 
practice should be followed, especially in cases of copy- 
righted articles. 

(n) Contributors should be encouraged by cash and 
prompt payments whenever good stories are sent in, es- 
pecially by the better class newspapers who certainly can 
afford to pay. 


Appendix I Bibliography 

A large portion of this list is prepared with the help of 
the Lincoln University School of Journalism, Jefferson City, 
Missouri. In general, all books and theses will prove scholarly 
and valuable reading. Those marked with an asterisk (*) 
are, in the opinion of the author, of great value. They include 
some unscholarly and biased opinions, but the author regards 
them important because of their popularity and their tremen- 
dous influence on the reading public. Students of the Negro 
Press should be thoroly familiar with their contents and 
their popular influence. References to articles appearing in 
newspapers are of litde value because of the practical impos- 
sibility of getting to them. A few such articles of exceptional 
quality are, however, included in this list since the Lincoln 
University School of Journalism had done the hard job of 
getting them together. 

"Absurd Headline," Letter to Time, April 13, 1942. 

Albey, Mary Louise. A Study of What Fis\ Students Read. Un- 
published master's thesis, Fisk University, 1939. 

Allen, Samuel W. "A Youth Looks at His Press," Opportunity, 
May, 1935. 

"American Family, An: The Murphys of Baltimore," Headlines 

and Pictures, May, 1946. 

*"Aspects of the Negro Press," Journal of Negro Education, Sum- 
mer, 1945. 

Ayers Newspaper Directory (Section on Negro publications). 
Philadelphia: A. W. Ayer and Son, 1948 and previous issues. 

- I3 8- 


*Barnett, Claude A. "Role of the Press, Radio, and Motion Picture 
and Negro Morale," Journal of Negro Education, July, 1943. 
Berlack-Boozer, Thelma. "Amsterdam News: Harlem's Largest 
Weekly," Crisis, April, 1938. 

Berley, Charles Clifford. The Analysis and Classification of Negro 
Items in Four Pittsburgh Newspapers, 1917-1937. Unpub- 
lished master's thesis, University of Wisconsin, 1945. 

*Bloodworth, Jessie and Hart, Hornell. The Negro Press. Unpub- 
lished master's thesis, Bryn Mawr College. 

*Bradley, S. Grace. A Study of the Associated Negro Press. Un- 
published master's thesis, University of Wisconsin, 1945. 
Briscoe, Sherman. "If Frederick Douglas lived Today: Meeting 

Present-Day Problems," Pulse> February, 1946. 
Brooks, Maxwell R. A Sociological Interpretation of the Negro 
Newspaper. Unpublished master's thesis, Ohio State Univer- 
sity, 1937. 

*Brown, Warren H. The Negro Press in the United States and 
Social Change: 1860-1880. Unpublished doctor's thesis, New 
York School of Social Research, 1941. 

* . "Negro Looks at the Press," Saturday Review of Litera- 
ture, December 19, 1942. 

Bryant, Ira B. A Comparative Study of News Items about Ne- 
groes in White Urban and Rural Newspapers of Texas. Un- 
published master's thesis, University of Kansas, 1934. 

Calvin, Floyd. "The Digest" (Column), Washington Tribune, 
February i, 1938, and April 16, 1939. 

. "The Negro Press in the United States," Interracial Re- 
view, August, 1939, 

"Chicago Defender American Newspaper Guild Contract for 
Editorial Workers," Editor and Publisher, August 5, 1944. 

- 139- 


Chambliss, Rollin. What Negro Newspapers Are Saying about 
Some Social Problems, 1933. Unpublished master's thesis, 
University of Georgia, 1934. 

^Chicago Commission on Race Relations. The Negro in Chicago 
(Chapter 9). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1922. 

Christian, Howard Nathaniel. Samuel Cornish, 1795-1858: Pio- 
neer Negro Journalist. Unpublished master's thesis, Howard 
University, 1936. 

Clayton, Charles M. The Editorial Policy of the Atlanta Consti- 
tution in Relation to the Negro Question, 10,14-18. Master's 
thesis, Atlanta University, 1936. 

Coggins, F. "Flash!! The Negro Goes to Press," Negro, Septem- 
ber, 1946. 

Conrad, Earl. "Exploring the News Field,'* Opportunity, April- 
June, 1946. 

* . Jim Crow America (Chapter 7). New York: Duell, 

Sloan and Pearce, 1947. 

*Dabney, Virginius. "Press and Morale: Negro Press," Saturday 
Review of Literature, July 4, 1942. 

* . "Newspapers and the Negro," Quill, November-Decem- 
ber, 1943. 

Davis, Marguerite Rose. A Survey and Analysis, of Opportunities 
for Negro Women in Journalism. Unpublished master's thesis, 
Kansas State College, 1942. 

*Davis, Ralph Nelson. The Negro Newspaper in Chicago. Unpub- 
lished master's thesis, University of Chicago, 1939. 

*Detweiler, Frederick G. The Negro Press in the United States. 
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1922. 

* . "The Negro Press Today," American Journal of Sociol- 
ogy* November, 1938. 

- 140 - 


Digest of Proceedings of the Negro Press Conference A. Spon- 
sored by the Council for Democracy, New York, May 7-8, 

''Drake, St. Clair and Cay ton, Horace. BlacJ^ Metropolis (Chap- 
ter 15). New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1945. 

Du Bois, W. E. B. "The Dilemma of the Negro," American 
Mercury, Third Quarter, 1924. 

Durham, Alice Marie. What Is Negro News? A study of three 
Negro newspapers. Unpublished master's thesis, Atlanta Uni- 
versity, 1938. 

Durham Fact-Finding Conference Report, 1929. Contributions 
of the Press in the Adjustments of Race Relations. Durham, 
North Carolina, 1929. 

Editorial. "Westbrook Pegler," Chicago Defender, May 23, 1942. 

Editorial. "The Future of the Negro," Advertising Age, July 22, 

Editorials. "Muzzling the Negro Press" and "For Better Writ- 
ing," New Yor^ Age, May 9, 1942. 

Elliot, Melissa Mae. News in the Negro Press. Unpublished mas- 
ter's thesis, University of Chicago, 1931. 

Evans, William L. Newspapers and Public Opinion Regarding 
Negroes. Unpublished master's thesis, University of Buffalo, 

*Field, Marshall. The Negro Press and the Issues of Democracy. 
Address delivered before the first annual dinner of the Capi- 
tal Press Club, Washington, D.C, June 21, 1944, and pub- 
lished by the American Council on Race Relations, Chicago, 

- 141- 


'Fleming, George James. A Survey of Negro Newspapers in the 

United States. Master's thesis, University of Wisconsin, 1931. 

* . "108 Years of the Negro Press," Opportunity, March, 


* . "Emancipation of the Negro Press," Crisis, July, 1938. 

''"Fortune Press Analysis: Negro Press," Fortune, May, 1945. 

*Garlington, S. W. "The Negro Press," New Masses, March 9, 


Gibson, W. D. A Comparative Study of the Immigrant and 
Negro Press in Their Relations to Social Attitudes. Unpub- 
lished master's thesis, Ohio State University, 1927. 
*Gist, Noel P. Negroes in the Daily Press. Master's thesis, Uni- 
versity of Kansas, 1929. 

. "Negro in the Daily Press," Social Forces, March, 1930. 

Gordon, Eugene. "Outstanding Negro Newspapers," Opportu- 
nity, December, 1924, and February, 1925. 

. "A Survey of the Negro Press," Opportunity, January, 


* . "The Negro Press," American Mercury, June, 1926. 

-. "The Negro Press," Annals of the American Academy 

of Political and Social Science, November, 1928. 

Gore, George W. Negro Journalism: Essay on the history and 
present conditions of the Negro press. Thesis, Greencastle, 
Indiana: Journalism Press, 1922. 

Green, Loraine R. The Rise of Race-Consciousness in the Ameri- 
can Negro. Unpublished master's thesis, University of Chi- 
cago, 1919. 

Gregory, Winifred. American Newspapers, 1821-1936. New 
York: H. W. Wilson Co., 1937. 

- 142- 


Gross, Bella. "Freedom's Journal/' Journal of Negro History, 
July, 1932. 

Halliburton, Cecil D, "Hollywood Presents Us The Movies 
and Racial Attitudes," Opportunity, October, 1935. 

Hauser, P. J. The Treatment by Columbus Newspapers on News 
Regarding the Negro. Master's thesis, Ohio State University, 

. "Attitudes of the Press," Opportunity, July, 1925. 

Herskaw, L. M. "Negro Press in America," Charities, October 

7, 1905. 
*High, Stanley. "How the Negro Fights for Freedom," Readers 

Digest, July, 1942. 

*Hollins, W. H. The American Negro Press: Content analysis of 
five newspapers. Thesis, University of Minnesota, 1945. 

Hulbert, James A. A Survey of the Services of the Atlanta Uni- 
versity Library. Unpublished master's thesis, Columbia Uni- 
versity, 1938. 

Hughes, Langston. "Harlem Literati in the Twenties," Saturday 
Review of Literature, June 22, 1939. 

"International Year Book Number" (Section on newspapers of 
the United States), Editor and Publisher, 1948 and previous 
anrmal numbers. 

Irving, Rhoda G. Advertising in Negro Newspapers. Unpub- 
lished master's thesis, Ohio State University, 1935. 

*Johnson, E. E. 'The Washington News Beat," Phylon, Second 
Quarter, 1946. 


Johnson, G. B. "Newspaper Advertisements and Negro Culture," 
Social Forces, May, 1925. 

Jones, Dewey R. Effect of the Negro Press on Race Relation- 
ships in the South, Unpublished master's thesis, Columbia 
University School of Journalism, 1932. 

*Jones, L. M. "Editorial Policy of Negro Newspapers of 1917-18 
as compared with That of 1941-42," Journal of Negro His- 
tory, January, 1944. 

Jones, Lucius. "Sports Slants" (Column), Atlanta Daily World, 
July 17, 1940. 

Kerlin, Robert T. The Voice of the Negro (Chapter i). New 
York: E. P. Dutton Co., 1914. 

*Kingsbury, Susan M.; Hart, Hornell; and Associates. News- 
papers and the News: An objective measurement of ethical 
and unethical behavior by representative newspapers. New 
York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1937. 

*La Cour, Joseph B. "The Negro Press as a Business," Crisis, 
April, 1941. 

*Lawson, Marjorie MacKenzie. "The Adult Education Aspect of 
the Negro Press," Journal of Negro Education, Summer, 1945. 

. "Press and Leadership Need Mutual Respect for Con- 
structive Results" (Column), Pittsburgh Courier, December 
8, 1945. 

Lawson, Milton. The Influence of the Migration upon Negro 
Newspapers. Unpublished master's thesis, Fisk University, 

Lehman, H. C. and Atty, P. A, "Some Compensatory Mechan- 
isms of the Negro," Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Janu- 
ary, 1928. 

- 144- 


MacLachlan, John M. Compensatory Characteristics of the Ne- 
gro Press. Unpublished master's thesis, University of North 
Carolina, 1932. 

Mathews, Ruth and Fueglein, Jacob. The Negro Press in Amer- 
ica. Unpublished bachelor's diesis, Marquette University, 1933. 
*McAlpin, Harry. "The Negro Press in Politics," New Republic, 
October 16, 1944. 

Meacham, W. S. "Newspapers and Race Relations," Social 

Forces , December, 1936. 

*"Meetings of the Negro Newspaper Publishers Association," 
Pep, 1941-1945 issues. 

Morris, John T. "The History and Development of Negro Jour- 
nalism," The AME. Church Review, January, 1890. 

Moton, Rashey Burriel, Jr. The Negro Press in Kansas. Unpub- 
lished master's thesis, University of Kansas, 1938. 
*Murdock, Horace D. Some Business Aspects of Leading Negro 
Newspapers. Unpublished master's thesis, University of Kan- 
sas, 1936. 

Murphy, Carl; Jones, William N.; and Gibson, William I. "The 

Afro: Seaboard's Largest Weekly," Crisis, February, 1938. 
*Myrdal, Gunnar, An American Dilemma: The Negro problem 
and modern democracy (Chapter 42). Harper & Brothers,i944. 

National Negro Printer and Publisher, 1940-41. 
*"Nearer and Nearer the Precipice," Atlantic, July, 1943. 

"Negro Correspondent," Time, November 13, 1939. 

Negro Handbool^ (by Florence Murray). (Sections dealing with 
Negro newspapers and periodicals, 1942, 1944, 1946-47.) 

"Negro Morale," New Republic, November 10, 1941. 

Negro Newspapers and Periodicals in the United States (Pam- 
phlet), U. S. Bureau of the Census, 1941-45. 

- 145 ' 


"Negro Paper Has Writer in Africa," Editor and Publisher, 
December 26, 1943. 

"Negro Press," American Mercury, June, 1926. 

"Negro Press," Annals of the American Academy of Political 
Science, November, 1926. 

"Negro Press Holds Meeting in New York," Editor and Pub- 
lisher, June 24, 1944. 

"Negro Press," New Republic, April 26, 1943. 
*"Ncgro Press Sees Steady Expansion of Book News," Publish- 
ers Weekly, November 16, 1946. 

"Negro Publishers," Time, June 15, 1942. 
*Negro Year Boo^ (Section dealing with the Negro press). Tus- 
kegee Institute: All issues. 

News Story. "Field Asks Attacks on Enemies of Democracy," 
Editor and Publisher, June 13, 1942. 

. "Negro Publishers Adopt Resolution," Pittsburgh Cour- 
ier, June 13, 1942. 

"PV Gets $25,000 But Ain't Seen It Yet," People's 

Voice, June 20, 1942. 

. "September 7 Suggested as National Newspaper Day," 

Afro-American, August 22, 1942. 

"Walter White Fears Move by Washington to Hush 

Negro Press," California Eagle, May 28, 1942. 
. "Washington Alarm over Negro Press Unnecessary," 

New Yor\ Amsterdam-Star News, July 4, 1942. 
"NNPA Meeting, 1942," Time, June 15, 1942. 

*Oak, V. V. "What About the Negro Press?" Saturday Review 

of Literature, March 6, 1943. 

. "The Negro Press in Our Times," Indianapolis Recor- 
der (Victory Progress edition), July 7, 1945. 

- 146 - 


"One Man Newspaper," Ebony, March, 1946. 
*Otley, Roi. New World A-Coming (Chapter 19). Boston: 

Houghton Mifflin Co., 1943. 
* . "The Negro Press Today," Common Ground, Spring, 


*Pegler, Westbrook. "Fair Enough" (Column), New Yor% 
World'Tclegram y April 28, May 13, June 16, 17, July 16, 

*Penn, I. Garland. The Afro-American Press and Its Editors. 

Springfield, Massachusetts: Willey & Co., 1891. 
Perkins, H. C. "Defense of Slavery in the Northern Press on the 
Eve of the Civil War," Journal of Southern History, Novem- 
ber, 1943. 

*Pickney, Elizabeth A. The Editorial Page of the Pittsburgh 
Courier: 1923-35. Unpublished master's thesis, Fisk Univer- 
sity, 1936. 

Pierce, J. E. The NAACP, a Study in Social Pressure. Unpub- 
lished master's thesis, Ohio State University, 1925. 
Porter, William T. Radical Comments and Influence on the 
Negro Problem in Alabama. Unpublished master's thesis, 
George Peabody College for Teachers, 1936. 

*Prattis, P. L. 'The Role of the Negro Press in Race Relations," 
Phylon, Third quarter, 1946. 

*Prince, Virginia A. A Sociological Analysis of the Negro Press 
in Los Angeles. Unpublished master's thesis, University of 
Southern California, 1945. 
Proceedings of the National Negro Press Association (1917- 

1919). Nashville, Tennessee. 

Proctor, Neal C. Lynch Law and the Press in Missouri. Unpub- 
lished master's thesis, University of Missouri, 1934. 



^eddick, Lawrence D. The Negro in the New Orleans Press, 
1850-1860: A study of attitudes and propaganda. Doctor's 
thesis, University of Chicago, 1939. 

Redding, J. S. "A Negro Speaks for His People," Atlantic, 
March, 1943. 

Reedy, Sidney J. "The Negro Magazine: A critical study of its 
educational significance," Journal of Negro Education, Oc- 
tober, 1934. 

Roark, Eldon. "How Dixie Newspapers Handle the Negro," 
Negro Digest, June, 1946. 

Roberts, N. S. The Negro Press as a Factor in Education. Mas- 
ter's thesis, University of Cincinnati, 1925. 

Robinson, Carrie C. A Study of the Literary Subject Matter of 
the Crisis. Unpublished master's thesis, Fisk University, 1939. 

Sancton, Thomas. "Something Happened to the Negro," New 
Republic, February 8, 1943. 

. "The Negro Press," New Republic, April 26, 1943. 

Schuyler, George S. "News and Reviews" (Column), Pittsburgh 
Courier, September 28, 1940. 

Scruggs, Sherman D. Reading Interests of Negro Children. Mas- 
ter's thesis, University of Kansas, 1925. 

Sengstacke, John H. "The Way o' Things" (Column), Chicago 
Defender, February 15, 1941. 

Simpson, George E. The Negro in the Philadelphia Press. Phila- 
delphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1936. 

Standrig, T. D. Negro Nationalism. Unpublished doctor's thesis, 
State University of Iowa, 1932. 

Stewart, Milton D. "Importance in Content Analysis: A validity 
problem," Journalism Quarterly, December, 1943. 

- 148 - 


*Syrjamaki, John. "The Negro Press in 1939," Sociology and 
Social Research^ September-October, 1939. 

Tannenbaum, F. "American Dilemma," Political Science Quar- 
terly, September, 1944. 

"The Youngs of Norfolk," Headlines and Pictures, January, 

This Is Our Way: Selected stones of six war correspondents who 
were sent overseas by the Afro-American Newspapers, 1944. 
Baltimore: Afro-American Co., 1945. 

Thurston, Thelma. "The Call: Leader in the Southwest," Crisis, 
June, 1938. 

"Trouble in Dixie," New Republic, March 8, 1943. 

"Trouble in Harlem," Time, June 15, 1940. 

Turner, Lorenzo Don. Anti-Slavery Sentiment in American 
Literature Prior to 1865. Thesis published by the Associa- 
tion for the Study of Negro Life and History, Washington, 
D.C., 1929. 

"Twenty-fifth Anniversary," Opportunity, October, 1947. 

U.S. Government Printing Office. Investigation Activities of the 
Department of Justice. 66th . Congress, First Session, Senate 
Document 153, Washington, D.C., 1919. 

Wallin, George Georgean. A Study of the Content of Ten Negro 
Newspapers. Unpublished master's thesis, University of 
Iowa, 1935. 

Wardlaw, Ralph. Negro Suffrage in Georgia, 1867-1930. Phelps- 
Stokes Study, University of Georgia, 1932. 

Warlick, Selma. Negro News in the Southern Press. Unpub- 
lished master's thesis, Columbia University, 1931. 


Werner, Ludlow W. "The New York Age: Lusty veteran/' 

Crisis, March, 1938. 

Wilkerson, Doxy A. The Negro in the News of Northern and 
Southern Daily Papers. Unpublished study for course in 
"Communication and Public Opinion," University of Michi- 

*Winslow, H. F. "Mr. Dabney and the Negro Press/' Saturday 
Review of Literature, July 18, 1942. 

Young, Consuelo C. A Reader Interest Study in the Chicago 
Defender. Unpublished master's thesis, Northwestern Uni- 
versity, 1943. 

. "Reader Attitude Toward the Negro Press," Journalism 

Quarterly, June, 1944. 

*Young, P. B. Jr. "News Content of Negro Newspapers," Oppor- 
tunity, December, 1929. 

Young, P. B., Sr. The Negro Press. Reprinted from the South- 
ern Workman for distribution by the executive committee 
of the Virginia and North Carolina Commissions on Inter- 
racial Cooperation. Richmond and Chapel Hill, 1929. 

. "The Negro Press," Virginia Statesman, Virginia State 

College, November 21, 1936. 

"The Negro Press Past, Present, Future," Spelman 

Messenger, May, 1938. 

. "The Negro Press Today and Tomorrow," Opportu- 
nity, July, 1939. 

Young, T. C. "The Native Newspaper," Africa, November, 1938. 

- 150- 

Appendix II Directory of Negro 

This directory is prepared with the help of the Editor and Pub- 
lisher's International Year Bool^, 1948] Ayer's Directory of News- 
papers and Periodicals, 1948; Negro Newspapers in the United 
States, 1945, prepared by the U.S. Bureau of the Census; the 
Negro Year BooJ(, 1947; the Negro Handbook 1946-1947; and 
information gathered by the author thru direct correspondence 
with newspaper men. Several changes have taken place in the 
publication of many newspapers and every attempt was made to 
make this list as up-to-date as possible. 

Unless otherwise indicated immediately after the names of 
newspapers, they are issued once a week. The abbreviations "sm" 
and "bw" stand for semi-monthly and bi-weekly; "sw" and "d" 
stand for semi-weekly and daily. 

Independent, Independent Republican, Republican, Non-Par- 
tisan, Negro Interest, Democrat, and Independent Democrat are 
some of the platforms of Negro papers. For all practical purposes, 
however, these platforms do not mean much in the general run 
of the papers. All of them are interested in Negro life and hence 
have 100 per cent Negro Interest. 

Considerable difficulty was experienced in finding accurate 
names of papers since most directories omit the city names pre- 
ceding newspaper names even when they are part of the real 

A separate list of all college campus publications is given at 
the end of this directory as Appendix III. Religious, fraternal, and 


other special interest publications are entirely omitted from this 
list as they would serve no practical purpose here. 

Circulation figures are taken from the directories referred to 
above, but no attempt is made to distinguish the different sources 
from which these 1947 figures were obtained except to print all 
ABC figures in italics. Newspapers marked with an asterisk (*) 
are the ones which were given special study for the purposes of 
this book. 

The number appearing immediately after the city is the zone 
number of the newspaper's address. 

Names are listed in the alphabetical order of states, of cities 
within each state, and of newspapers within each city. 



* Weekly Review, Birmingham 3 1933 11,900 

1622 Fourth Avenue N. 

* World (sw), Birmingham i 1931 8,800 

312 Seventeenth Street N. 
Tri-Cities Informer 6- Call Post, Gadsden t 7,000 

Gulf Informer, Mobile 1943 10,000 

558 St. Francis Street 

*Mobile Weekly Advocate, Mobile 10 1911 f 

559 St. Michael Street 

Press forum Weekly, Mobile 1894 f 

Alabama Tribune, Montgomery 2 1935 1*500 

P.O. Box 1264 
Alabama Citizen, Tuscaloosa 1943 10,000 

1307 Twenty-Seventh Avenue 





Arizona's Negro Journal, Tuscon 
167 Meyer Street 

Crusader Journal, Hot Springs 

* Arkansas Survey-Journal, Little Rock 

1516 W. Sixteenth Street 
Arkansas World, Little Rock 

905 Gaines Street 
State Press, Little Rock 

923 W. Ninth Street 
Negro Spokesman, Pine Bluff 

1809 Missouri Street 

^California Eagle, Los Angeles n 

4073 S. Central Avenue 
^Criterion, Los Angeles 14 

124 W. Sixth Street 
Los Angeles Sentinel, Los Angeles n 

1050 E. Forty-Third Place 
*Los Angeles Tribune, Los Angeles n 

4225 S. Central Avenue 
Neighborhood News, Los Angeles u 

5000 S. Central Avenue 
New Age-Dispatch, Los Angeles 21 

1415 S. Central Avenue 

California Voice, Oakland 12 

2624 San Pablo Avenue 


I 93 8 

I8 79 














Herald, Oakland 

1570 Seventh Street 
Tri-County Bulletin, San Bernardino 

797 Ferris Street 
Cornet, San Diego 2 

2739 Imperial Avenue 
San Francisco Reporter, San Francisco 

1740 Post Street 
San Francisco Sun, San Francisco 


Colorado Statesman, Denver 5 
615 Twenty-Seventh Street 
*Star, Denver 

910 Twentieth Street 
Western Ideal, Pueblo 
100 W. First Street 

*A]ro~ -American (sw), Washington i 
1800 Eleventh Street, N.W. 

^Florida Tattler, Jacksonville 

511 Broad Street 
Progressive News, Jacksonville 

355 E. Union Street 
Florida Spur, Ft. Lauderdale 

P.O. Box 1378 
*Florida Times, Miami 

1 1 12 N.W. Third Avenue 
































Miami Tropical Dispatch, Miami 

1013 N.W. Second Avenue 
Miami Whip, Miami 

1109 N.W. Second Avenue 
Colored Citizen, Pensacola 

203 Baylen Street 
Courier, Pensacola 

513 N. Reus Street 
Florida Record-Dispatch, Tallahassee 

^Florida Sentinel, Tampa 

P.O. Box 2619 
*Tampa Bulletin, Tampa i 

P.O.BOX 2232 

Albany Enterprise, Albany 

517 Gordon Avenue 
Albany Southwestern Georgian, Albany 

* Atlanta Daily World (d), Atlanta 3 

210 Auburn Avenue, N.E. 
(National; w), Atlanta 3 

Augusta Review, Augusta 

World, Columbus 

1024 First Avenue 
Rome Enterprise (bw), Rome 

503 Branhan Avenue 








1, 600 























- 155- 



Savannah Herald, Savannah 

*Savannah Tribune, Savannah 1875 

1009 W. Broad Street 

Illinois Times, Champaign 1939 

208 Ells Avenue 
^Chicago Defender (National), Chicago 16 1905 

3435 Indiana Avenue 

^Chicago Sunday Bee, Chicago 9 

3655 S. State Street 
^Chicago World, Chicago 16 

1 1 8 E. Thirty-Fifth Street 
Crusader, East St. Louis 

2215 Missouri Avenue 
Robbins Herald, Robbins 

P.O. Box 169 
Illinois Chronicle, Springfield 

1210 S. Sixteenth Street 
Illinois Conservator (sm), Springfield 

725 1 / 2 E. Washington Street 

American Standard, Evansville 

^Consolidated News (bw), Evansville 

701/2 E. Walnut Street 
*Gary American, Gary 

2085 Broadway 


t 2,500 








in 1947 

















La\e County Observer, Gary 
1629 Massachusetts Street 
^Indianapolis Recorder, Indianapolis 7 
518-520 Indiana Avenue 


*lowa 'Bystander, Des Moines 
* 22 1 % Locust Street 
*Iowa Observer, Des Moines 
515 Mulberry Street 

People's Elevator, Kansas City r6 

503 N. Sixth Street 
*Plaindealer, Kansas City 2 

1612 N. Fifth Street 
Wyandotte Echo, Kansas City 2 

1908 N. Mill Street 
Negro Star, Wichita 6 
1241 Wabash Avenue 

Kentucky Reporter, Louisville 

noi W. Chestnut Street 
^Louisville Defender, Louisville 

418 S. Fifth Street 
^Louisville Leader, Louisville 3 
930-932 W.' Walnut Street 
Louisville News, Louisville 
442 S. Seventh Street 

1946 3,700 





















*Informer and Sentinel, New Orleans 7 1939 3,000 

2 10 1 Dryades Street 
^Louisiana Weekly, New Orleans 13 1925 15,700 

60 1 Dryades Street 

*Shreveport Sun, Shreveport 1920 10,600 

P.O. Box 191 t 

* A 'fro- American (National), Baltimore i 

628 N. Eutaw Street 
(Local; sw; total weekly circulation) 

^Boston Chronicle, Boston 18 

794 Tremont Street 
Boston Guardian, Boston 20 

977 Tremont Street 
Boston Times, Boston 

4I2A Massachusetts Avenue 
P.O. Box 187 

^Detroit Tribune, Detroit i 1922 30,600 

2146 St. Antoine Street 
Detroit World Echo, Detroit 26 1938 t 

1308 Broadway 
^Michigan Chronicle, Detroit i 1936 26,500 

268 Eliot Street 

Voice, Inkster f 18,800 

3054 Inkster Road 













Commentator, Pontiac 1947 3*500 

Ypsilanti Washtenaw Sun, Ypsilanti t 3>5 

^Minneapolis Spokesman, Minneapolis 15 1934 3,600 

314 Third Avenue S. 
^Recorder, St. Paul 1934 3>3OO 

312 Newton Building 

Delta Leader, Greenville 1938 8,000 

1513 Alexander 
Jackson Advocate, Jackson *939 33 

125% N. Parish Street 
Weekly Recorder, Jackson 7 t 3j5 

523 Bloom Street 
Mound Bayou Digest, Mound Bayou t 3ooo 

*Call, Kansas City 10 1919 41400 

1715 E. Eighteenth Street 
*St. Louis American, St. Louis 3 1927 14*500 

ii N. Jefferson Avenue 
*St. Louis Argus, St. Louis 3 1912 20,600 

2312 Market Street 

*0maha Guide, Omaha 10 1927 2,000 

2420 Grant Street 

Omaha Star, Omaha 10 1938 t 

2216 N. Twenty-Fourth Street 

- 159- 



*New Jersey Afro- American, Newark 3 1940 20,800 

173 W. Kinney Street 
*New Jersey Herald-News, Newark 3 1927 19,900 

130 W. Kinney Street 

New Jersey Record, Newark 3 1934 t 

129 W. Market Street 

Buffalo Criterion, Buffalo 4 

367 William Street 
^Buffalo Star, Buffalo 4 

234 Broadway 
* -Amsterdam News (sw), New York 27 

2340 Eighth Avenue 
*New Yor% Age, New York City 30 

230 W. i35th Street 
^People's Voice, New York City 27 

210 W. i25th Street 
Rochester Star, Rochester 8 

159 Troup Street 
Voice of New Yor^ State, Rochester 8 

446 Clarissa Street 

Progressive Herald, Syracuse 3 1933 5,100 

815 E. Fayette Street 

Southern News, Asheville 1936 2,700 

121 Southside Avenue 
Eagle, Charlotte 1947 15,000 

- 160 - 

















Post, Charlotte 2 

624 E. Second Street 
^Carolina Times, Durham 

814% Fayetteville Street 
Carolinian, Fayetteville 

Mountain News, Hendersonville 
People's Chronicle, Kinston 

Carolinian, Raleigh 

118 E. Hargett Street 
Journal, Wilmington 

412 S. Seventh Street 
People's Spokesman, Winston-Salem 

721 E. Seventh Street 


^Independent, Cincinnati 

653 W. Court Street 
*Union, Cincinnati 2 

238 E. Fourth Street 
^Cleveland Call and Post, Cleveland 4 

2319 E. Fifty-Fifth Street 
* Cleveland Guide, Cleveland 6 

2279 E. Ninetieth Street 
^Cleveland Herald, Cleveland 

1255 E. 1 05th Street 
*0hio State News, Columbus 3 

1 1 12 Mt.- Vernon Avenue 


1920 3,000 





















- 161- 


*Forum, Dayton 2 1913 3,500 

414 W. Fifth Street 
*Qhio Daily Express (d), Dayton 7 1943 2,500 

1007 Germantown Street 
"Butler County American, Hamilton 1939 t 

422 S. Front Street 

Toledo Script Newspaper, Toledo 2 1943 5,200 

i oo 1 5/2 City Park Avenue 
*Bucfeye Review, Youngstown 1938 1,800 

423 Oakhill Avenue 

Oklahoma Independent, Muskogee I 93 2 4,000 

325 N. Second Street 
*Blac\ Dispatch, Oklahoma City i 1914 17,000 

324 N.E. Second Street 
Q\mulgee Observer, Okmulgee 1927 1,800 

411 E. Fifth Street 
Appeal, Tulsa 1938 4,900 

419 N. Greenwood Street 

*01(lahoma Eagle, Tulsa i 1920 5>*oo 

123 N. Greenwood Street 


Inquirer, Portland 1945 f 

Crusader, Chester 1945 2,500 

811 Central Avenue 

* A fro- American, Philadelphia 47 . 1934 26,100 

427 S. Broad Street 

- 162- 



^Independent, Philadelphia 46 

1708 Lombard Street 
^Tribune (sw), Philadelphia 46 

524-526 S. Sixteenth Street 
^Pittsburgh Courier, Pittsburgh 30 

2628 Centre Avenue 


Providence Chronicle, Providence 
48 Cranston Street 

Lighthouse and Informer, Columbia i 

1022% Washington Street 
*Palmetto Leader, Columbia 
1310 Assembly Street 

Chatanooga Citizen, Chatanooga 

Chatanooga Observer, Chatanooga 

124% E. Ninth Street 
East Tennessee Neu/s, Knoxville 6 

202 E. Vine Avenue 
Flashlight Herald, Knoxville 10 

1306 College Street 
Monitor, Knoxville 15 

347 Preston Street 
Memphis World (sw), Memphis 

388 Beale Avenue 
*Globe and Independent, Nashville 

403 Charlotte Avenue 


l88 4 












Industrial Era (bw), Beaumont 

1108 Gladys Street 
*Express, Dallas 

P.O. Box 185 
Fort Worth Defender, Fort Worth 

910 Grove Street 
Fort Worth Mind, Fort Worth 3 

9*5/4 Calhoun Street 
Houston Defender, Houston 3 

1423 W. Dallas Street 
^Houston Informer, Houston i 

2418 Leeland Avenue 
Informer and Texas Freeman, Houston i 

2418 Leeland Avenue 
Negro Labor News, Houston 2 

419% Milam Street 
San Antonio Informer, San Antonio 

322 S. Pine Street 
San Antonio Register, San Antonio 6 

207 N. Centre Street 
Waco Messenger, Waco 

109 Bridge Avenue 

^Journal and Guide, Norfolk i 

719-723 E. Olney Road 
Richmond Afro- American, Richmond 6 

504 N. Third Street 
Tribune, Roanoke 

- 164 - 


i9 3 




























Northwest Enterprise, Seattle 1918 8,200 

i So i Rainier Avenue 

Globe, Milwaukee 5 1945 15,000 

923 W. Walnut Street 
Wisconsin Enterprise-Blade, Milwaukee 1916 50,000 

715 W. Somers Street 

- 105 - 

Appendix III Directory of College 
Campus Publications 

(Arranged in the alphabetical order of colleges) 

A & T College, Greensboro, North Carolina. Register. 

Alabama State Teachers College, Montgomery, Alabama. Bulletin 

(Organ of the American Teachers Association). 
Adanta University, Adanta, Georgia. Phylon. 
- . Atlanta University Bulletin. 
Bluefield State Teachers College, Bluefield, West Virginia. Blue- 

Cheyney Training School for Teachers, Cheyney, Pennsylvania. 

Cheyney Record. 

Delaware State College, Dover, Delaware, Lantern. 
Downington Industrial School, Downington, Pennsylvania. Down- 

in gt on Bulletin. 

Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee. Fis\ Herald. 

. Monthly Summary of Events and Trends in Race Rela- 

tions (Social Science Institute). 

Florida A & M College, Tallahassee, Florida. Famcean. 
- . Florida A & M Quarterly. 

Gammon Theological Seminary, Adanta, Georgia. Foundation. 
Georgia State College, Industrial College, Georgia. Georgia Her- 

Hampton Institute, Virginia. Hampton Script. 

- 166- 


. Virginia Teachers Bulletin. 

Howard University, District of Columbia. Hilltop. 

. Howard University Bulletin. 

. Journal of Negro Education. 

Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, North Carolina. Johnson 
C. Smith University Bulletin. 

. Quarterly Review of Higher Education among Negroes. 

Kentucky State College, Frankfort, Kentucky. Kentucky Thoro- 

Knoxville College, Knoxville, Tennessee. Aurora. 

Langston University, Langston, Oklahoma. Southwestern Journal. 

Le Moyne College, Memphis, Tennessee. Le Moynite. 

Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Missouri. Lincoln Clarion. 

. Lincoln Journalism Newsletter. 

Lincoln University, Lincoln University, Pennsylvania. Uncolnian. 

Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia. Maroon Tiger. 

. Morehouse Alumnus. 

Morgan State College, Baltimore, Maryland. Morgan State Col- 
lege Bulletin. 

. Spokesman. 

Philander Smith College, Little Rock, Arkansas. Panther Journal. 

Prairie View University, Prairie View, Texas. Panther. 

. Standard. 

St. Augustine's Seminary, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. St. Augus- 
tine's Messenger. 

Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Southern Univer- 
sity Digest. 

Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia. Cam f us 'Mirror. 



-. Spelman Messenger. 

Talladega College, Talladega, Alabama. Talladega Student. 

Tennessee A & I State College, Nashville 8, Tennessee, Broadcaster* 

. Bulletin. 

Tuskegee Institute, Tuskegee Institute, Alabama. Campus Digest. 

. Negro Worker. 

. Negro Farmer. 

. Pulling Together. 

. Service Magazine. 

. Tuskegee Messenger. 

Virginia State College, Petersburg, Virginia. Virginia Statesman. 

Virginia Union University, Richmond, Virginia. Virginia Union 

West Virginia State College, Institute, West Virginia. Yellow 

Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, Ohio. Negro College Quar- 

. Mirror. 

Wiley College, Marshall, Texas. Wiley Reporter. 

Xavier University, New Orleans, Louisiana. Xavier Herald. 

^Temporarily suspended. 


Index to Subjects 

Advertising patronage, 25, 90, 112- 

121; so-called, 49 
Afro- American, 31, 32, 38, 40, 43, 

60-62, 70, 74, 76, 85, 88, 89, 93- 

95, 113, 114, 116, 118, 120, 125 
American Dilemma, 28, 31, 42, 101 
Associated Negro Press, 41, 99-101, 


Associated Publishers, 116-119 
Atlanta University, 14 
Atlanta Daily World, 85, 86, 120, 

126, 127 

Bibliography, 138-150 
Black. Dispatch, 74 
Boycott Movement, 8, 9 

California Eagle, 62, 74, 75 

Champion of Negroes, 35-37 

Chicago Defender, 31, 32, 38, 40, 43, 
62, 69, 70, 74, 76, 77, 85, 88, 
103, 114, 118, 120, 125-26 

Chicago Sunday Bee f 32, 73 

Chicago World, 62 

Church news, 86 

CIO, 76, 80 

Circulation, 31, 66-71 

Classes o periodicals, 66-69 

Cleveland Call and Post, 18, 32, 38, 
62, 70, 74 

Cleveland Gazette, 22 

College Campus Publications, 166-168 

College news, 87 

Color, 66, 131 

Corporation lawyers, 81 

Crime news, 88 

Crisis, 93, 130 

Dailies, 85, 127, 128 
Demands of Negroes, 35-37 
Directory newspaper, 151-165 
Display of type, 72-73, 90 
Economic success, 133-134 

Economic value of the press, 72 
Editorial policies, 37-42, 91-97 
Employed number, 72 
"Enlightened self-interest," 47-51, 

76, 134 
Ethics of business men, 50-54 

Foreign correspondents, 40-41 
Freedom of the press, 63, 64 
Freedom's Journal, 21, 122 
Fortune press analysis, 37 

General Education Board, 4, 5 
Good business what is? 48 

Harlem Heights Daily, 127 
Headline, 63-64, 131 

Income See profits 
Indianapolis Recorder, 120 
Informer, 41, 74, 86, 116, 126 
International news, 39-40 
Interstate United, 114-116 
ITU, 75, 77-80 

Journal and Guide, 31, 32, 38, 40, 
43, 44, 62, 73, 74, 78-81, 83, 85, 
114, 116, 120, 125 

Kansas City Call, 32, 62, 74, 83, 

114, 116, 118 
Ku KIux Klan, 57, 78, 79, 80, 81 

Labor Unions See CIO, ITU 

Labor policies, 75-82 

Lincoln School of Journalism, 131 

Local news, 86 

Los Angeles Sentinel, 62, 76 

Louisville Defender, 62, 85, 116 

Louisiana Weekly, 120 

Magazines, 129-132 
Michigan Chronicle, 62, 85, 116 
Minister and the press, 26 
Modernizing the press, 39 



Holder of public opinion, 26 

National Negro Business League, 8, 


National Urban League, 5, 14, 129 
Negro capitalist, 11, 14, 76 
Negro culture, 87-88 
Negro economy, 8*12, 77-78 
Negro market national, 116 
Negro Newspaper Publishers Asso- 
ciation See NNPA 
Negro Press a fighting press, 20; 
a wailing press, 21; contributions 
of, 37; future of, 27-28; growth 
of, 22-26, 31-32; handicaps of, 
24-25; indispensable, 27; influence 
of, 31-32; what white persons think 
of, 4, 39, 40, 62, 63, 65, 74, 88, 

119, 134, 136 
Negro's culture, 87-88, 133 
News coverage selection, 83-98 
News services, 99-111; addresses of, 

99, 101, 109-11 

News what is? 36 

Newsman's reward, 29 

Newspaper combinations, 85-86 

Newspaper Guild, 75-76 

Newspapers ante-bellum, 1 22-124 ; 
from 1860-1918, 124-126; from 
1918 to date, 126-128; circulation, 
66-77; list of, 151-165; number of, 
66-71, 128; subscription, 71-72 

New York Age, 22, 32, 44, 62, 125 

New Yor^ Amsterdam News, 31, 
32, 60, 62, 63, 70, 75, 76, 84, 114, 
116, 118, 120, 126 

NNPA, 18, 22, 41, 63, 82, 104, 105, 
132; history of news service, 101- 

Ohio State News, 32, 62, 103, 108, 

120, 121 

One hundred per cent American, 32 

People's Voice, 32, 33, 38, 43, 44-46, 

62, 71, 73, 76, 84, 121 
Philadelphia Independent, 62 

Philadelphia Tribune, 22, 62, 125 
Philanthropy Negro's lack of, 14 
Pictorial journalism, 89-90 
Pittsburgh Courier, 31, 32, 41, 43, 
52-59, 60, 62, 63, 70, 74, 76, 85, 
88, 90, 93-96, 104, 105, 107, 114, 
116, 118, 119, 120, 126 
Policies of the press, 37-42 
Press organizations NNPA 
Profits to newspapers, 133-134 
Public taste truth about, 46 
Publishing establishments, 72 

Quislingism, 52-62 

Roosevelt administration, 48-64 
Rosenwald Fund, 4 

Scott Newspaper Syndicate, 85, 110, 

116, 127 

Segregated economy, 8-12, 77-78 
Selection of news, 84-89 
Sensationalism, 43-46 
Social consciousness, 14, 17 
Social vision, 14 
Society news, 89 
Sport news, 89 
St. Louis American, 62, 120 
St. Louis Argus, 32, 62, 74, 121 
Subscription rates, 71 
Suggestions for improvement, 133- 


Taft-Hartley labor bill, 79, 82 

Theater, 89 

Typographical appearance, 72-73, 90 

Wage policies, 75-82 

War and the press, 33-35, 102, 103 

War correspondents' pool, 103 

Washington Bee, 22 

Washington Eegle, 62 

Washington its importance, 63, 103 

White House, 63, 104-105 

Widening horizon, 38-42 

Wilberforcc University, 91-97 

Yellow journalism, 43-46 
Ziff, W. B., 113, 114, 115