Black Press Day
Black Press Day is observed next on Saturday, March 16th, 2024 (351 days from today).
During the times when racial discrimination was extremely strong in the United States. African Americans, black people don't even have a voice in society. With the predominant way of conveying information through the press at the time, the black community had no place in mainstream newspapers. Celebrating the day the first newspaper was published by a black American on March 16, 1827, Black Press Day is celebrated every year on March 16. Black Press Day recognizes contributions, voices, and steps. Black turning point in American society.
History of Black Press Day
Jimmy Carter issued a proclamation designating March 17, 1977 as Black Press Day. Black Press Day was celebrated on March 16 at least in the mid-1980s. Black Press Day was celebrated on the newspaper's founding anniversary. One source suggested that it is not known whether the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) created the National Black Press Day, but one thing is certain: the National Newspaper Publishers Association has designated the date for the annual celebration of Black Press Day.
On March 16, 1827, black citizens met at Bostin Crummell's home in New York City to discuss how they could best communicate their views on social, political, and economic issues in their community. There and elsewhere, churches and fraternal organizations were the basis of black discussion, but blacks were denied the use of white newspapers. Worse still, they are often denigrated by the mainstream press in racist ways. The people at the meeting decided they would publish the Freedom Journal. John Brown Russwurm and Pastor Samuel Cornish, who attended the meeting, became its editors. They said that it had been too long since someone spoke to them and they wished and begged for justice for themselves. It can be seen that they have really suffered a lot of injustice, and they have come up with their own way to express their voice.
The black press talked about the struggles against slavery, and after liberation continued to speak out against discrimination. By the time of the Civil War, there were 40 black newspapers. They reached their peak in the 1930s and 40s, at a time when black issues continued to be ignored by the major newspapers. Black Panther lists job opportunities and retailers do not discriminate. They take on the big issues of the day from a black point of view. They show black people dignity.
Many black newspapers promoted the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, helping to shift black voters from Lincoln's party to the Democratic Party. Black artists like Lena Horne, Paul Robeson and Little Richard were featured in the black press before they broke into the mainstream. The newspapers promoted open housing, suffrage, equal housing, and more, before and during the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s.
In the late 1960s and early 70s, in the era of Black Power, black newspapers were not as essential as they used to be, as many black writers began writing for mainstream newspapers. A number of black journalists began to do so during the civil rights movement and were tasked with covering the movement itself. In a sense, the success of black newspapers has given black journalists the opportunity to work for mainstream newspapers, making black newspapers less relevant. However, many black newspapers continued to thrive, and still do to this day.
In 1940, a meeting of black publishers was held in Chicago, at the request of John Sengstacke, publisher of The Chicago Defender. The National Black Publishers Association was decided to form by representatives from 22 black publications when 22 black publications attended together. (In 1956, The National Black Publishers Association changed their name to the National Newspaper Publishers Association.) A part of the NNPA now are more than 200 newspapers in the United States. They also run the Black Press Institute, which has an online presence with BlackPressUSA.com, which showcases publications by NNPA members. There is also the NNPA Foundation, which awards journalism scholarships and awards and has internships for students.
A major black newspaper is The Chicago Defender. Founded in 1905, it helped influence the beginning of the Great Black Migration around the time of World War I. In 1928, it helped to vote for the Oscar DePriest; he became the first black congressman since Reconstruction. The newspaper pushed Harry Truman to separate from the Armed Forces in the 1940s and make other similar efforts at the dawn of the civil rights movement.
When longtime publisher John Sengstacke passed away in 1997, noone knew what happened to the publication, until 2002 the Real Times bought it and continues to be published to this day. Other prominent black newspapers include the Los Angeles Sentinel; Philadelphia Tribune, the oldest continuously published black newspaper; and the Pittsburgh Courier (now the New Pittsburgh Courier), was the largest black newspaper of its time. Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Ida B. Wells, Richard Wright, Romare Bearden, James Weldon Johnson, Langston Hughes, Daisy Bates, Mary McLeod Bethune, Gwendolyn Brooks, Zora Neale Hurston, Marcus Garvey and Elijah Muhammad were prominent black press writers known to this day. Many black writers continue their traditions today, and we honor them and their writing today.
Observing Black Press Day
Read a black leopard-related book such as The Black Press: New Historical and Literary Essays or The Guardian: How the Legendary Black Panther Changed America.
Watch The Black Press: Soldiers without Swords, a documentary about the press.
Read current black newspapers by going directly to the websites of The Chicago Defender, Los Angeles Sentinel, The Philadelphia Tribune or New Pittsburgh Courier, or you can also read black newspapers at Black Press USA or Our Village News.
Subscribe or advertise with a black newspaper.
Become a member of the National Association of Newspaper Publishers or advertise with them.
Teach a lesson about Freedom's Journal.
You can go to some library where you can read Freedom's Journal.
Explore press archives and other resources at the Black Press Research Collective.
At the Obsidian Collection Archives, there are many pictures and information about histotical black newspapers. Take the time to see and learn about them.
Some articles by Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois and Ida B. Wells are worth reading, you can take the time to read them and other articles by some of the Black Panther history writers mentioned.
Besides, one thing that is more interesting and helps to broaden your understanding more visually is to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Share your actions on Black Press Day on social media with hashtag #NationalBlackPressDay and positive statements to encourage everyone to learn and celebrate Black Press Day.
ObservedBlack Press Day has been observed annually on March 16th.
Wednesday, March 16th, 2022
Thursday, March 16th, 2023
Saturday, March 16th, 2024
Sunday, March 16th, 2025
Monday, March 16th, 2026