From Freedom’s Journal to the NNPA, The Black Press is still relevant

No one is better equipped to tell your story better than you and logic stands to reason that no one is better equipped and more passionate about telling our story than us. The stories of blacks in America are equally as triumphant as they are tragic and many, if not most, of these stories would be lost to time, if not for the Black Press.

In an age where black people are both progressing exponentially and under attack daily, the need for the Black Press has never been more apparent. And in a day where all media is under assault from the highest level, we must exalt the nation's more than 200 Black newspapers,as they continue to serve as the defenders and the vanguard progress, enterprise and liberty.

Since the days of “Freedom’s Journal”—the first black newspaper, published in 1827 during the height of slavery to today— the Black Press has been a voice reason, compassion and

defiance.Margot Lee Shetterly, author of “Hidden Figures,” said if not for the archives of the Black Press such as the “Norfolk Journal and Guide” and the “Pittsburgh Courier” the inspiring story of the black women geniuses at NASA would not have been possible to tell. If not for the “Florida Sun” in Orlando, the story of the great training in science and technology happening at Bethune-Cookman University, one of the nation’s historically black universities, would go untold and unnoticed.

In Baton Rouge, it may have been a citizen’s lens that captured the senseless killing of Alton Sterling at the hands of police, but it is “The Drum” that keeps Sterling’s memory alive and is shining the white-hot spotlight on those responsible for his homicide. When factions of the so-called “alt-right”— a movement of racism and intolerance— try to co-opt and corrupt the words (while ignoring the actions) of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it was the Rev. Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), who provided a comprehensive and accurate remembrance of the revered freedom fighter. Weeks after the inauguration of a president that most in mass media are still trying to wrestle with and dissect, trying to figure out how all the major polls got it wrong, it was the Black Press that ran article after article talking about the tremendous voter suppression efforts

happening in key battleground states in the aftermath of the United States Supreme Court decision in the Shelby v. Holder case that gutted the Voting Right Act of 1965. Possibly, had the warnings of the Black Press been heeded, maybe,just maybe, the nation and the world would not be in the predicament it now finds itself.

In Baton Rouge, it may have been a citizen’s lens that captured the senseless killing of Alton Sterling at the hands of police, but it is “The Drum” that keeps Sterling’s memory alive and is shining the white-hot spotlight on those responsible for his homicide. When factions of the so-called “alt-right”— a movement of racism and intolerance— try to co-opt and corrupt the words (while ignoring the actions) of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it was the Rev. Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers

Association (NNPA), who provided a comprehensive and accurate remembrance of the revered freedom fighter.Weeks after the inauguration of a president that most in mass media are still

trying to wrestle with and dissect, trying to figure out how all the major polls got it wrong, it was the Black Press that ran article after article talking about the tremendous voter suppression efforts happening in key battleground states in the aftermath of the United States Supreme Court decision in the Shelby v. Holder case that gutted the Voting Right Act of 1965. Possibly, had the warnings of the Black Press been heeded, maybe,just maybe, the nation and the world would not be in the predicament it now finds itself.