Charles H. Wright Museum Logo
Posted by
Leah Johnson is a University of Michigan- Dearborn graduate and she has a B.A. d
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 03 October 2012
in Today in Black History

Pressing Matters: Learning the History of the Black Press

The following two facts are from the Charles H. Wright Museum's "Today in Black History" daily posts:

• October 3, 1949 WERD, the first radio station owned and operated by African Americans, began broadcasting from Atlanta, Georgia. The station was bought by Jesse B. Blayton, Sr., an accountant and businessman, in the late 1940s and operated until he sold it in 1968.

• October 3, 1950 Gerald Michael Boyd, the first African American metropolitan editor and managing editor at the New York Times, was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Boyd won a scholarship to the University of Missouri-Columbia. After graduating in 1973, he joined the St. Louis Post-Dispatch where he worked as a reporter and White House correspondent until 1983. In 1983, Boyd joined the New York Times as a national political reporter. He rose through the ranks to managing editor in 2001, the first African American in the newspaper’s history to hold such a senior position. As managing editor, he oversaw 1,200 reporters and editors. Under his leadership, the newspaper won three Pulitzer Prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for the 2000 series “How Race is Lived in America” which he supervised. Boyd resigned from the newspaper in 2003 and worked as a consultant until his death on November 23, 2006. His biography, “My Times in Black and White: Race and Power at the New York Times,” was published in 2010.

Lately, I've been focused on learning about the period in history known as Reconstruction- the time following the Civil War when blacks were trying to be integrated into society.

With the information from today's "Today in Black History" facts, though, it made me realize the need to spend more time studying the history of the Black Press. Since I enjoy writing and public communication, I think it's important for me to learn the importance of how African-Americans broke down barriers in the vast world of Communication. 

Just when I think I know all there is to know about my history, I realize I've barely scratched the surface and that a new field of study awaits me.

Tags: Untagged
0 votes

Leah Johnson is a University of Michigan- Dearborn graduate and she has a B.A. degree in Communication. In college, she minored in Psychology and African American Studies after developing a love her history, culture and African American literature. She currently works in the Communication and Marketing Department at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

Two of Leah's "She-ros" are Ida B. Wells Barnett, the fearless journalist who exposed the truth about lynching, and Madame CJ Walker, the first self-made African American female millionaire. "I love these women because they were determined and did what was necessary to succeed and defend the truth. That lets me know that I can be a successful African American woman as well," said Leah.

In her spare time, Leah enjoys traveling, bowling, shoe shopping, and spending time with friends and family.