Facility to Change With the Times

     For Carl Murphy, delivering the l954 presidential address at the NNPA Winter Workshop, there was no turning back, no prospect of closing shop. "We have the facility to change with the times," he assured the publishers. He dwelt upon gnawing publisher fears: Fear of daily competition? "We supplement their national coverage of the news, and in our community we do a better job than they..." Fear of radio, television, and magazine competition? Murphy: "... but the more readers, listeners and viewers they attract, the more avid they make the public for the services only we can give." In the weekly press, he declared, the reader has "an indispensable service at the community level which television, disc jockeys on the radio and magazines do not have and may never obtain." The Negro newspaper "is a public trusteeship" crusading in the public interest. Murphy asked dramatically:

Who else but the newspaper campaigns against segregated schools, railroad trains, hotels, swimming pools, churches and...graveyards?

Who but you demands; that all public institutions shall be open to all the tax payers?

Who but you tells the white community what we are thinking, or tells colored people what they are planning?

Who tells the public of your readers right to work and to live anywhere?

Who rallies our people to register and vote?

Who exposes police brutality and cries to heaven for justice in the courts?

Who exposes crooked politicians and political payoffs?

Who demands fair employment and jobs in the police and fire departments and in public utilities?

Who, but the press, assumes responsibility for more paved streets, that are regularly cleaned, better garbage collections, more swimming pools, playgrounds and parks?


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February 2000