Down through the years, the Black press has maintained a policy of trying to sway, suggest and, if you will, demand governments, politicians and leaders of all kind to provide change. The challenges of the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies are still the challenges of the Eighties, particularly for minority and Black Americans, although the agenda has somewhat been changed.
As in the early days of journalism struggles, the Black press advocates must be passionate believers in the equality of justice as it applies to the least among us and ready use their journalistic power to shale the establishment, and to raise public consciousness on crucial issues. At the same time, the Black press must never halt its praise where it is merited, and must provide a learning experience and entertainment for its family of potential readers.
The Black press must continue to be an advocacy press and, as Frederick Douglass admonished, "Agitate, agitate, agitate." Without a powerful Black press, the world would be unaware of the broken promises of our leaders and the perils of minority urban ills of the masses of "little people," who simply are written out of the picture by the major publications. And who find themselves unable to get their stories told in the high and mighty, and frequently uncaring and unconcerned major powers of communication.
The Black press, now in the midst of its 157th anniversary, faces a multiplicity of problems, mostly economic. Generally there has been a high measure of progress by the Black press in recent years, after a slow period of growth immediately following the Black press' most productive era-the World War II period and the post-war years up until the late fifties.
Ironically, there have been some who have hinted at the elimination of the need for Black press. This kind of thinking is ridiculous, and most assuredly must come from those who have had little knowledge of the Black press and its influence and need in Black communities throughout the country. Likewise, such thoughts must come from those who lack the insight of the Black press' suggestive power in the world affairs.
There should be no need to stress the justification of the Black press, as the very complexity of American life in this era of the changing world makes it imperative that Black newspapers continue strong and vigorous.