As an example, Black representation in Congress involves the Congressional Black Caucus with 21 members, yet the Black press rarely reports anything comprehensively about the Black Caucus Members unless it is general news which all newspapers have. Readers should be able to learn on a week-by-week basis how each member of the Caucus votes on all important bills and all bills that [sic] of significance to the Black voters of the nation.

     The Black press should report, for instance, the speeches of the Caucus members if only for history sake if nothing else. Similarly, such a news gathering agency would be able to supply photographs of news value to all members of the Black press who wanted them, and thus establish a historically-important library of pictures that would be available down through the years.

     There are scores of other probabilities [sic] that could be achieved through a news agency owned and operated exclusively by the Black press. Under such a system, the Black press would be able to have a reporter on hand at all White House meetings, press conferences and other events of general and special significance to Black readers.

     This also raises the prospect of Black publishers working as a unit to purchase goods and services at lower costs by developing a service unit that could handle such affairs. The possibilities are numerous and maybe some enterprising young publishers will see the view from the valley to the mountaintop and work to do something about it before it is too late.

     This kind of operation is a must for the future if the Black press is to stay alive.

     When the older Black press members began publication the 18th century, the economic, political and social situation of Black people in America and around the world was at its lowest ebb. Black persons found it difficult to fight for their rights, they had to fight to keep from being lynched.

     Everywhere in the South, jim crow [sic] was established by law; Black persons were segregated on railroads, excluded from the ballot forced to attend separate schools and colleges, and made to eat in separate restaurant and cafes.

     The Black press fought long and hard, often at the financial and physical sacrifice of its publishers, but in the long run they conquered. Things are different today, but there is still an obvious measure of discrimination, prejudice and injustice in the world, and the Black press recognizes its obligation to fight it and try to destroy it.

 

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February 2000