The Call and Post's treatment of Scottsboro was not limited to the involvement of the Cleveland community. It provided routine coverage of the trials, U.S. Supreme Court decisions and the activities of the national defense committee. Unlike the larger, established Black papers, the Call and Post did not send correspondents to cover the trials.61 It did get its information from the various news wires that Black newspapers used. These included the Calvin News Service, the Associated Negro Press, and the Crusader News Agency.62

     As with both Black and white newspapers, Call and Post coverage of Scottsboro subsided significantly after 1938.63 Instead of printing several articles and editorials in several issues, the paper had only one to two short articles per year. These articles primarily included reports of efforts to release the remaining defendants and a progress report on an already released defendant.64 There were no articles on the 1950 release of the last defendant, Andrew Wright, nor were there any reports of the 1976 pardon of Clarence Norris.

Conclusion

The Call and Post's coverage and comments on the Scottsboro cases captured the essence of the Black community and Black journalism between World War I and World War II. Its editorials and columns urging mass action reflected an approach to Black civil rights that was changing from the moderationist, indirect tactics of the Urban League and NAACP to the militant, direct tactics of Communist Party organizations. The paper's use of news and photo services, live interviews, as well as its attempts to mobilize the readership were characteristic of the professional advancement of Black newspapers.

     The Call and Post, through its drives for gifts and letters, was apparently one of the few Black newspapers to initiate local community involvement in the cases. The Birmingham World wrote an editorial denouncing the conviction of Haywood Patterson and printed on page one a statement for readers to clip, sign and send to President Roosevelt asking him to overturn the verdict. The Journal and Guide used its editorial columns to spearhead a fundraising drive for the defense.65 But, the major papers, such as the Chicago Defender, Pittsburgh Courier, and the Baltimore Afro-American, did not initiate any drives, financially or otherwise, to arouse their respective communities. They merely reported on the meetings and rallies sponsored by the Communist and Black civil rights groups and urged readers to support them.

 

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February 2000