Archive for the ‘Journalism’ Category
Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr., ONH (17 August 1887 – 10 June 1940) was a Jamaican publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator who was a staunch proponent of the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements, to which end he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL). He founded the Black Star Line, part of the Back-to-Africa movement, which promoted the return of the African Diaspora to their ancestral lands.
Prior to the twentieth century, leaders such as Prince Hall, Martin Delany, Edward Wilmot Blyden, and Henry Highland Garnet advocated the involvement of the African diaspora in African affairs. Garvey was unique in advancing a Pan-African philosophy to inspire a global mass movement and economic empowerment focusing on Africa known as Garveyism. Promoted by the UNIA as a movement of African Redemption, Garveyism would eventually inspire others, ranging from the Nation of Islam to the Rastafari movement (which proclaims Garvey as a prophet). The intent of the movement was for those of African ancestry to “redeem” Africa and for the European colonial powers to leave it. His essential ideas about Africa were stated in an editorial in the Negro World titled “African Fundamentalism” where he wrote:
||Our union must know no clime, boundary, or nationality… to let us hold together under all climes and in every country…
Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr. was born in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica to Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Sr., a mason, and Sarah Jane Richards, a domestic worker. Of eleven siblings, only Marcus and his sister Indiana survived until maturity. Garvey’s father was known to have a large library, and it was from his father that Marcus gained his love for reading. He also attended the elementary schools in St. Ann’s Bay during his youth. Sometime in 1900, Garvey entered into an apprenticeship with his uncle, Alfred Burrowes, who also had an extensive library, of which young Marcus made good use.
In 1910 Garvey left Jamaica and began traveling throughout the Central American region. He lived in Costa Rica for several months, where he worked as a time-keeper on a banana plantation. He began work as editor for a daily newspaper titled La Nacionale in 1911. Later that year, he moved to Colón, Panama, where he edited a biweekly newspaper before returning to Jamaica in 1912. After years of working in the Caribbean, Garvey left Jamaica to live in London from 1912 to 1914, where he attended Birkbeck College taking classes in Law and Philosophy, worked for the African Times and Orient Review, published by Dusé Mohamed Ali, and sometimes spoke at Hyde Park‘s Speakers’ Corner. Garvey’s philosophy was influenced by Booker T. Washington, Martin Delany, and Henry McNeal Turner. It is said that Dusé Mohamed Ali influence shaped Garvey’s speeches, and led him to organize the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in Jamaica in 1914 (Vincent, 1971). It has been suggested that the UNIA motto, “One God, One Aim, One Destiny”, originated from Dusé Ali’s Islamic influence on Garvey (Rashid, 2002). Garvey named the organization the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities (Imperial) League. At the National Conference of the Universal Negro Improvement Association in 1921, a Los Angeles delegate named Noah Thompson spoke on the floor complaining on the lack of transparency in the group’s financial accounts. When accounts were prepared Thompson highlighted several sections with what he felt were irregularities.
After corresponding with Booker T. Washington, Garvey arrived in the U.S. on 23 March 1916 aboard the S.S. Tallac to give a lecture tour and to raise funds to establish a school in Jamaica modeled after Washington’s Tuskegee Institute. Garvey visited Tuskegee, and afterward, visited with a number of black leaders. After moving to New York, he found work as a printer by day. He was influenced by Hubert Harrison. At night he would speak on street corners, much like he did in London’s Hyde Park. It was then that Garvey perceived a leadership vacuum among people of African ancestry. On 9 May 1916, he held his first public lecture in New York City at St Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery and undertook a 38-state speaking tour. In May 1917, Garvey and thirteen others formed the first UNIA division outside Jamaica and began advancing ideas to promote social, political, and economic freedom for blacks. On 2 July, the East St. Louis riots broke out. On 8 July, Garvey delivered an address, titled “The Conspiracy of the East St. Louis Riots”, at Lafayette Hall in Harlem. During the speech, he declared the riot was “one of the bloodiest outrages against mankind”. By October, rancor within the UNIA had begun to set in. A split occurred in the Harlem division, with Garvey enlisted to become its leader; although he technically held the same position in Jamaica.
Garvey next set about the business of developing a program to improve the conditions of those of African ancestry “at home and abroad” under UNIA auspices. On 17 August 1918, publication of the widely distributed Negro World newspaper began. Garvey worked as an editor without pay until November 1920. By June 1919 the membership of the organization had grown to over two million. On 27 June 1919, the Black Star Line of Delaware was incorporated by the members of the UNIA, with Garvey as President. By September, it obtained its first ship. Much fanfare surrounded the inspection of the S.S. Yarmouth and its rechristening as the S.S. Frederick Douglass on 14 September 1919. Such a rapid accomplishment garnered attention from many.
Edwin P. Kilroe, Assistant District Attorney in the District Attorney’s office of the County of New York, began an investigation into the activities of the UNIA, but apparently didn’t find any evidence of wrongdoing or mismanagement. After being called to Kilroe’s office numerous times, Garvey wrote an editorial on Kilroe’s activities for the Negro World. Garvey was arrested and indicted for criminal libel in relation to the article, but charges were dismissed after Garvey published a retraction. While in his Harlem office at 56 West 156th Street on 14 October 1919, Garvey received a visit from George Tyler, who told him that Kilroe “had sent him” to get Garvey. Tyler then pulled a .38-caliber revolver and fired four shots, wounding Garvey in the right leg and scalp. Garvey was taken to the hospital and Tyler arrested. The next day, it was let out that Tyler had committed suicide by leaping from the third tier of the Harlem jail as he was being taken to his arraignment. By August 1920, the UNIA claimed four million members. That month, the International Convention of the UNIA was held. With delegates from all over the world in attendance, over 25,000 people filled Madison Square Garden on 1 August 1920 to hear Garvey speak.
Another of Garvey’s ventures was the Negro Factories Corporation. His plan called for creating the infrastructure to manufacture every marketable commodity in every big U.S. industrial center, as well as in Central America, the West Indies, and Africa. Related endeavors included a grocery chain, restaurant, publishing house, and other businesses.
Convinced that blacks should have a permanent homeland in Africa, Garvey sought to develop Liberia. The Liberia program, launched in 1920, was intended to build colleges, universities, industrial plants, and railroads as part of an industrial base from which to operate. However, it was abandoned in the mid-1920s after much opposition from European powers with interests in Liberia. In response to suggestions that he wanted to take all Africans of the Diaspora back to Africa, he wrote, “We do not want all the Negroes in Africa. Some are no good here, and naturally will be no good there.”
Charge of mail fraud
In a memorandum dated 11 October 1919, J. Edgar Hoover, special assistant to the Attorney General and head of the General Intelligence Division (or “anti-radical division”)  of The Bureau of Investigation or BOI (after 1935, the Federal Bureau of Investigation), wrote a memorandum to Special Agent Ridgely regarding Marcus Garvey. In the memo, Hoover wrote that:
||Unfortunately, however, he [Garvey] has not as yet violated any federal law whereby he could be proceeded against on the grounds of being an undesirable alien, from the point of view of deportation.
Sometime around November 1919 an investigation by the BOI was begun into the activities of Garvey and the UNIA. Toward this end, the BOI hired James Edward Amos, Arthur Lowell Brent, Thomas Leon Jefferson, James Wormley Jones and Earl E. Titus as its first five African-American agents. Although initial efforts by the BOI were to find grounds upon which to deport Garvey as “an undesirable alien”, a charge of mail fraud was brought against Garvey in connection with stock sales of the Black Star Line after the U.S. Post Office and the Attorney General joined the investigation.
The accusation centered on the fact that the corporation had not yet purchased a ship with the name “Phyllis Wheatley“.[clarification needed] Although one was pictured with that name emblazoned on its bow on one of the company’s stock brochures, it had not actually been purchased by the BSL and still had the name “Orion”. The prosecution produced as evidence a single empty envelope which it claimed contained the brochure. During the trial, a man known as Benny Dancy testified that he didn’t remember what was in the envelope, although he regularly received brochures from the Black Star Line. Another witness for the prosecution, Schuyler Cargill, perjured himself after admitting to having been told to mention certain dates in his testimony by Chief Prosecutor Maxwell S. Mattuck. Furthermore, he admitted that he could not remember the names of any coworkers in the office, including the timekeeper who punched employees’ time cards. Ultimately, he acknowledged being told to lie by Postal Inspector F.E. Shea. He said Shea told him to state that he mailed letters containing the purportedly fraudulent brochures. The Black Star Line did own and operate several ships over the course of its history and was in the process of negotiating for the disputed ship at the time the charges were brought. Assistant District Attorney, Leo Healy, who had been, before becoming District Attorney, an attorney with Harris McGill and Co., the sellers of the first ship, the S.S. Yarmouth, to the Black Star Line Inc., was also a key witness for the government during the trial. Of the four Black Star Line officers charged in connection with the enterprise, only Garvey was found guilty of using the mail service to defraud. His supporters called the trial fraudulent. While there were serious accounting irregularities within the Black Star Line and the claims he used to sell Black Star Line stock could be considered misleading, Garvey’s supporters contest that the prosecution was a politically motivated miscarriage of justice.
When the trial ended on 23 June 1923, Garvey had been sentenced to five years in prison. Garvey blamed Jewish jurors and a Jewish federal judge, Julian Mack, for his conviction. He felt they had been biased because of their political objections to his meeting with the acting imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan the year before. In 1928, Garvey told a journalist: “When they wanted to get me they had a Jewish judge try me, and a Jewish prosecutor. I would have been freed but two Jews on the jury held out against me ten hours and succeeded in convicting me, whereupon the Jewish judge gave me the maximum penalty.”
He initially spent three months in the Tombs Jail awaiting approval of bail. While on bail, he continued to maintain his innocence, travel, speak and organize the UNIA. After numerous attempts at appeal were unsuccessful, he was taken into custody and began serving his sentence at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary on 8 February 1925. Two days later, he penned his well known “First Message to the Negroes of the World From Atlanta Prison”, wherein he made his famous proclamation:
||Look for me in the whirlwind or the storm, look for me all around you, for, with God’s grace, I shall come and bring with me countless millions of black slaves who have died in America and the West Indies and the millions in Africa to aid you in the fight for Liberty, Freedom and Life.
Professor Judith Stein has stated, “his politics were on trial.” Garvey’s sentence was eventually commuted by President Calvin Coolidge. Upon his release in November 1927, Garvey was deported via New Orleans to Jamaica, where a large crowd met him at Orrett’s Wharf in Kingston. Though the popularity of the UNIA diminished greatly following Garvey’s expulsion, he nevertheless remained committed to his political ideals.
On 4 October 1916, the Daily Gleaner newspaper in Kingston published a letter written by the Very Rev. Fr. Raphael Morgan, a Jamaican-American priest of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, together with over a dozen other like-minded Jamaican-Americans, who wrote in to protest Garvey’s lectures. Garvey’s views on Jamaica, they felt, were damaging to both the reputation of their homeland and its people, enumerating several objections to Garvey’s stated preference for the prejudice of the American whites over that of English whites. Garvey’s response was published a month later, in which he called the letter a conspiratorial fabrication meant to undermine the success and favour he had gained while in Jamaica and in the United States.
While W. E. B. Du Bois felt that the Black Star Line was “original and promising,” he added that “Marcus Garvey is, without doubt, the most dangerous enemy of the Negro race in America and in the world. He is either a lunatic or a traitor.” Du Bois feared that Garvey’s activities would undermine his efforts toward black rights.
Garvey suspected Du Bois was prejudiced against him because he was a Caribbean native with darker skin. Du Bois once described Marcus Garvey as “a little, fat black man; ugly, but with intelligent eyes and a big head.” Garvey called Du Bois “purely and simply a white man’s nigger” and “a little Dutch, a little French, a little Negro … a mulatto … a monstrosity.” This led to an acrimonious relationship between Garvey and the NAACP. Garvey accused Du Bois of paying conspirators to sabotage the Black Star Line to destroy his reputation.
Garvey recognized the influence of the Ku Klux Klan, and in early 1922, he went to Atlanta, Georgia, for a conference with KKK imperial giant Edward Young Clarke. According to Garvey, “I regard the Klan, the Anglo-Saxon clubs and White American societies, as far as the Negro is concerned, as better friends of the race than all other groups of hypocritical whites put together. I like honesty and fair play. You may call me a Klansman if you will, but, potentially, every white man is a Klansman, as far as the Negro in competition with whites socially, economically and politically is concerned, and there is no use lying.” Leo H. Healy publicly accused Garvey of being a member of the Ku Klux Klan in his testimony during the mail fraud trial.
After Garvey’s entente with the Klan, a number of African-American leaders appealed to U.S. Attorney General Harry M. Daugherty to have Garvey incarcerated.
In 1928, Garvey travelled to Geneva to present the Petition of the Negro Race. This petition outlined the worldwide abuse of Africans to the League of Nations. In September 1929, he founded the People’s Political Party (PPP), Jamaica’s first modern political party, which focused on workers’ rights, education, and aid to the poor. Also in 1929, Garvey was elected councilor for the Allman Town Division of the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC). However, he lost his seat because of having to serve a prison sentence for contempt of court. But, in 1930, Garvey was re-elected, unopposed, along with two other PPP candidates.
In April 1931, Garvey launched the Edelweiss Amusement Company. He set the company up to help artists earn their livelihood from their craft. Several Jamaican entertainers — Kidd Harold, Ernest Cupidon, Bim & Bam, and Ranny Williams — went on to become popular after receiving initial exposure that the company gave them. In 1935, Garvey left Jamaica for London. He lived and worked in London until his death in 1940. During these last five years, Garvey remained active and in touch with events in war-torn Ethiopia (then known as Abyssinia) and in the West Indies. In 1937, he wrote the poem Ras Nasibu Of Ogaden in honor of Ethiopian Army Commander (Ras) Nasibu Emmanual. In 1938, he gave evidence before the West Indian Royal Commission on conditions there. Also in 1938 he set up the School of African Philosophy in Toronto to train UNIA leaders. He continued to work on the magazine The Black Man.
In 1937, a group of Garvey’s rivals called the Peace Movement of Ethiopia openly collaborated with the United States Senator from Mississippi, Theodore Bilbo, in the promotion of a repatriation scheme introduced in the US Congress as the Greater Liberia Act. In the Senate, Bilbo was a supporter of Franklin Roosevelt‘s New Deal. Bilbo, an outspoken supporter of segregation and white supremacy and, attracted by the ideas of black separatists like Garvey, proposed an amendment to the federal work-relief bill on 6 June 1938, proposing to deport 12 million black Americans to Liberia at federal expense to relieve unemployment. He took the time to write a book titled Take Your Choice, Separation or Mongrelization, advocating the idea. Garvey praised him in return, saying that Bilbo had “done wonderfully well for the Negro”. During this period, Evangeline Rondon Paterson, the future grandmother of the 55th Governor of New York State, David Paterson, served as his secretary.
On 10 June 1940, Garvey died after two strokes, putatively after reading a mistaken, and negative, obituary of himself in the Chicago Defender which stated, in part, that Garvey died “broke, alone and unpopular”. Because of travel restrictions during World War II, he was buried at Kensal Green Cemetery in London.
Rumours claimed that Garvey was in fact poisoned on a boat on which he was travelling and that was where and how he actually died. In 1964, his remains were exhumed and taken to Jamaica. On 15 November 1964, the government of Jamaica, having proclaimed him Jamaica’s first national hero, re-interred him at a shrine in National Heroes Park.
Marcus Garvey was married twice: to Jamaican Pan-African activist Amy Ashwood (married 1919, divorced 1922), who worked with him in the early years of UNIA; then to the Jamaican journalist and publisher Amy Jacques (married 1922). The letter to his mother was to his two sons, Marcus III (born 17 September 1930) and Julius.
The UNIA flag uses three colors: red, black and green.
Schools, colleges, highways, and buildings in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, and the United States have been named in his honor. The UNIA red, black, and green flag has been adopted as the Black Liberation Flag. Since 1980, Garvey’s bust has been housed in the Organization of American States‘ Hall of Heroes in Washington, D.C.
Malcolm X‘s parents, Earl and Louise Little, met at a UNIA convention in Montreal. Earl was the president of the UNIA division in Omaha, Nebraska and sold the Negro World newspaper, for which Louise covered UNIA activities.
Kwame Nkrumah named the national shipping line of Ghana the Black Star Line in honor of Garvey and the UNIA. Nkrumah also named the national soccer team the Black Stars as well. The black star at the center of Ghana’s flag is also inspired by the Black Star.
During a trip to Jamaica, Martin Luther King and his wife Coretta Scott King visited the shrine of Marcus Garvey on 20 June 1965 and laid a wreath. In a speech he told the audience that Garvey “was the first man of color to lead and develop a mass movement. He was the first man on a mass scale and level to give millions of Negroes a sense of dignity and destiny. And make the Negro feel he was somebody.”
Dr. King was a posthumous recipient of the first Marcus Garvey Prize for Human Rights on 10 December 1968 issued by the Jamaican Government and presented to King’s widow. In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed Marcus Garvey on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.
The Obama Administration declined to pardon Garvey in 2011, writing that its policy is not to consider requests for posthumous pardons.
Rastafari and Garvey
Rastafarians consider Garvey a religious prophet, and sometimes even the reincarnation of Saint John the Baptist. This is partly because of his frequent statements uttered in speeches throughout the 1920s, usually along the lines of “Look to Africa, when a black king shall be crowned for the day of deliverance is at hand!”
His beliefs deeply influenced the Rastafari, who took his statements as a prophecy of the crowning of Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia. Early Rastas were associated with his Back-to-Africa movement in Jamaica. This early Rastafari movement was also influenced by a separate, proto-Rasta movement known as the Afro-Athlican Church that was outlined in a religious text known as the Holy Piby — where Garvey was proclaimed to be a prophet as well. Garvey himself never identified with the Rastafari movement, and was, in fact, raised as a Methodist who went on to become a Roman Catholic.
Edward Rudolph “Ed” Bradley, Jr. (June 22, 1941 – November 9, 2006) was an American journalist, best known for twenty-six years of award-winning work on the CBS News television program 60 Minutes. During his earlier career he also covered the fall of Saigon, was the first black television correspondent to cover the White House, and anchored his own news broadcast, CBS Sunday Night with Ed Bradley.
He received several awards for his work including the Peabody, the National Association of Black Journalists Lifetime Achievement Award, and nineteen Emmy Awards.
Bradley was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His parents divorced when he was two, after which he was raised by his mother Gladys, who worked two jobs to make ends meet. Bradley, who was referred to with the childhood name of “Butch Bradley” was able to see his father, who was in the vending machine business and owned a restaurant in Detroit, in the summertime. When he was 9, his mother enrolled him in the Holy Providence School, an all-black Catholic boarding school run by the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament at Cornwells Heights, Pennsylvania. He attended Mount Saint Charles Academy, in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, and then another historically black school, Cheyney State College (now Cheyney University of Pennsylvania) in Cheyney, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1964 with a degree in Education. His first job was teaching sixth grade at the William B. Mann Elementary School in Philadelphia’s Wynnefield community. While he was teaching, he moonlighted at the old WDAS studios on Edgley Drive in Philadelphia‘s Fairmount Park, working for free and later, for minimum wage. He programmed music, read news, and covered basketball games and other sports.
Bradley’s introduction to news reporting came at WDAS-FM during the riots in Philadelphia in the 1960s. In 1967, he landed a full-time job at the CBS-owned New York radio station WCBS. In 1971, he moved to Paris, France. Initially living off his savings, he eventually ran out of money, and began working as a stringer for CBS News, covering the Paris Peace Talks. In 1972, he volunteered to be transferred to Saigon to cover the Vietnam War, as well as spending time in Phnom Penh covering the war in Cambodia. It was there that he was injured by a mortar round, receiving shrapnel wounds to his back and arm.
In 1974, he moved to Washington, D.C., and was promoted to covering the Carter campaign in 1976. He then became CBS News’ White House correspondent (the first black White House television correspondent) until 1978, when he was invited to move to “CBS Reports”, where he served as principal correspondent until 1981. In that year, Walter Cronkite departed as anchor of the CBS Evening News, and was replaced by the 60 Minutes correspondent Dan Rather, leaving an opening on the program which was filled by Bradley.
Over the course of Bradley’s twenty-six years on 60 Minutes, he did over 500 stories, covering nearly every possible type of news, from “heavy” segments on war, politics, poverty and corruption, to lighter biographical pieces, or stories on sports, music, and cuisine. Among others, he interviewed Howard Stern, Laurence Olivier, Subcomandante Marcos, Timothy McVeigh, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, Bill Bradley, the 92-year-old George Burns, and Michael Jordan, as well as conducting the first television interview of Bob Dylan in 20 years. Some of his quirkier moments included playing blackjack with the blind Ray Charles, interviewing a Soviet general in a Russian sauna, and having a practical joke played on him by Muhammad Ali. Bradley’s favorite segment on 60 Minutes was when as a 40-year-old correspondent, he interviewed 64-year-old singer Lena Horne. He said, “If I arrived at the pearly gates and Saint Peter said, ‘What have you done to deserve entry?’ I’d just say, ‘Did you see my Lena Horne story?'”
On the show, Bradley was known for his sense of style, and was the first male correspondent to regularly wear an earring on the air. He had his left ear pierced in 1986 and says he was inspired to do it after receiving encouragement from Liza Minnelli following an interview with the actress. He is also thus far the only male “60 Minutes” anchor to do so, though male correspondents from other network programs, including Jim Vance, Jay Schadler and Harold Dow, later wore earrings on camera.
Bradley never had children, but was married to Haitian-born artist Patricia Blanchet, whom he had met at a museum where she was working as a tour guide. Despite the age difference (she was 24 years younger than he), he pursued her, and they dated for ten years before marrying in a private ceremony in Woody Creek, Colorado, where they had a home. Bradley also maintained two homes in New York: one in East Hampton, and the other in New York City.
Bradley was known for loving all kinds of music, but was especially a jazz music enthusiast. He hosted the Peabody Award-winning Jazz at Lincoln Center on National Public Radio for over a decade until just before his death. A big fan of the Neville Brothers, Bradley performed on stage with the bunch, and was known as “the fifth Neville brother”. Bradley was also friends with Jimmy Buffett, and would often perform onstage with him, under the name “Teddy.” Bradley had limited musical ability and did not have an extensive repertoire, but would usually draw smiles by singing the 1951 classic by Billy Ward and the Dominoes, “Sixty Minute Man.” In the company of his longtime friend Jimmy Buffett, Bradley died on November 9, 2006 at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan of complications from lymphocytic leukemia. He was 65 years old.
Bradley was honored in the state 2007 with a traditional jazz funeral procession at the New Orleans Jazzfest, of which he was a large supporter. The parade, which took place on the first day of the six day festival, circled the fairgrounds and included two brass bands.
Columnist Clarence Page wrote:
||When he was growing up in a working-class neighborhood in Philadelphia, his folks told him he could be anything he wanted to be. He took them up on it. … Even in those days before the doors of opportunity were fully opened to black Americans, Mr. Bradley challenged the system. He worked hard and prepared himself. He opened himself to the world and dared the world to turn him away. He wanted to be a lot and he succeeded. Thanks to examples like his, the rest of us know that we can succeed, too.
Bradley had been a season ticket holder to the New York Knicks for over 20 years. On November 13, 2006 they honored him with a moment of silence. On the 60 Minutes program after Bradley’s death, his longtime friend Wynton Marsalis closed the show with a solo trumpet performance, playing some of the music Bradley loved best.
Nancy Alene Hicks Maynard (1 November 1946 – 21 September 2008) was an American publisher, journalist, former owner of The Oakland Tribune, and co-founder of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. She was the first African-American female reporter for The New York Times, and at the time of her death, The Oakland Tribune was the only metropolitan daily newspaper to have been owned by African-Americans.
]Maynard was born Nancy Alene Hall in Harlem, New York City, to jazz bassist, Alfred Hall and Eve Keller, a nurse. She first became interested in journalism after a fire destroyed elementary school she once attended, and was unhappy with portrayal of her community in the coverage by the news media. She went on to attend Long Island University and graduated with a journalism degree in 1966.
Career The New York TimesMaynard began her journalism career as a copy girl and reporter with the New York Post. She was hired in The New York Times in September 1968, at age 21. Almost immediately upon her hire, she was sent to Brooklyn to help cover the Ocean Hill-Brownsville school decentralization controversy, which drew accusations of racism and anti-Semitism and resulted in a city-wide teachers’ strike and the establishment of new school districts throughout the city. After less than one year at the Times, Maynard was hired as a full-time reporter, becoming the first African-American woman to work as a reporter at the newspaper.
During her first few years at ‘The NEW YORK Times’, Maynard covered important race-related stories such as race riots and Columbia and Cornell University black student takeovers, as well as politically significant events like a memorial for Robert F. Kennedy. She later wrote for the paper’s education and science news departments, primarily on health-care coverage. In 1973, she spent a month in China analyzing its medical system, including stories about the use of acupuncture in surgical operations. Among her other story topics were the Medicare system, an explanation of the arrangement of whiskers on a lion’s face and coverage of Apollo program.
Maynard Institute for Journalism EducationMaynard and her husband Robert C. Maynard left their jobs and founded the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education in Oakland, California where she served as its first president in 1977. Since its founding, the institute has been credited with training and preparing hundreds of minority students for careers in news editing, newsroom managers, and other careers in journalism. Maynard served as a member of the board until 2002.
The Oakland TribuneIn 1983, Maynard and her husband purchased The Oakland Tribune, which was in poor financial shape at the time. The Oakland Tribune became the first and, at the time of Maynard’s death, only major metropolitan daily newspaper to be owned by African-Americans. The two served as co-publishers for almost 10 years together, and were credited with bringing a significant amount of diversity into the newsroom. After Robert C. Maynard died in 1993, Maynard sold the paper, which was experiencing declining revenues, to ANG Newspapers.
Personal lifeNot long after graduation, Maynard was married to Daniel D. Hicks, with whom she had her first child, her son David. After Hicks’s death in 1974, she married Robert C. Maynard in 1975 after meeting at a convention. He already had a daughter, Dori. As a couple, they had their third child, Alex.
Maynard, who made her home with partner Jay T. Harris in Santa Monica, California, died at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles at age 61 after an extended illness.
Robert Sengstacke Abbott (24 November 1870 – February 29, 1940) was an African American lawyer, newspaper publisher and an early African-American Baha’i.
 BiographyBorn on November 24, 1870 in St. Island, Georgia (although some sources state Savannah, Georgia) to former slave parents. Abbott was still a baby when his father, Thomas Abbott, died. Flora Abbott (née Butler), his mother, then met and married John Sengstacke, who came to Georgia from Germany in 1869. Sengstacke’s background was remarkable: his father, Herman, was a wealthy German merchant immigrant who in 1847 had purchased the freedom of a slave woman, Tama, from the auction block and subsequently married her; John, their child, was sent to Germany to be raised there. John returned to the States and met the Germian speaking Flora, married, and raised Abbott with a large family background in cross-race successes. John was a Congregationalist missionary who wrote: “There is but one church, and all who are born of God are members of it. God made a church, man made denominations. God gave us a Holy Bible, disputing men made different kinds of disciples.”
Abbott went on and studied the printing trade at Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) from 1892 to 1896. At Hampton, he sang with the Hampton Quartet which traveled extensively. He received a law degree from Kent College of Law, Chicago in 1898, but because of race prejudice in the United States was unable to practice, despite attempts to establish law offices in Gary, Indiana, Topeka, Kansas, and Chicago, Illinois.
In 1905 he founded The Chicago Defender with an initial investment of $25 (around $600 in 2010 terms). The Defender, which became the most widely circulated black newspaper in the country, came to be known as “America’s Black Newspaper” and made Abbott one of the first self-made millionaires of African-American descent. The unique point in history when the Chicago Defender was becoming popular allowed it to be successful. Tension was building in the years surrounding World War I. Blacks were migrating from the south to the industrial centers of the north that were in great need of workers to manufacture goods for the war. Also stories from previous migrants to the north were trickling down to the south and giving hope to the people of the south. Sengstacke, through his writings in the Chicago Defender captured those stories, encouraged people to leave the south for the north. In fact, he even set a date, May 15, 1917, for when The Great Northern Drive, a name he coined for the event, to occur. In his weekly, he showed pictures of Chicago and gave plenty of space for classifieds for housing and wrote how awful a place, the South was to live in comparison to the idealistic North, a place of prosperity and justice. This persuasive writing, “thereby made this journal probably the greatest stimulus that the migration had,”.
Sengstacke, was a fighter, a defender of rights. He had ideas and expectations of his race that he fought his whole life to help them become a reality. In fact, he created a list of nine goals, of which created the Defender’s Bible:
1.American race prejudice must be destroyed
2.The opening up of all trade-unions to blacks as well as whites.
3.Representation in the President’s Cabinet
4.Engineers, firemen, and conductors on all American railroads, and all jobs in government.
5.Representation in all departments of the police forces over the entire United States
6.Government schools open to all American citizens in preference to foreigners
7.Motormen and conductors on surface, elevated and motor bus lines throughout America
8.Federal legislation to abolish lynching.
9.Full enfranchisement of all American citizens.
The Chicago Defender not only encouraged people to migrate north for a better life, but to fight for an even better lifestyle once they got there. The slogan of the paper and number one of the Defender’s bible, “American race prejudice must be destroyed,” is an excellent example of what he thought the paper was capable of and what the ideal experience of an African American or any American should be.
Using The Chicago Defender, Sengstacke fought for his cause. He remembered the history of his nation, especially in his arguments concerning interracial marriage. He wrote, “Miscegenation began as soon as the African slaves were introduced into the colonial population and continues unabated to this day. . . . What’s more, the opposition to intermarriage has heightened the interest and solidified the feelings of those who resent the injunction of racial distinction in their private and personal affairs.”. He believed that if laws were to restrict one’s personal choice in a mate then in was in pure violations of the Constitution and the “decision of two intelligent people to mutual love and self-sacrifice should not be a matter of public concern.”. Abbott also published a short-lived periodical called Abbott’s Monthly. The Defender actively promoted the northward migration of Black Southerners, particularly to Chicago; indeed, its columns not only reported on, but helped to bring about the Great Migration (African American). Defender circulation reached 50,000 by 1916; 125,000 by 1918; and more than 200,000 by the early 1920s. A key distribution network for the newspaper were the African-American railroad porters (who by 1925 came to organize as the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters).
 Introduction to the Baha’i FaithAbbott met `Abdu’l-Bahá, head of the Bahá’í Faith, in 1912 covering a talk of his during his stay in Chicago during his journeys in the West and was listed as a frequenter of Bahá’í events in Chicago with his wife in 1924.
After inventing the fictional character “Bud Billiken” with David Kellum, Abbott established the Bud Billiken Club and in 1929 Abbott and Kellum founded the Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic.
After searching through several religious communities for an atmosphere free of race prejudice, even among “light skinned” African-Americans, Abbott officially joined the Bahá’í Faith in 1934 because of its freedom from such prejudice at the convention to elect its National Spiritual Assembly.
 Final YearsIn 1919, Illinois Governor Frank Lowden appointed Abbott to the Race Relations Commission. The commission would go on to publish the book, The Negro in Chicago.
Though some of the Sengstacke family became Nazis, Abbott continued correspondence and economic aid to those that accepted his family history, and also assisted the owners of his birth father—the descendants of Captain Charles Stevens—whom Abbott was able to assist during the Depression; even to paying for the education of children.
Abbott died of Bright’s disease in 1940 in Chicago, Illinois. He was buried in Lincoln Cemetery in Blue Island, Illinois. His will left the newspaper in the control of his nephew, John Henry Sengstacke.
 LegacyHis home, the Robert S. Abbott House, became a National Historic Landmark.
A biography was published in 1955: Roi Ottley, The Lonely Warrior: The Life and Times of Robert S. Abbott (Chicago: H. Regnery Co., 1955).
Ida Bell Wells-Barnett (July 16, 1862 – March 25, 1931) was an African American journalist, newspaper editor and, with her husband, newspaper owner Ferdinand L. Barnett, an early leader in the civil rights movement. She documented lynching in the United States, showing how it was often a way to control or punish blacks who competed with whites. She was active in the women’s rights and the women’s suffrage movement, establishing several notable women’s organizations. Wells was a skilled and persuasive rhetorician, and traveled internationally on lecture tours.[1
LifeIda B. Wells was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1862, just before President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Her father James Wells was a carpenter and her mother was Elizabeth “Lizzie” Warrenton Wells. Both parents were enslaved until freed under the Proclamation, one year after she was born.
Ida’s father James was a master at carpentry and known as a “race man”, someone who worked for the advancement of blacks. He was very interested in politics, and was a member of the Loyal League. He attended public speeches and campaigned for local black candidates, but he never ran for office. Her mother Elizabeth was a cook for the Bolling household before her death from yellow fever. She was a religious woman who was very strict with her children. Wells’ parents took their children’s education very seriously. They wanted their children to take advantage of having the opportunity to be educated and attend school.
Wells attended a school for freed people called Shaw University, now Rust College in Holly Springs. She was expelled from the college for her rebellious behavior and temper after confronting the president of the college. While visiting her grandmother in the Mississippi Valley in 1878, she received word that her hometown of Holly Springs had suffered a yellow fever epidemic. At the age of 16, she lost both her parents and her 10-month old brother, Stanley, the youngest. The 1878 epidemic swept through the South with many fatalities.
Following the funerals, friends and relatives decided that the six remaining Wells children should be sent to various foster homes. Wells resisted this solution. To keep her younger siblings together as a family, she dropped out of Rust College and found work as a teacher in a black elementary school. (The schools were racially segregated.) Her grandmother Peggy Wells, along with other friends and relatives, stayed with the children during the week while she was away teaching. Without this help, she would have not been able to keep her siblings together. She resented that white teachers were paid $80 a month in public schools when she was paid only $30 a month. This discrimination made her more interested in the politics of race and improving the education of blacks.
In 1883, Wells took three of her younger siblings to Memphis, Tennessee, to live with her aunt and to be closer to other family members. She found she could earn higher wages there as a teacher. Soon after moving, she was hired in Woodstock for the Shelby County school system. During her summer vacations, she attended summer sessions at Fisk University, a historically black college in Nashville; its graduates were well respected in the black community. She also attended LeMoyne Institute. Wells held strong political opinions and provoked many people with her views on women’s rights. When she was 24, she wrote, “I will not begin at this late day by doing what my soul abhors; sugaring men, weak deceitful creatures, with flattery to retain them as escorts or to gratify a revenge.”
On May 4, 1884, a train conductor Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad ordered Wells to give up her seat and move to the smoking car, which was already crowded with other passengers. The year before, Supreme Court had struck down the federal Civil Rights Act of 1875, which banned racial discrimination in public accommodations. Several railroad companies continued legal racial segregation of their passengers, especially when traveling in the South.
Wells refused to give up her seat, 71 years before the activist Rosa Parks showed similar resistance on a bus. The conductor and two men dragged Wells out of the car. When she returned to Memphis, she hired an African-American attorney to sue the railroad. Wells became a public figure in Memphis when she wrote a newspaper article for The Living Way, a black church weekly, about her treatment on the train. When her lawyer was paid off by the railroad, she hired a white attorney. She won her case on December 24, 1884, when the local circuit court granted her a $500 settlement. The railroad company appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court, which reversed the lower court’s ruling in 1887. It concluded, “We think it is evident that the purpose of the defendant in error was to harass with a view to this suit, and that her persistence was not in good faith to obtain a comfortable seat for the short ride.” Wells was ordered to pay court costs.
While teaching elementary school, Wells was offered an editorial position for the Evening Star. She also wrote weekly articles for The Living Way weekly newspaper under the pen name “Iola.” She gained a reputation for writing about the race issue in the United States. In 1889, she became co-owner and editor of Free Speech and Headlight, an anti-segregationist newspaper that was started by Rev R. Nightingale and was based at the Beale Street Baptist Church in Memphis. It published articles about racial injustice.
In March 1892, racial tensions were rising in Memphis. Violence was becoming the norm. Her three friends, Thomas Moss, Calvin McDowell, and Henry Stewart, owned the People’s Grocery Company. It was doing well and was seen as competitive with a white-owned grocery store across the street. While Wells was out of town in Natchez, Mississippi, a white mob invaded her friends’ store. During the altercation, three white men were shot and injured. Moss, McDowell, and Stewart were arrested and jailed. A large lynch mob stormed the jail cells and killed the three men.
After the lynching of her friends, Wells wrote in Free Speech and Headlight, urging blacks to leave Memphis:
There is, therefore, only one thing left to do; save our money and leave a town which will neither protect our lives and property, nor give us a fair trial in the courts, but takes us out and murders us in cold blood when accused by white persons.
Wells emphasized the public spectacle of the lynching. Over 6,000 blacks did leave; others organized boycotts of white-owned businesses. After being threatened with violence, Wells bought a pistol. She later wrote, “They had made me an exile and threatened my life for hinting at the truth.”
The murder drove Wells’ to research and document lynchings and their causes. She began investigative journalism, looking at the charges given for the murders. She officially started her anti-lynching campaign. She spoke on the issue at various black women’s clubs, and raised more than $500 to investigate lynchings and publish her results. Wells found that blacks were lynched for such reasons as failing to pay debts, not appearing to give way to whites, competing with whites economically, being drunk in public. She published her findings in a pamphlet entitled “Southern Horrors: Lynch Laws in All Its Phases”. She wrote an article that suggested that, unlike the myth that white women were sexually at risk of attacks by black men, most liaisons between black men and white women were consensual. While she was away in Philadelphia, a mob destroyed the offices of the Free Speech and Headlight on May 27, 1892 in retaliation for her controversial articles, three months after her three friends were lynched.
Wells next spoke to groups in New York City, where her audiences included many leading African-American women. Because of the threats to her life, she moved from Memphis to Chicago. Wells continued to wage her anti-lynching campaign and to write columns attacking Southern injustices. Her articles were published in The New York Age newspaper. Her writings continued to investigate the incidents that were referred to as causes for lynching black men.
Together with Frederick Douglass and other black leaders, she organized a black boycott of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, for its failure to collaborate with the black community on exhibits representing African-American life. Wells, Douglass, Irvine Garland Penn and Ferdinand L. Barnett wrote sections of a pamphlet to be distributed there: “Reasons Why the Colored American Is Not in the World’s Columbian Exposition” detailed the progress of blacks since their arrival in America and the workings of Southern lynchings. Wells later reported to Albion W. Tourgée that copies of the pamphlet had been distributed to more than 20,000 people at the fair. After the World’s Fair in Chicago, Wells decided to stay in the city instead of returning to New York. That year she started work with the Chicago Conservator, the oldest African-American newspaper in the city.
Also in 1893, Wells contemplated a libel suit against two black Memphis attorneys. She turned to Tourgée, who had trained and practiced as a lawyer and judge, for possible free legal help. Deeply in debt, Tourgée could not afford to help but asked his friend Ferdinand L. Barnett if he could. Barnett accepted the pro bono job. Born in Alabama, Barnett had become the editor of the Chicago Conservator in 1878. He was an assistant state attorney for 14 years.
Marriage and family
Ida B. Wells-Barnett House is a Chicago Landmark and National Historic Landmark.In 1895, Wells married Barnett. She set an early precedent as being one of the first married American women to keep her own last name along with her husband’s.
The couple had four children: Charles, Herman, Ida, and Alfreda. In her autobiography, A Divided Duty, Wells described the difficulty she had splitting her time between her family and her work. She continued to work after the birth of her first child, traveling and bringing the infant Charles with her. Although she tried to balance her worlds, she could not be as active in her work. Susan B. Anthony said she seemed “distracted”. After having her second child, Wells stepped out of her touring and public life for a time, as she could no longer balance her job with her family.
Later public careerIda B. Wells received much support from other social activists and her fellow clubwomen. In his response to her article in the Free Speech, Frederick Douglass expressed approval of her work: “You have done your people and mine a service…What a revelation of existing conditions your writing has been for me.” (Freedman, 1994). Wells took her anti-lynching campaign to Europe with the help of many supporters. In 1896, Wells founded the National Association of Colored Women, and also founded the National Afro-American Council. Wells formed the Women’s Era Club, the first civic organization for African-American women. This later was named the Ida B. Wells Club, in honor of its founder.
In 1899, Wells was struggling to manage a home life and a career life, but she was still a fierce campaigner in the anti-lynching circle. This was illustrated when the National Association of Colored Women’s club met that year in Chicago. To Wells’ surprise, she was not invited to take part in the convention. When she confronted the president of the club, Mrs. Terrell told her that the women of Chicago wrote to say that if Wells were to take part in the club, they would no longer aid the association. Wells later learned that Terrell’s own competitiveness played a part.
After traveling through the British Isles and the United States teaching and lecturing about the problem of lynchings in the United states, Wells settled in Chicago and worked to improve conditions for its rapidly growing African-American population. People were starting to move out of the South to northern industrial cities in the Great Migration. Competition for jobs and housing caused a rise in social tensions because of the rapid changes. African-American migrants also competed with an expanding wave of rural immigrants from Europe. , who were now in competition for jobs. Wells spent the latter thirty years of her life in Chicago working on urban reform. She also raised her family and worked on her autobiography. After her retirement, Wells wrote her autobiography, Crusade for Justice (1928).
She never finished it; the book ends in the middle of a sentence, in the middle of a word. Wells died of uremia (kidney failure) in Chicago on March 25, 1931, at the age of sixty-eight.
EuropeIda B. Wells took two tours to Europe on her campaign for justice, the first in 1893 and the second in 1894. While she was in Europe she spent her time in both Scotland and England, where she gave many speeches and newspaper interviews.
In 1893, Wells went to Great Britain at the invitation of Catherine Impey, a British Quaker. An opponent of imperialism and proponent of racial equality, Impey wanted to ensure that the British public learned about the problem of lynching. Wells rallied a moral crusade among the British. Although Wells and her speeches, complete with at least one grisly photograph showing grinning white children posing beneath a suspended corpse, caused a stir among audiences, they still remained doubtful. Her intentions were to raise money and expose the United States problem with lynching, but Wells was paid so little that she could barely pay her travel expenses.
Wells returned to Great Britain in 1894. Before leaving she called on William Penn Nixon, the editor of Daily Inter-Ocean. This was a Chicago paper that the local Republican Party organ and competitor to the Democratic Chicago Tribune. The Daily Inter- Ocean was the only paper in the US that persistently denounced lynching. After she told Nixon about her planned tour in England, he asked her to write for the newspaper while on tour. She became the first black woman to be a paid correspondent for a mainstream white newspaper. (Tourgée had been writing a column for the same paper.) Ida B. Wells Abroad.”
One article was “In Pembroke Chapel.” She was invited to speak by the minister C.F. Aked. He found it difficult to accept her accounts, but after traveling to the New York World’s Fair, read in local papers about the Miller lynching in Bardwell, Kentucky. He realized that Wells’ accounts were accurate. Wells was effective in speaking to European audiences. They were shocked to learn about the extent of violence against blacks in the US. Wells’ two tours to Europe helped gain support for her cause. She called for the formation of groups to formally protest the lynchings. Wells helped catalyze anti-lynching groups in Europe, who tried to press the US to guarantee the safety of blacks in the South.
Willard controversyIt was in England that Wells and Frances Willard first clashed. Willard was the secretary of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, one of the most formidable women’s organizations in the country, with branches in every state and a membership of over 200,000. Willard had used the issue of temperance to politicize women who saw organizing for suffrage as too radical.
Wells’ anti-lynching campaign brought the two to England concurrently. As Wells described the horrors of American lynchings, British liberals were incredulous that White women such as Willard–who had been heralded in the English press as the “Uncrowned Queen of American Democracy”–would turn a blind eye to such violence. Wells correctly accused Willard of being silent on the issue of lynchings, and of making racial comments which would add fuel to the fire of mob violence. To support her assertion, Wells referred to an interview Willard had conducted during a tour of the South in which Willard had blamed Blacks for the defeat of temperance legislation there and had cast aspersions on the race. “The colored race multiplies like the locusts of Egypt,” she had said, and “the grog shop is its center of power… The safety of women, of childhood, of the home is menaced in a thousand localities.”
In response, Willard and her powerful hostess and counterpart, Lady Somerset, attempted to use their influence to keep Wells’ comments out of the press. Wells responded by revealing that despite Willard’s abolitionist forbears and Black friends, no Black women were admitted to the WCTU’s southern branches.
The dispute between Wells and Willard in England intensified the mean campaign against Wells in the American Press. The New York Times ran an article insisting that Black men were prone to rape, and that Wells was a “slanderous and nasty minded mulatress” who was looking for more “income” than “outcome.” These vitriolic attacks in the American press swayed many Britons to Wells’ cause. “It is idle for men to say that the conditions which Miss Wells describes do not exist,” a British editor wrote. “Whites of America may not think so; British Christianity does and all the scurrility of the American press won’t alter the facts.”
Wells’ British tour was ultimately a personal success, and led to the formation of the British Anti-Lynching Committee, which included such notables and the Duke of Argyll, the Archbishop of Canterbury, members of Parliament, and the editors of The Manchester Guardian.
Writings (Southern Horrors and The Red Record)In 1892 she published a pamphlet titled Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases, and A Red Record, 1892–1894, which documented research on a lynching. Having examined many accounts of lynching based on alleged “rape of white women,” she concluded that Southerners concocted rape as an excuse to hide their real reason for lynchings: black economic progress, which threatened not only white Southerners’ pocketbooks, but also their ideas about black inferiority.
The lesson this teaches and which every Afro-American should ponder well, is that a Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give. When the white man who is always the aggressor knows he runs as great a risk of biting the dust every time his Afro-American victim does, he will have greater respect for Afro-American life. The more the Afro-American yields and cringes and begs, the more he has to do so, the more he is insulted, outraged and lynched.
The Red Record is a one hundred page pamphlet describing lynching in the United States since the Emancipation Proclamation, while also describing blacks’ struggles since the time of the Emancipation Proclamation. The Red Record begins by explaining the alarming severity of the lynching situation in the United States. An ignorance of lynching in the U.S., according to Wells, developed over a span of ten years. Wells talks about slavery, saying the black man’s body and soul were owned by the white man. The soul was dwarfed by the white man, and the body was preserved because of its value. She mentions that “ten thousand Negroes have been killed in cold blood, without the formality of judicial trial and legal execution,” therefore launching her campaign against lynching in this pamphlet, The Red Record.
Frederick Douglass wrote an article explaining three eras of Southern barbarism and the excuses that coincided with each. Wells goes into detail about each excuse:
The first excuse that Wells explains is the “necessity of the white man to repress and stamp out alleged ‘race riots.’” Once the Civil War ended, there were many riots supposedly being planned by blacks; whites panicked and resisted them forcefully.
The second excuse came during the Reconstruction Era: blacks were lynched because whites feared “Negro Domination” and wanted to stay powerful in the government. Wells encouraged those threatened to move their families somewhere safe.
The third excuse was: Blacks had “to be killed to avenge their assaults upon women.” Wells explains that any relationship between a white woman and a black man was considered rape during that time period. In this article she states, “Nobody in this section of the country believes the old threadbare lie that Negro men rape white women.”
Wells lists fourteen pages of statistics concerning lynching done from 1892–1895; she also includes pages of graphic stories detailing lynching done in the South. She credits the findings to white correspondents, white press bureaus, and white newspapers. The Red Record was a huge pamphlet, not only in size, but in influence.
Timothy Thomas Fortune (October 3, 1856 – June 2, 1928) was an orator, civil rights leader, journalist, writer, editor and publisher. He was born during slavery in Marianna, Jackson County, Florida to Emanuel and Sarah Jane Fortune.
Early lifeFortune started his education at Marianna’s first school for African Americans after the Civil War. He worked both as a page in the state senate and apprenticed as printer at a Jacksonville newspaper during the time that his father, Emanuel, was a Reconstruction politician in Florida. At one time he also worked at the Marianna Courier and later the Jacksonville Daily-Times Union. These experiences would be the start of a career wherein he would go on to have his work published in over twenty books and articles and in more than three hundred editorials a
EducationAlthough he was mostly self-taught, in 1875 Fortune enrolled in Howard University to study law. He changed to journalism after two semesters before leaving school altogether to begin work, in 1876, at the People’s Advocate, a newspaper in Washington, D.C.
New York journalist This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (February 2010)
Fortune moved to New York City in 1881 and began a process whereby over the next two decades he would become known as editor and owner of a newspaper named first the Globe, then the Freeman, and finally the New York Age.
Upon arrival in New York, Fortune began working as a printer. He became part owner of various publications, ultimately founding the New York Freeman in 1884. That same year he published a book Black and White: Land, Labor, and Politics in the South. Four years later The Freeman took the new name of The New York Age and set out to become “The Afro-American Journal of News and Opinion”.
In Chicago on January 25, 1890 Fortune co-founded the militant National Afro-American League to right wrongs against African Americans authorized by law and sanctioned or tolerated by public opinion. The league fell apart after four years. When it was revived in Rochester, New York on September 15, 1898, it had the new name of the “National Afro-American Council”, with Fortune as President. Those two organizations would play a vital role in setting the stage for the Niagara Movement, NAACP and other civil rights organizations to follow. Fortune was also the leading advocate of using Afro-American to identify his people. Since they are “African in origin and American in birth”, it was his argument that it most accurately defined them.
With Fortune at the helm as co-owner with Emanuel Fortune, Jr. and Jerome B. Peterson, the New York Age became the most widely read of all Black newspapers. It stood at the forefront as a voice agitating against the evils of discrimination, lynching, mob violence, and disenfranchisement. Its popularity was due to Fortune’s editorials which condemned all forms of discrimination and demanded full justice for all African Americans. Ida B. Wells’s newspaper Memphis Free Speech and Headlight had its printing press destroyed and building burned as the result of an article published in it on May 25, 1892. Fortune then gave her a job and a new platform from which to detail and condemn lynching. His book The Kind of Education the Afro-American Most Needs was published in 1898. He published Dreams of Life: Miscellaneous Poems in 1905. After a nervous breakdown, Fortune sold the New York Age to Fred R. Moore in 1907, who continued publishing it until 1960. Fortune published another book The New York Negro in Journalism in 1915.
Fortune and the Negro WorldFortune went to work as an editor at the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League’s house organ, the Negro World, in 1923. At its height the Negro World had circulation of over 200,000. With distribution throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and in Central America it may have been the most widely distributed newspaper in the world at that time. During his tenure at the Negro World, Fortune rubbed shoulders with such literary luminaries as Zora Neale Hurston, W.A. Domingo, Hubert Harrison, and John E. Bruce, among others.
Fortune moved to Red Bank, New Jersey in 1901, where he built his home, Maple Hill. The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 8, 1976 and the New Jersey Register of Historic Places on August 16, 1979.
Fortune died in 1928 at age 71 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Martin Robison Delany (May 6, 1812 – January 24, 1885) was an African-American abolitionist, journalist, physician, and writer, arguably the first proponent of American black nationalism. He was one of the first three blacks admitted to Harvard Medical School. He became the first African-American field officer in the United States Army during the American Civil War. Trained as an assistant and a physician, he treated patients during the cholera epidemics of 1833 and 1854 in Pittsburgh, when many doctors and residents fled the city
Early life and educationDelany was born free in Charles Town, West Virginia (then part of Virginia, a slave state) to Pati and Samuel Delany. Although his father Samuel was enslaved, his mother was a free woman whose parents were from Angola. His paternal grandparents were also African, of Gola ethnicity (from modern-day Liberia), taken captive during warfare and brought as slaves to the Virginia colony. The grandfather was a chieftain.
Pati’s parents were born in the Niger Valley, west Africa, and were of Mandika ethnicity. Her father was said to have been a prince. He was named Shango, captured with his betrothed Graci and brought to America as slaves. After some time, they were given their freedom in Virginia, perhaps based on their noble birth, and Shango returned to Africa. Graci stayed in America with their only daughter Pati. When Delany was just a few years old, attempts were made to enslave him and a sibling. Their mother Pati carried her two youngest children 20 miles to the courthouse in Winchester to argue successfully for her family’s freedom based on her own free birth.
As he was growing up, Delany and his siblings learned to read and write using The New York Primer and Spelling Book, given to them by a peddler. Virginia prohibited education of black people. When the book was discovered in September 1822, Pati took her children out of Virginia to Chambersburg in the free state of Pennsylvania to ensure their continued freedom. They had to leave their father Samuel, but a year later he bought his freedom and rejoined the family in Chambersburg.
In Chambersburg, the young Delany continued learning. Occasionally he left school to work when his family could not afford for his education to continue. In 1831, at the age of 19, he journeyed west to the growing city of Pittsburgh, where he became a barber and laborer. Having heard stories about his parents’ ancestors, he wanted to visit Africa, which he considered his spiritual home.
 Marriage and familyWhile living in Pittsburgh, in 1843 Delany met and married Catherine A. Richards. She was the daughter of a successful food provisioner, said to be one of the wealthiest families in the city. The couple had eleven children, seven of whom survived into
PittsburghDelany became a student of Rev. Lewis Woodson of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wylie Street. Shortly after, he began attending Jefferson College, where he was taught classics, Latin and Greek by Molliston M. Clark.
During the national cholera epidemic in 1833, Delany became apprenticed to Dr. Andrew N. McDowell, where he learned contemporary techniques of fire cupping and leeching, then considered the primary techniques to treat disease. He continued to study medicine under the mentorship of Dr. McDowell and other abolitionist doctors, such as Dr. F. Julius LeMoyne and Dr. Joseph P. Gazzam of Pittsburgh.
Delany became more active in political matters. In 1835 he attended his first National Convention of Men of Color, held in Philadelphia since 1831. He was inspired to conceive a plan to set up a ‘Black Israel’ on the east coast of Africa. He also became involved in the temperance movement and organizations caring for fugitive slaves who had escaped to Pennsylvania, a free state.
While in Pittsburgh, Delany began writing on public issues. In 1843 he began publishing The Mystery, a black-controlled newspaper. His articles and other writings were often reprinted in other venues, such as in abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison’s The Liberator. A eulogy which Delany delivered for Rev. Fayette Davis in 1847 was widely redistributed. His activities brought controversy in 1846, when he was sued for libel by “Fiddler” Johnson, a black man he accused in The Mystery of being a slave catcher. Delany was convicted and fined $650 — a huge amount at the time. His white supporters in the newspaper business paid the fine for him.
While Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison were in Pittsburgh in 1847 on an anti-slavery tour, they met with Delany. Together the men conceived the newspaper that became the North Star. It was first published later that year in Rochester, New York. The business was handled by Douglass, while Delany traveled to lecture, report, and obtain subscriptions. During these travels, he was frequently confronted by mobs opposing his views, sometimes violently.
In July 1848 Delany reported in the North Star that U.S District Court Justice John McLean had instructed the jury in the Crosswait trial to consider it a punishable offense for a citizen to thwart white persons’ trying to “repossess” an alleged runaway slave. His coverage influenced abolitionist Salmon P. Chase to lead a successful drive to remove McLean as a candidate of the Free Soil Party for the Presidency later that summer.
Medicine and nationalismWhile living in Pittsburgh, Delany studied the basics of medicine under doctors and maintained his own cupping and leeching practice. In 1849 he began to study more seriously to prepare to apply to medical school. In 1850 he failed to be accepted to several institutions before being accepted to Harvard Medical School, after presenting letters of support from seventeen physicians. He was one of the first three black men to be admitted there.
The month after his arrival, however, a group of white students wrote to the faculty, complaining that “the admission of blacks to the medical lectures highly detrimental to the interests, and welfare of the Institution of which we are members.” They stated they had “no objection to the education and elevation of blacks but do decidedly demonstrate against their presence in college with us.” Within three weeks, Delany and his two fellow black students, Daniel Laing, Jr. and Isaac H. Snowden, were dismissed, despite dissenting opinion among students and staff at the medical school. Furious, Delany returned to Pittsburgh.
He became convinced that the white ruling class would not allow deserving persons of color to become leaders in society, and his opinions became more extreme. His book, The Condition, Elevation, Emigration, and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States, Politically Considered (1852) argued that blacks had no future in the United States. He suggested they should leave and found a new nation elsewhere, perhaps in the West Indies or South America.
More moderate abolitionists were alienated by his position, and they resented his criticism of those who failed to hire colored men in their own businesses. Delany also criticized racial segregation among Freemasons, a fraternal organization.
As a response to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, in 1859 and 1862, Delany published parts of Blake: Or The Huts of America in serialized form. His novel portrayed an insurrectionist’s travels through slave communities. He believed that Stowe had portrayed slaves as too passive, although he praised her highlighting the cruelty of Southern slave owners. Modern scholars have praised Delany’s novel as an accurate interpretation of black culture. The first half of Part One was serialized in The Anglo-African Magazine, January to July 1859. The rest of Part One was included in serial form in the Weekly Anglo African Magazine from 1861-1862. This was the first novel by a black man to be published in the United States.
Delany worked for a brief period as principal of a colored school before going into practice as a physician. During another cholera outbreak in 1854, most doctors abandoned the city, as did many residents who could leave, as no one knew how the disease was caused nor how to control the epidemic. With a small group of nurses, Delany remained and cared for the victims.
In August 1854 Delany led the National Emigration Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Delany advanced his emigrationist argument in his manifesto “Political Destiny of the Colored Race on the American Continent”. The convention approved a resolution stating, “[A]s men and equals, we demand every political right, privilege and position to which the whites are eligible in the United States, and we will either attain to these, or accept nothing.” There were a significant number of women attendees who also voted for the resolution, considered the foundation of black nationalism.
Travels overseasIn May 1859 Delany sailed from New York for Liberia, to investigate the possibility of a new black nation in the region. He traveled in the region for nine months. He signed an agreement with eight chiefs in the Abeokuta region that would permit settlers to live on “unused land” in return for using their skills for the community’s good. It is a question whether Delany and the chiefs shared the same concepts of land use. The treaty was later dissolved due to warfare in the region, opposition by white missionaries, and the advent of the American Civil War.
In April 1860 Delany left Liberia for England, where he was honored by the International Statistical Congress. One American delegate walked out in protest. At the end of 1860, Delany returned to the United States. The next year, he began planning settlement of Abeokuta. He gathered a group of potential settlers and funding. When Delany decided to remain in the United States to work for emancipation of slaves, the pioneer plans fell apart.
Martin R. Delany, only black officer who received the rank of major during the Civil War.In 1863 after Abraham Lincoln had called for a military draft, Delany began recruiting black men for the Union Army. His efforts in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and later Ohio raised thousands of enlistees, many of whom joined the newly formed United States Colored Troops. He wrote to the Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton, requesting that he make efforts “to command all of the effective black men as Agents of the United States,” but the request was ignored.
In early 1865 Delany was granted an audience with Lincoln. He proposed a corps of black men led by black officers who could serve to win over Southern blacks. Although a similar appeal by Frederick Douglass had already been rejected, Lincoln was impressed by Delany and described him as “a most extraordinary and intelligent man.”
Delany was commissioned as a major a few weeks later, becoming the first black line field officer in the U.S. Army and achieving the highest rank an African American would reach during the Civil War. After the war, he remained with the Army and served under General Rufus Saxton in the 52nd U.S. Colored Troops. He was later transferred to the Freedman’s Bureau, serving on Hilton Head. He shocked white officers with his strong call for the right of freed blacks to own land. Later in 1865, he was mustered out of the Freedman’s Bureau and shortly afterward resigned from the Army.
Later lifeFollowing the war, Delany continued to be politically active. He worked to help black cotton farmers improve their business and negotiating skills to get a better price for their product. He also argued against blacks, when he saw fit, however. He opposed the vice presidential candidacy of J. J. Wright because he was too inexperienced, and also opposed the candidacy of a black man for the mayor of Charleston, South Carolina.
He unsuccessfully sought various positions, such as the appointment as Consul General in Liberia and lieutenant governor of South Carolina. He was appointed as a Trial Justice in Charleston. In 1875 charges of “defrauding a church” were brought against him. He was convicted, forced to resign, and served some time in jail. Although pardoned by the Republican governor, Delany was refused his old job.
Delany then supported the Democratic candidate Wade Hampton in the next election. Partly as a result of black swing votes encouraged by Delany, Hampton was elected. He reappointed Delany as Trial Justice. In 1874, Delany ran and lost an election for Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina to Richard Howell Gleaves.
In the later 1870s, the gains of the Reconstruction period began to be pushed back by more conservative elements. White Democrats replaced Delany in office. Paramilitary groups such as the Red Shirts suppressed black voting in South Carolina, especially in the upland counties.
In reaction to whites’ regaining power and the suppression of black voting, Charleston-based blacks started planning again for emigration to Africa. In 1877, they formed ‘Liberia Exodus Joint Stock Steamship Company’, with Delany as chairman of the finance committee. A year later, the company purchased a ship – the Azor – for the voyage. Delany worked as president of the board to organize the voyage.
In 1880, he withdrew from the project to serve his family. Two of his children were students at Wilberforce College and required money for tuition fees. His wife had been working as a seamstress to make ends meet. Delany began practicing medicine again in Charleston. On 24 January 1885, he died of tuberculosis in Wilberforce, Ohio.