Black History Month 2021
WJPS Celebrates Black Journalists
John Brown Russwurm
John Brown Russwurm (1799-1851) was the third black man graduated from an American college. Russwurm became a teacher in Boston, then in 1827, he joined a group of free black men in New York City to found Freedom's Journal, the first black owned and operated newspaper in the United States. Russwurm was co-editor until September of that year, when he became the sole editor.
Ida B. Wells-Barnett
Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931) In 1886, Wells-Barnett lost her teaching job after she criticized conditions in the Memphis schools. She had written a few articles for newspapers and decided to turn to journalism full time. Three years later, she bought a share in the Memphis Free Speech and Headlight and was appointed its editor. She was the first female co-owner and editor of a black newspaper in the US. In 2020, Wells-Barnett was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in recognition of her “outstanding and courageous” reporting about lynching.
Ted Poston (1906-1974) Poston became the first black reporter hired to work at the New York Post, a job he held for over 30 years.He worked for the Office of War Information (OWI) News Bureau in Washington, DC under President Roosevelt. Mr. Poston supported and encouraged aspiring black journalists, earning him the nickname, "Dean of Black Journalists."
Zelda "Jackie" Ormes
Zelda "Jackie" Ormes (1911-1985) Ormes was the first black woman newspaper cartoonist. She pushed the art of the newspaper cartoon and comic strip in a new direction with her smart, beautiful, handsome, and fashionable Black characters that challenged the stereotypes and caricatures in the mainstream press.
Robert C. Maynard
Robert C. Maynard (1937-1993) Maynard became the first black man to own a major metropolitan newspaper after purchasing the Oakland Tribune in 1983. He was the co-founder of the Institute for Journalism Education, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to expanding opportunities for minority journalists at the nation's newspapers. In the past 20 years, it has trained hundreds of America's journalists of color, more than any other organization.
Max Robinson (1939-1988) became the first black man to anchor a local news broadcast in 1969 for Eyewitness News in D.C. He then came to national attention in 1978 when he became a co-anchor of the ABC News weeknight program ''World News Tonight" as the first black anchor of a national news program. He received two Emmys and was a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists.
Carole Simpson (born 1940) Simpson is a three-time Emmy award-winning television journalist. She was the first black woman to anchor a major network newscast and to moderate the first town hall presidential debate, in 1992.She was the first woman to broadcast radio news in Chicago, and the first black woman to anchor a major television network evening newscast 1988 on ABC News' “World News Tonight” weekend edition.