“The path of the Black Press and that of Freedom are inseparable and as such The Black Press holds true to the tenets of Freedom in all its forms.” – Marcus Murchison
By Doni Glover, Publisher
Unapologetically Black: Doni Glover Autobiography
(BALTIMORE – June 18, 2019) – I’d have to credit my late father, Donald Edward Glover, for introducing me to the vast oceanic wealth of the Black Press. At an early age, I can recall seeing The Afro, Black Enterprise, Ebony and Jet in our home. If you visited his funeral home, he had them there as well.
It was my father who also ushered me into becoming an Afro paperboy where I had what may have been the largest paper route in West Baltimore. It covered the Easterwood Park, Edmondson & Warwick, and Sandtown neighborhoods. I’d also jump on the #13 bus and sell papers there to customers traversing North Avenue.
Years later, I would even come to be a regular writer for the Afro, as well as the Baltimore Times and the Final Call Newspaper. The publishers and editors were very supportive, I should add, when I began Bmorenews.com. Jake Oliver, Anthony McCarthy, Joy Bramble, Dena Wane and Richard Muhammad were the winds beneath my wings in those early days. They believed in me and gave me a shot. I can never forget how it all started.
I’d also have to give credit to my media professor at Coppin State, Ronn Nichols. He truly painted the picture that students – African American students – needed to know if we were to, in fact, be effective in our career paths. Professor Nichols constantly reiterated the role of blacks in media and had no qualms explaining our innate obligation as black media professionals: to tell a more accurate story than the mainstream press and to do so … by any means necessary. He helped us to understand that if we do not tell our story, we leave it for others to do and that is never an acceptable idea.
The Black Press has a powerful tradition, one of which I am so very proud to be a part. John Russwurm, Samuel Cornish, Frederick Douglass and David Walker – in my opinion – were among the Founding Fathers. They were freedom fighters with ink pens during the era of slavery in America and their primary objective was abolition. Over time, the collective goal included equal rights. The world might never know just how courageous these people were, including Ida B. Wells. As I reflect on literary pieces like Douglass’ “What to the Slave is the 4th of July?”, these early black journalists’ pens served as deliberate and unnerving swords of truth in the dark face of hateful opposition.
For these ancestors and their bodies of work, I am grateful. Other legendary names, too, come to mind. Names like Ethel Payne serve as a reminder that despite the lynchings and the terrorism black folks faced in this racist country, there were these and other brave hearts who did the impossible with much less resources as their white counterparts. They were nonetheless effective.
One visit to the archives of the Afro is all it took for me to fully appreciate the work and the history of the Black Press. To see articles written in the early 20th century that captured important moments in our people’s evolution was nothing short of a feast for the soul. And to have a Jake Oliver, the former publisher of the Afro, help explain this history to me is simply a gift from God. To have a friend and colleague like Richard Muhammad remind me that despite any lack of resources, black journalists have a distinct responsibility to outwork the competition, for our voice is needed at all times on any and everything even remotely relevant to our cause.
So much of our history is buried. I can only imagine how powerful our people would be if we knew more about our struggle and accomplishments in this otherwise hostile territory. Again, I am so eternally grateful to have a working understanding of the role and contributions of the Black Press. I truly thank God for calling me to this profession.
Some of my friends share similar sentiments, like John Milton Wesley. Wesley, whom I consider to be the greatest writer in Baltimore, puts is simply: “Black press like Bmorenews is our sentinel; all else is wolf whistle.”
Wesley has been an encouraging voice from the beginning. He knew of my work with Dr. Doug Stanton at the Sandtown-Winchester ViewPoint Newspaper and he vividly recalls when I told him about my plans to start a news website. That was 2002. For any young journalists reading this, please know it is important to surround yourself with people who will push you and challenge you to be better than we were yesterday. It is important to also have people in our circle, like Wesley, who are proficient at one’s craft. Great leaders understand the significance of surrounding oneself with greatness.
Another friend who is a big supporter of Bmorenews is Stacy Smith. She and I do not always agree on the method, but we always agree on the goal. I thank God for her, too. She makes me want to know as much as I can about my industry. She does not respect slouches and she does not respect excuses.
When I asked her about her thoughts on the Black Press, she replied: “The quintessential essence of the Black Community is its Spirit; however its soul is not easily captured.”
Smith, the visionary involved in leading Southwest Baltimore’s Black community, added, “Hence the need for the Black journalist. Whether through the likes of Ida B. Well, Sojourner Truth or Frederick Douglass, it is through the lens of their heritage they are able capture and tell the true story of the Black Experience. To not have this lens is the equivalent of not having a Black Voice in the multicultural polity of the day.”
I must also share the views of Marcus Murchison, the most dynamic political scientist I personally know. We met in the mid-90s as students at American University and have been friends ever since.
Murchison told Bmorenews, “The Black Press has been and continues to be the soul of American Media; it is the truth bearer, upholding the 1st Amendment and the Bill of Rights long before the mainstream (majority) media.”
Murchison added, “From the beginnings of Freedom’s Journal in 1827 to The North Star founded by Frederick Douglass in 1847, to the ongoings efforts of The Chicago Defender, Bmorenews and other current media outlets: The Black Press is cut from a cloth that seeks to not only present the facts, it does so unbiased to race, religion and gender. The path of the Black Press and that of Freedom are inseparable and as such The Black Press holds true to the tenets of Freedom in all its forms. Support of the Black Press is support of the historical archives that are making news in modern times, such as revisiting the stories of the Central Park Five, The Tuskegee Airmen and Tuskegee Experiment, Black Wall Street and Hidden Figures. The Black Press keeps Black America woke and holds the mainstream media accountable by courageously becoming its conscience.”
My hope is that we all are mindful of the need for the Black Press. As newspapers are replaced by websites, the mechanisms of delivering the news are ever changing. However, those principles on which we stand will always remain the same. You, the reader, are therefore encouraged to always support the Black Press today … and always!