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Black Press Observes 196 Years Of Reporting

By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Washington D.C.

The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) hosts its annual Black Press Week from March 16-17, 2023, with events and activities aimed at promoting and empowering African-American journalism.

The two-day event kicks off on Thursday, March 16, with the NNPA’s daily news show, Let It Be Known, hosting a mixer and broadcast from the Let It Be Known studios inside the NNPA’s national headquarters in the historic Thurgood Marshall Trust Center, located in Washington’s historic Shaw District.

Each year, Black Press Week provides an opportunity for journalists and media professionals to connect and discuss issues facing the Black Press.

The primary event, which takes place on Friday, March 17, will include the NNPA Board of Directors Meeting, held at the National Press Club’s Zenger Meeting Room, from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

In celebration of the 196th anniversary of the Black Press, NNPA will host “The State of the Black Press Luncheon,” at the National Press Club’s Ballroom on the 13th floor from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.

(PUBLISHER’S NOTE: In 1827, the first Black newspaper, Freedom’s Journal, appeared on March 15th in New York.)

It was a time in American history when Blacks in America were legally forbidden to read or write. Its publishers were two Black men, Rev. Samuel Cornish and John Russworm, who set forth as their mission to “speak for ourselves.” The mission “to tell our own stories” in the media continues to this day and is commemorated annually as Black Press Week by the National Newspaper Publishers Association representing over 200 Black media companies in America, including the New Journal and Guide.)

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The State of the Black Press Luncheon features a keynote speech from Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., NNPA President and CEO, who will speak about the importance of the Black Press in promoting social justice and democracy.

Dr. Chavis plans to highlight the role of Black newspapers in shaping public opinion and advocating for civil rights, and a call for continued support for Black media outlets.

Dr. Benjamin Talton, Director of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University, will also speak at the luncheon, discussing the Black Press Archive Digitization Project at Howard University.

The project aims to digitize and preserve historical Black newspapers, making them accessible to researchers and the public.

The event also promises to provide an opportunity for attendees to network and engage with Black media professionals from across the country, including publishers, editors, and journalists.

Black Press Week remains a vital event for the NNPA, providing a platform to celebrate and promote the achievements of Black journalists and media professionals, and to discuss the challenges facing the industry.

The event aims to empower and inspire the next generation of Black journalists, and to support the continued growth and success of the Black Press.

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