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Norfolk Will Unveil Virginia Marker Honoring Guide’s Founding Publisher

A state historical marker issued by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources will be dedicated on December 13 at 11 a.m. to honor the work and contributions of the founding Publisher and Owner of the Norfolk Journal and Guide, according to a spokesman for Norfolk City Clerk’s office.

The event will take place at 700 E. Olney Road, where the Guide’s Administrative office and printing plant was located for decades.

Today. the Vivian Carter Mason Cultural Center sits where those facilities once existed.

On December 13, the dedication program and a reception will be held.

Remarks will be made by the current Publisher and Owner of the New Journal and Guide, Brenda H. Andrews; members of the Young family; city officials; and others during the ceremony. The paper is now 117-years-old, and has published continuously since its founding. It is the oldest African-American-owned and operated business in Norfolk.

In 1996, the State of North Carolina dedicated a similar historical marker in Halifax County on Highway 158 near Littleton, N.C. where Young was born.

He followed in the footsteps of his father, Winfield Scott Young, himself a newspaperman in Halifax County.

Young arrived in Norfolk in 1907, fresh out of St. Augustine College in Raleigh, to work as a reporter at the Lodge Journal and Guide, the newsletter of an African-American fraternal organization.

When the lodge went bankrupt in 1910, Young purchased the publication for $3,050 and expanded its scope, renaming it the Journal and Guide.

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By the 1940s, the weekly paper was printing local and national editions for Norfolk, Portsmouth, the Peninsula, and North Carolina. It was among the most widely circulated African-American weeklies in the nation, and Young became one of Virginia’s most influential Black citizens and a national spokesman on race.

According to Dr. Henry Lewis Suggs, who has written extensively on Young, the Guide was also the largest employer of Blacks in the South, employing hundreds of news carriers, distributors and newspaper staff workers. Individuals in their 50s and older in the Hampton Roads area recall being Guide carriers, delivering copies of the paper to various Black businesses, homes and other outlets throughout the region.

Young championed racial equality, urging better housing, schools, jobs, and municipal services for African-Americans.

He was a trustee of Howard University and Hampton Institute, and also chaired the advisory board of what is now Norfolk State University. He was a founding member of the National Newspaper Publishers Association.

Young was also part of the so-called Black Cabinet of prominent African-American business, civic, political and religious leaders who advised Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman on issues related to the Black community.

Young had three sons. Two of them – P.B. Young, Jr., and Thomas Young – were professionally educated and highly regarded photojournalists who assisted in keeping the Guide at the forefront of covering news related to race relations, Black politics, Jim Crow segregation, and employment discrimination.

During the days of racial segregation, other Guide writers captured exclusively the activities of the Historically Black High Schools and college sports, as well as civic and social news events.

Young instituted and led the editorial campaign in the Guide against the scarce, run down and slum living conditions of Blacks in Norfolk which resulted in fair and decent housing locally and nationally. A Norfolk public housing community and school, Young Terrace and Young Elementary, are named for him.

Young retired from running the publication in the early 1950s and his two sons P.B. Young Jr. and Thomas Young and other key staff members ran the publication.

When Young, Sr. died in 1962, his death was acknowledged by President John F. Kennedy.

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