After 41 years, The Chronicle is still much needed

After 41 years, The Chronicle is still much needed
September 24
00:00 2015

Guest columnist: Lenwood G. Davis

In a previous issue of The Winston-Salem Chronicle, Ernest H. Pitt, publisher and founder, wrote in an editorial:  “We remain committed after 41 years.”

In the editorial, he gave the history of the origins and transformation of The Chronicle.  He pointed out the mission of the newspaper.  The newspaper has the same mission as the first African-American owned newspaper, The Freedom’s Journal, founded in 1827, in New York by John Russwurm and Samuel Cornish.

In their first issue, they stated the mission: “We wish to plead our cause. Too long have others spoken for us.  Too long has the public been deceived by misrepresentations, in things which concern us dearly …” They affirmed the rights and responsibility for African-Americans to speak for themselves.

The Chronicle also expanded on the mission of The Freedom’s Journal.  Its mission is “dedicated to serving the residents of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County by giving voice to the voiceless, speaking truth to power, standing for integrity and encouraging open communication and lively debate throughout the community.”

Today some people argue that The Chronicle and other African-American newspapers are obsolete and are no longer needed. Some people believe that the mainstream dailies cover major events in the African-American community.  Needless to say, the mainstream dailies omit so much of what is relevant to the African-American community.

The Chronicle and other African-American newspapers are still needed because they disseminate information in the African-American community that is often overlooked by the white press.  Many times the white newspapers do not report on the achievements and accomplishments of African- Americans.

Conversely, if The Chronicle and other African-American newspapers did not report the stories, they would not be known.  The Chronicle, like other African-American newspapers, have held faithfully to the mission of the first African-American newspaper.

The African-American community also has an obligation to The Chronicle and other African-American newspapers, to support them by purchasing their newspapers as well as supporting businesses that advertise in them. The African-American community must also hold The Chronicle and their African- American newspapers to the same high professional standards of journalism and reporting that they hold to other newspapers.

Black lives matter.  White lives matter. All lives matter.  The Chronicle matters and is needed.

Dr. Lenwood G. Davis, a professor emeritus of history at Winston-Salem State University, is the author of 30 books that can be found in 50 states and over 50 foreign countries.

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