The Memphis Association of Black Journalists and the National Civil Rights Museum are teaming up for what is described as a “powerful and informative panel discussion for Black History Month about the history of the Black Press.”
The session is set for Feb. 15 at the National Civil Rights Museum (NCRM), beginning at 10:45 a.m.
Panelists for the event are Faith Morris, the NCRM’s chief marketing officer; Karanja A. Ajanaku, associate publisher/executive editor for The New Tri-State Defender; Lynn Norment, 30-plus years as senior writer for Ebony Magazine; and Mark Stansbury, whose multi-layered career includes being an on-air fixture at WDIA Radio.
Kelli Cook, president of the Memphis Association of Black Journalists (MABJ), said it’s important for people to be educated about the history and evolution of the Black Press.
“As an organization made up of black professional journalists, MABJ wanted to take a moment to learn from the original voices of African-Americans who worked for the Black Press,” she said.
“We invited journalists to speak on our panel who spent most, if not all, of their career in the Black Press to discuss the history of these media outlets, why they are important today, and how the Black Press has evolved over the years.”
The Tri-State Defender was founded in November 1951 and now is branded as The New-Tri State Defender. The National Civil Rights Museum opened in 1991. Ebony first published in 1945 and W.D.I.A, the first radio station in the United States that catered solely to the African-American community, dates back to 1947.
Cook noted that there is a “renewed interest in the black voice.”
“ESPN has the ‘Undefeated’ and NBC created ‘NBCBLK.’ We want to take a look at how our traditional black outlets began and how they are adjusting to this new competition and why they are still necessary in this ever-changing world.”
Kyland Evans, a University of Memphis public relations major and president of the UofM chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, said, “This is a great chance for individuals to be informed about blacks in media . …Many people are not afforded the opportunity to attend panels such as this one.”
Cook wants people to “appreciate what the Black Press has and continues to contribute to the American story. … It’s huge,” she said.
“I want our membership to learn about all the various options available to them as journalists.”