….can be found here, right below the above discussion on Black Power Media!
Writing this while reading Richard Prince’s Journal-isms column that has people reacting to the idea that CBS’ Gayle King, one of the nation’s top Black journalists, did not know about the lives and work of Ethel Payne and Alice Dunnigan.
Admittedly, I’m not an average person when it comes to the Black press, so I can’t relate. As a ’80s teenager, I read Ethel Payne in real-time in the newspaper I started my career at, The New Jersey Afro-American! (“You know because you read THE AFRO” was the newspaper chain’s motto 🙂 ) My Afro’s Op-Ed page was “national,” not local, and it was added on to local editions like ours by the Baltimore headquarters. Payne had an Op-Ed column there, “Behind The Scenes.” And because the Black press is so self-referential, whenever she was honored, they’d tell her history. At 22, I had also read the 2nd edition of Roland Wolseley’s The Black Press, USA, a flawed-but-important book that shaped my decision three decades ago to become a Black media historian. Of course it mentions her, as does later a much better general-history book written by historian Clint C. Wilson II.
Yeah, I wish prominent Black people in public would stop being so honest about their ignorance. 🙂 Not knowing something and being rich and famous means you don’t have to know it, right? This means that Gayle King has never regularly read historic/legacy (20th century) Black newspapers!
It’s one thing when David McCullough admitted in 1989, as he did in his PBS’ American Experience intro on William Greaves’ Ida B. Wells film, that he didn’t know who she was, but another when one of us does it!
Don’t think our young Black journalism students are not peeping that because I’ve taught them at HBCUs and I know. (And this is part of a larger, systemic dumping of all media history classes because of J-schools’ well-funded digital focus. When I last checked, Maryland, my grad alma mater, stopped teaching journalism history as separate classes years ago.) Sadly, this public omission proves Gen Z’s irrelevancy point from its perspective.
P.S. Prince reminded me of this, so they’re really little room for excuses.
A Revolutionary For Our Time: The Walter Rodney Story.
Chicago: Haymarket Books, 340 pp., $22.95.
Quite a revelation about the power and pitfalls of complete faith in a revolutionary Tanzania and Guyana. The un-mentioned truth of this just-the-facts bio is that the Black world still produces people exactly like this in terms of energy and focus, but the difference is that they are completely and happily colonized. Reading this book from the 2022 prism was like absorbing very detailed speculative fiction. Rodney is the grassroots servant-hero personified, the Bizzaro version of what Harvard Law School will continue to turn out, thanks to its success with Barack and Michelle Obama and Ketanji Brown Jackson.
My God, who wouldn’t want to adopt Buffy, Jody and Cissy? As a lark, I started binging Family Affair on Prime. It’s a show I vaguely remember from early-to-mid 1970s syndication, since its span (1966-1971) reaches into my zygote-to-“I’m tree-years-old” period. This New York City sitcom was so goody-goody CBS added it to the list of popular rural shows it canceled–all those segregated Mayberrys and Junctions–so the network could enter into the Norman Lear years.
I admit to thoroughly enjoying the show, but I get CBS’ point. Star Trek is more realistic than some episodes. 🙂 Viewed from a 21st-century cultural mirror, the premise could be described as almost a monochrome Diff’rent Strokes: Bill Davis (Brian Keith), a well-off Westside playboy who is Hugh Hefner’s vision personified, adjusts to his dead brother’s kids, who are dumped on him and his valet, Giles French (Sebastian Cabot, also known as the narrator of the original Winnie-the-Pooh Disney animated classics). Davis’ and French’s smoothness-ness interruptedus, the upscale, not-motley crew quickly gel as a family. Although this first season is about the children’s trauma of being orphaned, separated and emotionally abandoned (“Do you really love me? Am I really staying here?” is a common and recurring theme), the tyke’s tears are always dried, their concerns forever found and met.
One particular episode had me on a steady chuckle. Through a misunderstanding, Buffy and Jody, the 6-year-old twins, are left on their own in New York City. They walk around by themselves, Buffy holding a $20 bill visibly in her hand, and nothing bad happens to them. In fact, a nice Latino sees the little darlings and immediately helps them find their way back to Uncle Bill. I mean, who wouldn’t?
Then there is reality:
No Buffys, Jodys or Cissys in Haiti or Cameroon. Wah-wah.
When I saw Biden with this kid, I subconsciously thought, “Whew! Buffy’s no longer in danger! Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming” 🙂