Macy’s represenatives and Gov. David Paterson welcome NNPA to New York. they are from left, Bill Hawthorne, Macy’s senior Vice president, Diversity Strategies & Legal Affairs; Peter Sachse, chief Marketing officer; Kristyn Page, national director of Multicultural Marketing for Macy’s Department Stores; Ed Goldberg, vice president of External Affairs for Macy’s Department Stores; David A. Paterson–governor of the State of New York; Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., president, CEO and chairman of the board of the National Newspaper Publishers Association.
By Hazel Trice Edney
NEW YORK (NNPA)–New York Gov. David Paterson, recalling the principles upon which the historic Black Press was founded, welcomed the National Newspaper Publishers Association upon its 70th anniversary celebration in New York last week.
“We have to stop and think about the purpose of the organization and the credo among those who founded it. And I think that it needs to be stated and restated,” the governor said.
“We wish to fulfill the dreams of those African-Americans–men and women–both, the living and the dead, who struggled unremittingly and courageously and combined the people of other races and religions to build a viable national movement that was directed to achieve economic political and social justice….This is really what the original newspapers in the 19th Century, this is what John B. Russwurm and Samuel Cornish were dreaming about. And we certainly are approaching the realization of that dream.”
Paterson, whose candid speech was repeatedly punctuated with applause and laughter from the audience of newspaper publishers and friends gathered in a reception room at Macy’s at 7th Avenue and Broadway on June 16, the first day of the convention. Paterson drove home his point, crediting the Black Press for leading the way for justice across the nation:
“Anyone that does not think that we have come closer to receiving economic political and social justice is clearly not paying attention. And anyone who thinks we have is seriously misguided,” he said. Then he noted the racial atrocities, economic inequities and social injustices that still remain.
“The reality is that even though, for the first time in the last 18 months, we have had two African-American governors in this country at the same time and we’ve elected the first African-American president,” he said, “The reality is that the back-lash to this achievement has been astounding.”
He listed issues that must still be dealt with long since the founding of the first Black newspaper, Freedom’s Journal, by Cornish and Russwurm 183 years ago in New York City and the formation of NNPA in 1940.
“When you really think about it, there has been a decline in the standard of living. There has been a disproportional increase in unemployment. There have been problems of childhood diabetes and obesity leading to early childhood stroke and heart attack in our communities more than any others. There have been denial of opportunities. And here in New York, every single leading African-American elected official has been associated with some kind of investigation real or imagined,” Paterson said to laughs and applause.
Actually the governor’s statements were deeply serious as Black politicians across the nation have been disparately investigated, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
It has historically been the Black Press which, in its advocacy roll, reports the truth and even expose disparate scrutiny of Black politicians.
Patterson said, “This is really what the founding of Black newspapers was all about. One, it was to spread the news. But, also it was to advocate for opportunities. But, in addition, it was to tell the story the right way.”
In a cozy reception area with adjacent rooms and a terrace overlooking the city, Macy’s representatives warmly welcomed the Black publishers.
“I believe we’ve been associated with you for 45 of those 70 years. We are incredibly proud of that association,” said Peter Sachse, president and chief executive officer of Macy’s Corporate Marketing. We couldn’t be more pleased with what it has done for us as a company. And we actually humbly thank you for all of the efforts you have given to us over the years. Thank you very, very much.”