Rev Jesse Jackson
Dr. Maulana Karenga
Rev. Al Sharpton
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver
Professor Michael and Rev. Marcia Dyson
Danny J. Bakewell Sr.
Dr. Frederick Haynes III
Professor Cornell West
Professor Charles Ogletree
Xernona Clayton, honoree
Garth C. Reeves, honoree
By holding its 2011 annual convention in the city of Chicago, the NNPA is paying tribute to its founder, John H. Sengstacke and the Chicago Defender.
By Yussuf J. Simmonds
Sentinel Managing Editor
In putting on the annual convention, the NNPA is reaching back in history to honor those who have pioneered the way for the publishers (men and women), in the words of Cornish and Russwurm “… to plead our own cause.”
It was Samuel E. Cornish and John B. Russwurm who had the vision to publish the first issue of Freedom’s Journal in March 1827. And it was because of the trail they blazed that John H. Sengstacke, publisher of the Chicago Defender, was able to establish the NNPA in 1940, over a century later.
Now in 2011, with over two hundred member-publishers, the NNPA can reach out and advocate for it membership, readership and constituents, and indeed for all Black people collectively in a unified and meaningful way. The lineup of those convened in the windy city to participate in this historic gathering represents the best of Black America.
They consist of publishers and journalists, scholars and professors, businessmen and businesswomen, lay-persons and preachers, politicians and entertainers; all coming together in support of the Black Press of America.
Some of those scheduled to attend are: Benjamin Chavis, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, George Curry, Rev. Marcia Dyson, Professor Michael Dyson, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Benjamin Jealous, Dr. Maulana Karenga, Professor Charles Ogletree, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Professor Cornel West. Dr. Frederick Haynes of Friendship-West Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas will give the opening invocation and the legendary Temptations will provide the entertainment.
One of the highlights of the convention will be the Legacy of Excellence Award banquet where Xernona Clayton and Garth C. Reeves will received NNPA’s most prestigious award. Clayton is the founder of the Trumpet Awards, an event that highlights the accomplishments and contributions of African Americans. Reeves is the publisher emeritus of the Miami Times, one of the premier Black newspapers in the state of Florida.
NNPA Chairman Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel and the L.A. Watts Times has stated “A Simple Truth” that if Black publishers remain unified and truly stick together, we are a powerful force in America to be reckoned with–like no other.
In welcoming the conventioneers, the host publishers have shed some light on their city’s unique role in advancing the cause of the Black Press, in addition to NNPA founder’s role. They issued the following statement in part ‘Chicago has a great political, spiritual, economic and journalistic history and it is here that news industry giants from Robert Sengstacke Abbott of the Chicago Defender to John H. Johnson of Ebony/Jet and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Muhammad Speaks built the trust, showed the value and exerted influence over the affairs of Black America and impacted the world…’
Notwithstanding that it is here (Chicago), that nurtured and produced, America’s first Black president, Barack Obama.