I remember one of the first times my picture was in the Pittsburgh Courier. I was attending a birthday party of a friend of mine at the YMCA in Homewood. A Courier photographer, maybe Teenie Harris, came and took our picture. I saved that newspaper forever. I bet if I look around, I could find it.
When I graduated from the Wheeler School my picture also appeared in the paper, again I was pleased and excited to be recognized by such a prestigious paper. Those pictures and having the Courier in our home each week was the beginning of a long relationship. In 1979, I interviewed for a sales job at the paper but decided to go into banking instead. Who knew that 22 years later I would circle back and end up as the Lifestyles writer for one of my favorite publications.
The Black History Month event on Feb. 1, presented by the University of Pittsburgh brought back so many pleasant memories. A “Courier Boy” used to come to our house every week with the newspaper. It was fun to look through the paper and see people that looked like our family. As a young adult, the Courier was always so important in our community. It covered everything, sports, music, entertainment, style and fashion. From time to time, there were special fashion inserts that highlighted some of Pittsburgh’s most popular Black models. All of the social events would be featured. I remember reading stories about the Girlfriends, The Links, The Squaws, The Frogs and Jack and Jill. The Courier seemed to be at all of the upscale events.
When I got the word that the film at this year’s Black History Month celebration was going to be about the Pittsburgh Courier, I jumped for joy. When the invitation arrived, I grinned from ear to ear. The invite was in the shape of a man’s fedora, like the one Teenie Harris used to wear. Tucked inside of the hatband was a note marked press. That note was actually the tri-fold invite detailing the evening honoring the Courier from 1907 to 1965. Then I received an e-mail inviting me to dress in vintage attire for the occasion, it made my fashion heart sing. I have always loved vintage clothing and have admired the courtier of classic movies.
You know the phrase “find work you love and it won’t feel like work.” For me that is what working at the New Pittsburgh Courier is like. I love it so it doesn’t feel like work. I know the popularity of the Pittsburgh Courier was during a time when we didn’t have cable or the Internet but it is still a newspaper of record. Embrace one of the last media outlets that the Black community still has. When you buy one paper, buy two and give one to a friend or a stranger who can’t find one. A subscription for a friend is a great gift. Let us know about your events in a timely fashion and we will do our best to be there.
Sometime during 2010 the New Pittsburgh Courier will celebrate 100 years, watch the newspaper for the date and details. I am working on my outfit already.
(E-mail the columnist at Debbienorrell@aol.com.)