In 1907, aspiring Black writer Edward Harleston, a security guard at the H.J Heinz plant, began publishing a broadsheet of his writings, which he called the Pittsburgh Courier. Three years later, 100 years ago, Hill District attorney and businessman Robert L. Vann took control of the failing venture to create a newspaper serving the Pittsburgh area in which he formally chartered the paper that became one of the most transformative publications in history. Not only did it report the news of African-American travails and successes locally, nationally and globally, but in doing so, it also made news. By World War II, the Courier had a circulation of more than 250,000, had offices in 14 cities and published eastern midwest and west coast editions. Vann was determined to have the Courier become a vehicle for Black political empowerment and economic and cultural improvement. COURIER EDITORS —Mrs. Jessie Vann with Courier editors.
Daily Archive: October 22, 2010
In the 1940s, the Pittsburgh Courier reached the height of its circulation. At its peak, the newspaper’s reach extended to 14 cities nationwide, employing more than 400 people. Russell Washington had a front row seat in the glory days of the Courier. In his position on the business side of the company, working with the newspaper’s finances, he had a behind-the-scenes view of the paper’s rise and temporary demise. A PIECE OF HISTORY—Russell Washington reflects on the 26 years he worked for the Pittsburgh Courier. (Photo by Rossano P. Stewart.) “We had offices in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City. We had contacts in other places around the country,” Washington said. “Everything was printed in Pittsburgh. We did all the printing. All of that was done by our own people.”
One of the most popular sections of the Courier was the religion section and for many years the lead writer and editor of these pages was Rev. Bert H. Logan. The late Rev. Logan was the man behind the Pittsburgh Courier’s religion pages during the 1950s and ’60s. He was a Baptist minister with a love for the Lord, people and his job. COURIER LEADERS—Rev. Bert Logan, religious editor, right, back row, stands with other Pittsburgh Courier staff. Standing from left: Photographer Charles “Teenie” Harris, Managing Editor Frank Bolden and City Editor and writer Ralph Koger. Sitting, from left: writer and columnist Hazel Garland; writer John L. Clark and columnist and writer Willa Mae Rice. “He was delighted to work as the religion editor for the Pittsburgh Courier because he had been in the religious field forever, so it was just fitting,” said his daughter, Sue Lockett. “He was the religious editor for a long time.” Reverend Logan also covered religious news and events in the local and national Black communities. He often covered church conventions and even after his position as religious editor ended, he would appear as a guest columnist in the section.
by John BrewerFor New Pittsburgh Courier The past 100 years have been marked with literally thousands of events, critical dates, accomplishments, failures and historically significant acts by African-Americans. Historians often record and credit those closely associated with the known facts about an event. They frequently overlook the “root cause” of the event. This article is dedicated to the Pittsburgh Courier newspaper first published in 1910 by a small band of African-American businessmen, clergy and leaders living in Pittsburgh. MEMORIAL—A large memorial was held for Robert L. Vann on his death in 1940. Above: Courier editors and Mrs. Jessie Vann stand with various city, state and national figures behind a military honor guard.
Elijah Daniel “Lucky” Miller was such a fixture at Homestead’s Second Baptist Church, it is doubtful anyone will surpass his 65-year attendance record. He was remembered there in a home going ceremony Oct. 18. Miller passed away Oct. 12 at West Penn Hospital’s Forbes Hospice. He was 104. In 1926 he moved from his native Virginia to work at U.S. Steel’s Homestead Works. Until his death, he was still collecting a pension. ELIJAH MILLER
Recently City of Pittsburgh police chief Nate Harper challenged community groups and churches to do more to combat Black on Black violence, so we asked Pittsburghers their view and this is what you said: “I don’t think some of them are. They are not involved in the things that go on in the neighborhood and are not looking out for the interest of the people in the community. They are somewhat cut off from the society yet are supposed to help heal the wounds of the people.”Collins AlleyneHazelwoodLandscaper
by Brandon A. PerryFor New Pittsburgh Courier (Part three of a four-part series from the Indianapolis Recorder.) “These are arrogant public officials who play by their own rules,” assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Bell said at a courthouse in Northern Indiana. Bell wasn’t talking about the Taliban or North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. He was referring to East Chicago Mayor George Pabey and his city supervisor, Jose Camacho. Last week, a jury found the two politicians guilty of conspiracy and theft. They were accused of using city funds and workers to renovate a lakeside property in Gary that Pabey owned.
by Sonya Ross BOWIE, Md. (AP)—On the corner of Collington Road and Route 301, a bright blue poster screams the Democratic Party’s wishful thinking at passing cars: “We’ve got your back President Obama.” The poster, not quite big enough to qualify as a billboard, reflects an unspoken bargain between Obama and Black voters: He asks, they deliver. On Oct. 7, Obama asked. Polls indicate many minority voters are discouraged and won’t turn out Nov. 2 as they did for Obama two years ago, yet a solid showing among Blacks could still swing several House, Senate and gubernatorial races, according to some analysts.
There is, perhaps, no better testament to how far this nation has drifted from the principles of individual liberty, free markets and private property than that those proponents of real reform of the Social Security system are now looked upon as radicals. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, running for his political life, accused his opponent, Sharron Angle, of wanting to “kill Social Security.” Of course, Harry Reid has a rather elastic definition of “the truth,” so his attack lacks a measure of veracity. Angle has taken the position that in order to save Social Security we must stop raiding the (non-existent) lock box and that “going forward, we need to personalize Social Security the same way that Harry Reid has a personalized account.”
(NNPA)—In 2008, we voted for change. We voted for policies that would protect individuals over corporations, we voted for a health care system that would work for all of us, and we voted to move this country forward—and we did it together. It is time that we do something together, again, and that is vote on Nov. 2. There is too much at stake to stay at home, quite simply the future of our economy, our education system and our nation are at risk. It is time for us to stand together to vote and ensure that OUR agenda gets through Congress. We did it in 2008, and we need to do it again in 2010.