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Black History
 

The Black Newspaper is Shreveport
by Professor Willie Burton-Southern University

     The black newspaper has always been an instrument to get information of importance to their society.  Only black newspapers printed positive information concerning the black community.  Newspaper published by whites only printed negative things about blacks, especially stories about robberies, killings, and rapes.  The black newsmen and editors often worked under threats of lynching, beatings, and economical or political reprisals.

     The earliest black newspaper issued in Shreveport was the Negro Gazette, first published in 1879 by Dr. R.I. Cromwell, who later moved to Texarkana.  The 1899 edition of Chittenden’s Shreveport City Directory listed three black Newspapers:  The Enterprise, the Shreveport Watchman, and the Weekly Advocate.  The Enterprise, located at 207 Milam Street, was published every Sunday. Robert Thompson, one of the proprietors, lived at 1023 Howell Street.  The Shreveport Watchman’s office was located at 521 Louisiana.  S.H.Ralph issued the paper weekly.  The Weekly Advocate had an office at 815 Sprague Street.  These papers were short-lived, possibly from lack of financial support, but they provided a vital service for the black community while they lasted.

     The oldest black newspaper in Shreveport that is still in existence is the Shreveport Sun.  The Sun was first publisher in Shreveport on November 6, 1920 by Melvin Lee Collins, Sr. Collins receive is college degree from Straight University in New Orleans, Louisiana.  He came back to Shreveport to teach in the early 1900’s and became the first black teacher in Caddo Parish to hold an undergraduate in education.  He later became principal of the 13th District Normal and Collegiate Institute.  However, his love for journalism motivated him to resign from teaching and start Shreveport’s first black weekly newspaper, the Shreveport Sun. The paper moved to 1030 Texas Avenue in the early 1920”s.

      Collins had a difficult time raising money to keep the newspaper going.  Like other black newspapers, the Sun had to depend largely on circulation revenue for income.  Advertisers were largely black-owned businesses or white-owned stores that depended 100 percent upon Negro trade.  There were very few national ads, and these were largely companies that manufactured cosmetics for skin and hair.

     Local African American newspapers were all weekly papers except the Watchman, which was a daily and weekly.  Among the local papers were:  Afro-American- 1930 – 1932; Christian Messenger –1903 –1906; Councilor –1936; Enterprise-1897-1922; Lantern-1992; Louisiana Post Dispatch-1935; Louisiana Searchlight – 1905-1915; Louisiana Standard – 1905-1915; Messenger – 1901-1905; New Era – 1919 – 1924; News – Enterprise – 1897 – 1926; Record – 1896 –1901; Royal Banner – 1911 – 1921; Shreveport Ebony Times – 1972 –1983; Shreveport Sun- 1920-Present; Shreveport Community Ebony Tribune – 1994; Southern Star – 1904-1927; World – 1940-1946.

 

 

 



                                                                                                                                        

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