“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”
— Isaiah 52:7 (King James Version)
By Bobby R. Henry, Sr.
Happy Birthday Westside Gazette!
When I use the term ‘I’ in this piece, I am referring to all of the families of the Westside Gazette, those who are here now and those who have crossed over to eternity. We toil every day to do the best that we can with what God has given us and what He has allowed us to do. Carrying on in the footsteps of those that came before us and standing upon their shoulders looking boldly into the future – most humble, grateful and exuberantly proud to accept that honor and most importantly the favor from God.
I could only imagine but one thing that could give so much pleasure and pain at the same time, and that is giving birth to a child. Like a hungry baby drawn to full breasts of mother’s milk with love and joy, that’s how we cherish what stewardship God has given to us.
It is with this love that I/we passionately put our shoulders to the grinding stone every day to carry on the legacy of the Black Press.
For 45 years, the Westside Gazette has tried to hold fast to the precepts and fundamental strengths and tenets of the Black Press while standing in the gap, “Pleading our own cause.”
That gap will forever increase as long as our readers, political leaders and clergy allow corporations to take from our readers their hard earned dollars and spend those dollars to advertise with the ‘Other’ non-Black owned media.
That gap increases when our own try to destroy us through defamation of character. That gap continues to increase as long as the church and the Black Press fail to communicate on the common ground of truth.
That gap will increase every time we allow businesses to use us for placing their press releases, but do not spend their advertising dollars with us.
That gap will increase as long as we allow our own organizations to disrespect us.
But like David, we understand all that we have belongs to God. We know that everything is divinely provided; it is incumbent upon us then to practice proper stewardship by giving back in all areas of our lives.
We continue as the Credo for the Negro Press states: “I Shall Be A Crusader… I Shall Be An Advocate… I Shall Be A Herald… I Shall Be A Mirror And A Record… I Shall Have Integrity… I Shall be a crusader and an advocate, a mirror and a record, a herald and a spotlight, and I Shall not falter. So help me God.”
The Credo, written by Journal and Guide editor P. Bernard Young, Jr., exemplifies a declaration to deliver validity, straightforwardness, and service to the Black people. At the time the Credo was written, the Black Press was the sole “Voice of the Negro.” As a supporter, the Black Press struggles devotedly for the Rights of Black people in particular and all people in general. As an advocate, the Black Press is a movement to terminate “by any means necessary” the motivations that mean to regulate Black people to second class citizenry. As a herald, the Black Press will continue to allow our cries from joys and pains to be a clarion call loud and clear and not just a muffled whimper that some may try to discard.
From being the “Voice of the Negro” in the premature days of segregation and reprehensible prejudice, the Black Press is still the source that validates the fact that Black life matters. Because African Americans are repeatedly negatively represented in the other media the Black Press mission will continue to be one of advocacy.
In the early period of the Black existence in America, admission to the white press was without to the “Negro.” As an outcome, African Americans started their own newspapers.
Out of the vastness of a seemingly hopeless situation, the voice of a people resounded and reverberated in the pages of the Black Press. In 1827, Samuel Cornish and John B. Russwurm established the first Black newspaper, Freedom’s Journal.
“We wish to plead our own cause. Too long have others spoken for us. Too long has the public been deceived by misrepresentations in the things which concern us dearly.” — Editorial from Freedom’s Journal
It is with this spirit and the belief in God that we carry on in the tradition of those that have gone before us; as we continue to “Plead our own cause”, we shall not equivocate, nor shall we fear, we shall march on!
Happy Birthday Westside Gazette!