Boy, bialys sure are delicious, especially when I can eat them secure in the knowledge that absolutely nobody in power is overstepping their authority for silly reasons.
Lemme just take a quick glance....
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"We are all imprisoned by the dictionary. We choose out of that vast, paper-walled prison our convicts, the little black printed words, when in truth we need fresh sounds to utter, new enfranchised noises which would produce a new effect.”
ninety something year old howlies chasing Bucky across Europe and despite his winter soldier training managing to keep getting the drop on him.
“A lot of great journalism in the United States and all over the world has been journalism that stood for something,” says Wallace. “Standing up to power requires standing for something. Standing for nothing at all in the Jim Crow era is like, well, we accept segregation.”
For reporters from underrepresented communities—reporters of color, queer and transgender reporters, disabled reporters, poor reporters—taking a neutral stance on their own humanity isn’t an option.
Wallace notes the long history of the black press—coined “a fighting press”—for its track record of pursuing stories that challenge white racism, reporting on issues and people that have been traditionally ignored by other news outlets, and for openly advocating for the acquirement of human and civil rights for black people in America. Newspapers by and for other marginalized communities have done similar work.
“You had LGBT papers doing the preeminent investigative coverage and human interest coverage of AIDS for years and years before mainstream papers covered it,” adds Wallace. “And those are papers that have been written out of official journalistic history as niche, or as advocacy journalism.”
The podcast, which will be produced by Ramona Martinez alongside Wallace, will feature a range of episodes about how seminal eras of American history, such as lynching and the spread of AIDS, were reported. It will also tackle contemporary issues, including the Black Lives Matter movement, coverage of transgender people, the #MeToo movement, and coverage of both overt and what Wallace calls “status quo” white supremacy.MORE
Here is the Kickstarter
From its inception, the black press has been fighting. Fifty years after the American Revolution, while the country built its wealth and global prominence on the basis of violent chattel slavery, free black people living in northern coastal cities, particularly New York and Philadelphia, came to sense that their ongoing struggle for human rights and dignity would need a platform. Black churches and social societies aimed at self-improvement were not enough to improve the conditions of a people. Newspapers of the time worked against them, by pushing negative stereotypes of both enslaved and free black Americans—as violent, uncivil, and unfit for basic rights afforded to other citizens. Journalists like Mordecai Manuel Noah, the editor of The New York Enquirer, a four-page tabloid, advocated for the transport of free black people out of the US to Liberia; in editorials, he cheered in anticipation of their untimely deaths on the journey.
Early ventures into black-focused journalism began with a collective of prominent preachers, orators, and abolitionists. In A History of the Black Press (1997), Armistead Pride and Clint Wilson II write that, within that group, a newspaper—owned, written, and edited by black people—emerged as a valuable tool “to give free persons of color a voice they otherwise lacked.” Like the newspapers and pamphlets that helped birth a movement for American independence, the black press would serve to unite people in a fight for their lives.
Freedom’s Journal, the first newspaper to be published solely by black people in America, debuted in New York City on March 16, 1827. In a front-page essay, the paper’s editors, Samuel Cornish, a reverend, and John Russwurm, one of the first black graduates of an American college, went to great lengths to distinguish it from existing abolitionist newspapers—controlled by white people who, they wrote, “too long have spoken for us.” Put simply, they continued, “We wish to plead our own cause.” Freedom’s Journal would seek, through the universal attainment of civil rights, education, and character development, to “vindicate our brethren, when oppressed, and to lay the case before the publick.” The men sought to use the newspaper as a tool in pursuit of a common goal—full citizenship and equal rights.
Danielle Belton, the editor of The Root, finds that the work of telling stories that cover the most vulnerable communities remains a job for the black press. Reports that appear on The Root and its competitors generate attention to problems—like white people calling the police on black people for frivolous reasons—that later become dominant narratives in the mainstream. The distinct moral view of black publications gets transferred, gradually, into universally accepted moral clarity. What that pattern reveals, Belton points out, is that “objectivity” is a false premise—too much gets missed in its name.
“There is this perception that the only person who can be objective is a white man, even though he comes with his own prejudices and background,” she says. “The notion of impartiality, that people can turn all their biases off and report purely, is a fantasy.” She adds, “The difference between The Root and a more mainstream publication is that we are honest with the fact that we bring with us our blackness, our femaleness, maleness, when we are reporting. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking The Root is a left-leaning blog. It’s a pro-black blog.” MORE
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