The Founding: The Twenties
The Louisiana Weekly is among the oldest newspapers that African Americans publish in the United States. The weekly paper published in New Orleans for 80 years, as of 2005, has chronicled the ups and downs of black people, particularly before the mid-1960s when mainstream newspapers began the slow climb toward progressive reporting of the affairs of blacks.
Constant Charles Dejoie, Sr., president of the Unity Industrial Life Insurance Company in New Orleans, invested approximately $2,000 and founded The Louisiana Weekly, the first issue of which was dated September 19, 1925. Dejoie, then age 44 and without journalism training, took the title of publisher but played no major editorial role at the paper.
O.C.W. Taylor, then a former teacher in public schools and a teacher training institution in New Orleans, encouraged Dejoie to finance the founding of the Weekly. At the time, blacks in New Orleans were without a newspaper or a mass medium to provide balanced coverage of their affairs. Taylor recognized the opportunity to serve and inform the black community, and he became the paper's first managing editor.
Dejoie also recognized that establishing a newspaper would provide a needed public service, but he also saw the paper as an investment opportunity.
This essay provides an historical overview of the Weekly, reflecting the personalities of its founding publisher, succeeding publishers, and various editors who have been the driving force behind the paper. It gives a sense of the mission, editorial philosophy, role of the newspaper, and issues editors believed were important to the black community in New Orleans.
For 80 years...
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...erview via telephone, Johnson was in New Orleans, author was in Bloomington, IN.
Lawrence J. Hanks, The Struggle for Black Political Empowerment in Three Georgia Counties (Knoxville: The University of Tennessee, 1990) 26.
Ibid., 33, 157.
"President Promises Aid Without Delay: Hurricane `Betsy' Worst in 50 Years," Weekly, 18 September 1965, p. 1.
Weekly, "Life Begins at Forty," sec. 2, p. 6.
Weekly, "No Evacuation Warning Given for Area: 9th Warders All Agree," 25 September 1965, p. 1.
Weekly, 2 October 1965, p. 1.
Ibid., 20 September 1975, sec. 1, p. 11. Also see Catherine Thomas, "The Role of the Southern Black Newspaper in Society Today" (M.A. thes., University of Mississippi, 1993) p. 47, 93. Interview with Henry B. Dejoie, Sr.
New York Times 17 December 1984, sec. A, p. 21.
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