12019-03-12T23:58:24+00:00Stanford University Pressaf84c3e11fe030c51c61bbd190fa82a3a1a1282415plainpublished2019-10-22T18:31:42+00:00Production Editor7a3dce28be212b1ba5b4a7a50f3d6a8d76b58c74The 1944 annual meeting of the National Negro Press Association adopted a “Credo for the Negro Press.” The Credo begins:
I Shall Be a Crusader... I Shall Be an Advocate… I Shall Be a Herald... I Shall Be a Mirror and a Record...
This special mission figures prominently in coverage of racial violence in the black press. When black newspapers reported on lynchings, police brutality, and other everyday acts of racial violence, they did not simply give an account of what transpired. Black reporters and editors urged local and federal authorities to defend the rights of black people and to bring perpetrators to justice; they investigated criminal acts that law enforcement agencies either ignored or refused to probe; and they expressed outrage, on behalf of the black community, that these acts of racial terror continued to take place in America. The black press also recorded the names of victims, entering them into the historical record and leaving a paper trail of cases, some of which scholars, reporters, and lawyers are still trying to solve. African-American newspapers recorded murders that have become well known—such as the lynching of Emmett Till and the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, killing four young girls, Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley—as well as lesser known crimes that are no less disturbing, including the bombings of the homes of the Short family in Fontana, California, and the Moore family in Mims, Florida. It would have been possible to fill Black Quotidian with only examples of the daily racial terror black people have fought against. I elected not to do this because I wanted to illustrate how joy and the threat of violence have always been part of the quotidian lives of black people in America.
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