By: Darwin Campbell
“The people must know before they can act, and there is no Educator to compare with the (Black) Press” - Ida B . Wells.
As the African-American News&Issues celebrates 19 years of circulation in newsstands, churches, barbershops, businesses, homes and many other places across Texas, the newspaper’s mission to provide the best news coverage addressing current and historical issues affecting the community is moving to whole new level.
Publisher, Roy Douglas Malonson said 2014 marks the beginning of a new era because there is a New Sheriff in town.
“We are completely dedicated to being a uniquely different kind of Black newspaper covering all news without fear or favor,” African-American News&Issues Publisher, Roy Douglas Malonson said. “The core mission of the New Sheriff is to make a difference by providing bold new perspectives on news. The world does not need another Black paper that publishes the same news and data that thousands of other diverse papers use.”
According to Malonson, Black newspapers have slipped up and drifted away from the shoreline of the main mission to truly stand up, inform and educate the Black community about key issues affecting our people today. The New Sheriff will turn up the heat and restore journalistic “law and order” by holding all newspapers, career politicians, state officials, police chiefs, city councilmen, school board members, pastors and Black businesses accountable for their actions or the lack of action thereof. The new sheriff not only understands the words of Ida B. Wells about the role of the Black Press, but also is committed to working diligently to restore public confidence in that mission.
In 1996, The Malonson Company wanted to dedicate more time to community activism. With that in mind, Malonson envisioned creating a Black newspaper that was solely dedicated to focusing on Black perspectives and dealing with pertinent and relevant news affecting the Black community.
“This is the people’s paper,” Malonson said.“We welcome people from the Black community to bring us their concerns and issues. We will do our best to provide them with viable information and a voice to give their input and share their vision and concerns about issues affecting their lives and the quality of life in our communities.”
This new level of vigilance means that the New Sheriff will be the voice of the people first, the watchdog monitoring the community’s pulse and watching elected representatives with political score cards telling the community what they are actually doing for us.
The newspaper will also be the beacon that shines the light on issues and exposes serious discrepancies that affect our quality of life now and in the future.
Also, under the New Sheriff, the Black community can expect more serious news that matters to local communities and news that makes a difference and offers viable action plans and solutions that impact the everyday lives of African-Americans living in Houston, Austin, Southeast Texas, San Antonio, Dallas-Fort Worth, and other areas where our communities are.
The African-American News&Issues New Sheriff mission is serving notice on politicians, pastors, police chiefs, community and business leaders to step up and lead or get out of the way because too many have led Black folk backwards to the back of the economic and justice buses – a condition that is totally unacceptable.
New Managing Editor, Darwin Campbell said this a critical time in African-American history and it calls for drastic measures to educate, revive and invigorate a community suffering from hopelessness, defeatism and a nearly broken spirit.
“The time is now to step forward in a bold and courageous way to help teach and prepare the next generation to be proud of its heritage and advance the struggle for economic justice and freedom,” Campbell said. “Our generation has one opportunity to be that catalyst for change before it is too late. Now is the time to stand up and demand accountability at all levels of community leadership and end our relationships with those (in the community) who have failed in their responsibilities and proven their personal ambitions and motives mean absolutely nothing to the community as a whole.”
The three-fold strategy includes the education of the community on key community issues and African-American history, challenging the everyday problems that affect the quality of life and improvement of African-American communities and confronting leaders and status quo gatekeepers who have enriched themselves and done little to help ease the economic burdens and financial pains plaguing the community. Some of the items on the New Sheriff’s agenda includes examining the state of economic, criminal justice, race issues across Texas, the state of political representation, activism and movement movers. Also, the newspaper will hold accountable and call out politicians, pastors and others that are more interested in padding their own pockets, rather than doing the right thing for the community.
Progress in the African-American community lags behind Whites, Hispanics, Vietnamese, Native Americans and other races.
One of the main drawbacks that has slowed that growth is the lack of unity, selfishness and backbiting on part of some Black political and community leaders in the community. Another problem hampering progress is the unbalanced support and negative competing against one another. The lack of cooperation and divisive cliques that have formed in the Black community have hindered our growth and development.
A Black community is divided and adrift in hopelessness and apathy. Our historical focus will reignite our appreciation for our ancestors and also teach and give us insight into the best ways to go about forging ahead as a people rather than constantly chasing our tails.
In order to understand that New Sheriff mission, one must reach back into history to appreciate the burning zeal and dedication surrounding it takes to be a Black newspaper vanguard.
Samuel Cornish and John B. Russwurm, described it best when they said, “We wish to plead our own cause. Too long have others spoken for us.” The two sent strong notice to a nation and community that it needed a New Sheriff at that time and the Freedom Journal was born. It became the first African-American owned, operated newspaper published in the United States in 1827.
The Journal was published weekly in New York City from 1827 to 1829, according to information from the Wisconsin Historical Society.
The newspaper provided specific international, national, and regional viewpoints information on current events and contained strong editorials opposing slavery, lynchings, and other injustices against African-Americans.
It also published biographies of prominent African-Americans and provided historical listings of births, deaths, and marriages in the African-American New York community and circulated in 11 states, the District of Columbia, Haiti, Europe, and Canada.