History of AFRAM
In the mid 90’s, chairman of the Acres Home Citizens Chamber of Commerce, Roy Douglas Malonson along with wife and partner Shirley Ann sought after a publication that would be by the people and for the people. Pursuant, Roy contacted several of the existing Black publications at an attempt to produce and generate a quality newspaper that would cater to typical residents of the African-American community; most of whom were often overlooked in other publications. Despite Roy’s continued desire to work with existing newspapers to create a true Black paper with a Black voice, none of the publications desired an interest in such a publication.
Eager and determined to provide a newspaper that would give African-Americans a voice to read within the community, the dynamic duo initiated the Acres Home Citizens’ News which was locally published by Malonson Company in February of 1996. The paper developed an audience as the “official voice of Acreage Homes reporting on schools, churches, businesses, and community. Within four months the community paper was noticeably a rampant success. The name of the paper was changed from Acres Home Citizens’ News to reflect the accurate name of the base home-front location of which the newspaper was established (Acreage Homes Citizens’ News).
In September of 1996, the name of the paper was changed to Citizens’ News which expanded its circulation from the Acreage Home Community to include other Black communities in North Houston including: Bordersville, Carverdale, Trinity Gardens, Independence Heights, Scenic Woods, and Settegast. As the newspaper was in its developmental stages it underwent various styles, designs, and formats which can be visibly noted from the premier introduction of the first volume up until its current style and design.
Another name change was implemented into the publication that began to make its presence known within Houston’s North side. In February of 1997 the name was changed from Citizens’ News to Acres Home Citizen with an emphasis of being the link to North Houston African-American communities.
In May of 1997, the company because of the rapid demand for such a unique style of publication initiated the inclusion of a much broader spectrum. As a result, the paper that had been originally formatted and designed to target the Acreage Home community upgraded its name to reflect its circulation area and accommodate the ever-growing demand for the neighborhood oriented coverage that it provided to its audience. Thus, African-American Neighborhood News evolved. As the paper continued to thrive in its enhancements, revisions and formation the need to report news within the Black community proved to be beneficial towards the ultimate focus of its design. However, the company soon realized that not only was ‘news’ pertinent to the Black community, but the issues that consumed it were just as vital. Ultimately, resulting in a name change that would reflect just that: African-American Neighborhood News & Issues; which not only reported news that affected individuals of its audience but issues that were often overlooked and swept under the rug by other publications. This format opened up the platform to present coverage of: injustices, accomplishments, acknowledgements and recognition to members of the African-American community that were not otherwise reported and featured in other publications within the same industry.
Additionally, within the same dispensation, October 1997 the Black Neighborhood Marketplace was introduced within the publication. This feature was an added avenue to local businesses and establishments with emphasis on African-American patrons as a target market were.
As the newspaper continued to increase its presence in the Houston area the name was changed once again to African-American News&Issues to suit and accommodate the expansion of the circulation that followed. Within a matter of four years the once community paper had become one of the widest circulated and read newspapers’ in the state of Texas with a Black perspective; increasing its audience to over a million readers. Over the years, African-American News&Issues has yield a reputation that has allowed its readership to be informed of entertainment, educational, local, state, regional, community, religion, business related news and issues.
Throughout the years, African-American News & Issues has seen a plethora of changes, styles, formats, and designs to say the least. However, the one main goal and objective that Roy and Shirley envisioned has not ceased. Particularly through the volition of Roy Douglas Malonson African-American News&Issues has never neglected its key vision and mission of reporting and presenting current and historical realities that both plague and affect members of the Black Community. A mission of which Publisher, Roy Douglas Malonson has held true to, “Our paper will keep dealing with injustice until it is balanced.”