Bernie Hayes

Better information on the community’s awareness and concerns are of vital importance to every ethnic group, particularly African Americans. The St. Louis American and other print media published by black people keep us informed on the unique and combined contributions of race, ethnicity, income, and family structure.

Malcolm X said, “The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent.” Media has been a tool that influences the minds, ideas, behaviors, and attitudes of the masses. Malcolm X himself was one of the most media-savvy black leaders of the period, readily employing television, magazines, and newspapers to spread the ideology of Islam and Black Nationalism.

By the time of his assassination in February 1965, he had appeared on scores of television programs, arguably more than any other civil rights figure including Martin Luther King Jr. This media outreach helped build membership in the Nation of Islam from 500 in 1952 to 30,000 in 1963 and enabled its leaders to influence African-American public opinion for decades to come.

Today Malcolm X would understand the Black Press is used by African Americans as a tool for survival. They print the truth, and African Americans need truth and facts. We need to know what is really behind the attacks on Kim Gardner and other public servants who function in our interest. And we must understand the ways in which ethnic minorities are portrayed in the press and why.

Bill Kovach wrote, “This desire that information be truthful is elemental. Since news is the material that people use to learn and think about the world beyond themselves, the most important quality is that it be useable and reliable.” This is why you must read and support The American.

Dr. Carter G. Woodson wrote: “The thought of the inferiority of the Negro is drilled into him in almost every class he enters and in almost every book he studies. As another has well said, to handicap a student by teaching him that his black face is a curse and that his struggle to change his condition is hopeless, is the worst sort of lynching.” The American seeks to remedy this stigma.

This publication reveals that black Americans make significant contributions to every segment of American society, such as in business, arts and entertainment, science, literature, and politics and law. Though issues of discrimination remain, African Americans endure, achieve, and lead, and we become aware of our achievements through the Black Press.

Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday night at 10 p.m. and Sunday evenings at 5:30 p.m. on NLEC-TV Ch. 24.2. I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369, on e-mail at berhay@swbell.net or on Twitter @berhay.

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