Tuesday, February 11, 2014

BHM2014 - Charlotta A. Bass

Charlotta Bass (February 14, 1874 - April 12, 1969) was an American educator, newspaper publisher-editor and a civil rights activist. Bass is thought to be the first African-American woman to own and operate a newspaper in the United States; she published the California Eagle from 1912 to 1951. In 1952, Bass became the first African American woman to be nominated for Vice President, as a member of the Progressive Party. 

When the reigns of the California Eagle were turned over to Bass, she had something very specific in mind. Her purpose for theCalifornia Eagle was to write about the wrongs of society. The newspaper served as a source of both information and inspiration for the black community, which was often ignored or negatively portrayed by the predominant white press. As publisher, Bass was committed to producing a quality periodical. In her weekly column, "On the Sidewalk", begun in 1927, she drew attention to unjust social and political conditions for all Los Angeles minority communities and campaigned vigorously for reform.  In the 1940s, Bass's newspaper pioneered multi-ethnic politics, advocating Asian-American and Mexican-American civil rights.  Bass wrote her last column for the California Eagle on April 26, 1951, and sold the paper soon after. During her years of retirement, she maintained a library in her garage for the young people in her neighborhood. (My kind of lady!) It was a continuation of her long fight to give all people opportunities and education. She died in Los Angeles on April 12, 1969 from a cerebral hemorrhage. 


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