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President Biden amplifies importance of Black Press of America

President Joe Biden (photo courtesy of @whitehouse on Instagram)

This week, during the NNPA’s annual Convention, which celebrated 196 years of the Black Press of America, President Joe Biden appeared via video to salute the NNPA and its member publishers on the occasion.

“Congratulations to the Black Press of America for celebrating 196 years of serving communities across our nation,” Biden stated in the address which aired on July 1.

“Ida B. Wells once said, the way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon the wrong. That’s the sacred charge of a free press. That’s the charge African American publishers have pursued for nearly two centuries. With every story you publish, you make our democracy stronger. Thank you for what you do to turn the light of truth wherever your work leads you. Thank you.”

President Biden has always maintained that the Black vote pushed him over the top in his 2020 election victory over Donald Trump.

And it’s never been lost on the president that the pivotal day in his campaign occurred in Charleston, South Carolina, on Feb. 26, when he sat down for a live roundtable interview with Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., the president/CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), the trade association of the more than 200 African American owned newspapers and media companies.

Joining Chavis at that campaign-turning event were dozens of Black Press publishers and media company owners, and the live stream of that event, followed later in the day by an endorsement from Democratic South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, catapulted the once slumbering candidacy all the way to the White House.

Dr. Chavis and outgoing NNPA Chair Karen Carter Richards, praised the president for recognizing the importance of the Black Press of America.

“The NNPA is especially honored to hear directly from President Joe Biden for his continued support and advocacy of the importance of the Black Press of America,” Chavis said. “As we celebrate 196 years of the Black Press, it’s always gratifying and encouraging to have the support of the president of the United States. In the wake of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions on civil rights, the Black Press rededicates our journalism to be a clarion voice for freedom, justice, equality, and equity.”

Richards who is the publisher of the Houston Forward Times, also thanked the President.

“To have the president of the United States take the time out to be a part of our convention is of course special,” Richards said. “But it’s also a testament to just how vital the Black Press remains. Collectively, as Black publishers and Black business owners, we are stronger than ever and the president’s message reinforces that.”

Newly elected board chair Bobby Henry, publisher of the Westside Gazette in Florida, said: “That message from President Biden to the association was one that signifies that he remains true to his pledge to value the role African Americans play and have played in this country. Further, acknowledging the role that the Black press plays in reaching our people and those sympathetic to our plight remains a critical component of the 2024 electoral strategy.”

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