In a special tribute at California State University, San Bernardino, community and academic leaders celebrated 40 years of publishing history with The Black Voice News. All past and future editions of The Black Voice News will be preserved and archived by The John M. Pfau Library on the Cal State campus.
The Black Voice Foundation, Cal State San Bernardino in conjunction with The Community Foundation, dedicated the 40 year history of The Black Voice News archives to preserve the past, develop interns and honor the legacy of the Inland Empire’s Black Press. For those who wish to support, contact thecommunityfoundation.net Key leaders who spoke at the archive dedication included, Assembly member Wilmer Amina Carter, CSUSB President Dr. Albert Karnig, San Bernardino County Supervisor Josie Gonzales, Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge, Councilman Rikke Van Johnson and Marta Brown (widow of the late Congressman George Brown).
The Brown family was represented by Mr. and Mrs Hardy Brown, co-publishers, Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds, BPC Mediaworks and Hardy Brown II, Black Voice Foundation. Established in 1972, the news- paper was originally called The Voice and published by students at the University of California, Riverside.
Co-publisher Hardy Brown Sr. warmed up the event by relating how he and his wife would struggle to get the paper out to the community in those early days. He recalled the routine of tying up the newspaper bundles before the sun came up for delivery and one of his drops was at a funeral home. The routine was to place the papers in the back of the hearse for the funeral home.
Brown stated that on one occasion when he and his wife went to drop the papers off in the back of the hearse, they realized that the hearse had a passenger. This one in a wooden box! The audience roared with laughter.
All kidding aside, the legacy of the Black Voice News plays such an important role in the community. The tradition of the Black Press is rooted in community history. To excavate the stories of a people, woven by common thread, observed through a cultural lens. Dr. Karnig stated: “It’s not only Black history that gets told, it’s the 40 year history of an entire region.”
Preservation is critical because we know that not all African American publications survive. Regardless of perspective, these early newspapers were written against the backdrop of the era. In that context, we gain unique insight into who we were and what we have become. Co-publisher Cheryl Brown, who is currently running for the 47th Assembly District seat, has dedicated so much of her life to publishing the newspaper and through her Field Study Tour Footsteps to Freedom for educators and community members. Designed for educators, sponsored by the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools and the National Park Service, this unique field study is a summer program that retraces the journey of the ‘Underground Railroad’ from Kentucky to Canada.
Some 500 area teachers and administrators have taken this summer course and helped excavate this unique African American tapestry for 15 years running.
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