The Black Press
Soldiers without Swords

Transcripts from the film

The following is an excerpt from the actual film transcript.


Vernon Jarrett : We didn't exist in the other papers. We were neither born, we didn't get married, we didn't die, we didn't fight in any wars, we never participated in anything of a scientific achievement. We were truly invisible unless we committed a crime. But in the BLACK PRESS, the negro press, we did get married. They showed us our babies being born. They showed us graduating. They showed our PhDs.

Phyl Garland: The black press was never intended to be objective because it didn't see the -- the white press being objective. It often took a position. It had an attitude. This was a press of advocacy. There was news, but the news had an admitted and a deliberate slant.


Narrator : For over 150 years, African American newspapers were among the strongest institutions in Black America. They helped to create and stabilize communities. They spoke forcefully to the political and economic interests of their readers while employing thousands. Black newspapers provided a forum for debate among African Americans and gave voice to a people who were voiceless. With a pen as their weapon, they were Soldiers Without Swords.

Complete film transcript

Interview Transcripts

George Barbour
Frank Bolden
Wallace Burney
Libby Clarke
Chester Commodore
Evelyn Cunningham
Phyl Garland
Walter Gordon
Ruth and James Hairston
Charles "Teenie" Harris
Vera Jackson
Robert Lavelle
Alice McGrath
Edna McKenzie
Jane Rhodes
Abie Robinson
Mary Walker
Patrick Washburn
Clinton Wilson