July 2, 2014 marked the solemn 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Baines Johnson signing into law the 1964 Civil Rights Act. I use the term “solemn” to describe that incredibly historic and awesome “victory” moment in the United States for the Civil Rights Movement. After so much sacrifice and bloodshed across the nation in the decades-long struggle for racial justice and equality, the 1964 Civil Rights Act finally became the law of the land.
Speaking on behalf of the Black Press of America, we paused to celebrate that 50- year milestone. Yet we also take the responsibility today to rededicate our newspapers to be the clarion voice of Black America. We renew our commitment to continue be the consistent and time-trusted source of news and information vital and critical to the empowerment of more than 45 million Black Americans.
It is important to note that Black Americans now spend annually in excess of $1.2 trillion primarily as consumers in the domestic economy of the United States as well documented by the research of Nielsen Holdings N.V. The issues concerning the economic wellbeing of our families, businesses and communities are a high priority for the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). We must, therefore, remain vigilant and active to ensure the improvement in the quality of life for Black Americans and for all people in the United States as well as in the global community.
As the NNPA prepares to celebrate its 75th Anniversary in 2015, we reaffirm the need to protect the gains that have been made in the area of civil rights while making further steps forward to increase the sustainable economic development of Black Americans and others.
Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.
Interim President and CEO
National Newspaper Publishers Association