Black press soldiers without swords

“Black Press Soldiers Without Swords” was a documentary explaining the major events of the creation and events of black newspapers in america. Some of the major ones they talk about is Robert Abbott’s Chicago Defender and Robert Vann’s Pittsburgh Courier. The Chicago Defender was the first large one to make a major impact. Abbott used the paper to not only help his fellow black men and women but also try to help fight the way african americans were looked at. One of the interesting things he did was write the race of the white men after their names like they would do to african americans in the white newspapers. He wanted to treat the white men the same way they treated black men in the media. He wanted to show they have the same power as them with their media. Which is an interesting thing because for so long the white men had all the power but now with not only the creation but the growth of the black newspapers they gained power for themselves. In a way it was the start for them to push to be treated more fairly, they were able to fight back in some cases. However, especially in the south, fighting back like this lead to lynch mobs and other harassments or attacks. 

The white man still believed they were superior and so they still tried discriminating on the newspapers. The black newspapers often didn’t have a way to get the money to keep the paper going. They could get some ads but not large ones from department stores and other brands like the white newspapers did. Black newspapers heavily relied on money just from distribution. Since they couldn’t get the ad revenue if their paper didn’t sell they often had to shut down the papers after a short time. The newspapers were always starting up and then shutting down, the people didn’t have a consistent source of information. 

I think one of the more interesting points talked about in the film was when they discussed the use of the paper to sway the people for so many things. Like the Chicago Defender wanting people to move to Chicago from the south and fulfill the need in the workforce. Another interesting use was when one of the papers called for black people to leave the Republican party because they felt they were being ignored with their needs.Though it was hard for the newspapers to grow, once they did and had a following they had immense power and saw in how the african american community acted.

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