Activist Al Sharpton, keynote speaker at a kickoff prayer breakfast at the National Newspaper Publishers Associations 70th Anniversary Convention last week, warned the more than 215 Black publishers to stay in control of the definition of the Black struggle and to not back down from demanding their fair share of advertising dollars.
“We are meeting because the future of Black America is in this room,” he described the pivotal leadership of the Black Press. He frequently referred to NNPA Chairman Danny Bakewell of the Los Angeles Sentinel, a firebrand leader who has been demanding corporate and federal government fair share of ads for NNPA member papers.
Noting that “Danny preaches night and day” on behalf of this cause, Sharpton said corporate America must get the message that their businesses are indebted to Black newspapers.
“They’re not giving us a hand-out. They are in our communities. They owe us in our communities. We have to stop going to these companies like they are doing you a favor to advertise in a market where the margin of their profit comes from in the first place.
“The federal government, the Black President needs to be advertising with the Black Press. Otherwise what does it mean to us if we have Negroes in high places if those on the ground don’t have anything,” he said. He added that in keeping the heat on advertisers, Black newspapers must adhere to their historic mission of defending Black people and defining the struggle for justice.