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Oral history interview with Melvin Collins [electronic resource], 1971.

Creator: Collins, Melvin
Project: Black Journalists Oral History Collection.
(see all project interviews)
Phys. Desc. :sound files : digital preservation master, WAV files (96kHz, 24 bit) Transcript: 41 pages
Location: Columbia Center for Oral History
Full CLIO record >>

Biographical Note

Melvin Collins (born in 1919) was the editor and publisher of the Shreveport Sun, which his father, Melvin Collins Sr., founded in 1920 in Shreveport, Louisiana. Collins worked at the family business before attending Richard College in Marshall, Texas in 1940. From there, Collins served in World War II and continued his education through the G.I. Bill (Serviceman's Readjustment Act of 1944) at Lincoln University in Johnson City, Missouri from 1946-1947. Following his father’s death in 1962, Collins assumed the reins of the paper. Collins was a father and community leader.

Scope and Contents

In this 1971 interview with Henry G. La Brie III, Collins discusses his father, Melvin Collins Sr., the role of the Shreveport Sun, the cyclical nature of black social progress, and his position in the Shreveport community. Collins begins by briefly summarizing his early life in Shreveport, in World War II, and at Richard College and Lincoln University. After this, Collins discusses his father, a college graduate, student of English, and founder of the Shreveport Sun. Collins recalls his father’s struggles maintaining the paper, including threats by the Ku Klux Klan and a lack of basic materials. He states his opinions on social progress and the necessity of integration. Collins goes on to discuss his intentions for the Shreveport Sun, the role of Southern black newspapers in racial and regional understanding, and how he measures success. Collins goes on to describe the Freedom Press, the continual fight for black dignity, white readership and ownership, and the need for black press to record the lives and deaths of the black community. Collins provides anecdotes to illustrate threats made against him and his father as well as the hesitancy of politicians to comment on black issues. Collins finishes by discussing his father's work during the Great Depression, adoption of off-set printing, and the Shreveport Sun in relation to other local newspapers.

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