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Oral history interview with Daniel Day [electronic resource], 1971.

Creator: Day, Daniel
Project: Black Journalists Oral History Collection.
(see all project interviews)
Phys. Desc. :sound files : digital preservation master, WAV files (96kHz, 24 bit) Transcript: 32 pages
Location: Columbia Center for Oral History
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Biographical Note

Daniel Day (1913-2003) was born in Montgomery, Alabama and migrated with his family to Chicago in 1923. At age 12, Day was hired as a junior cartoonist at the Chicago Daily Defender, becoming the assistant to City Editor David W. Kellum at age 18. Day joined the National Guard in 1938 and served the armed forces in the United States, Japan, and Korea. Day was the Professor of Military Science at Reserve Officers Training Corps and Florida A&M University from 1955 until his retirement from the Army in 1961. That year, Day succeeded Louis R. Lautier as Washington White House Correspondent for the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Day went on to work at the Department of Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development, and the Office of Public Affairs, for which he served as Public Information Officer at the time of this interview. Day died in 2003.

Scope and Contents

In this 1971 interview with Henry G. La Brie III, Day discusses his experiences in government, the role of the black press in government and society, and the challenges facing both black and white local news publications. Day begins by describing his upbringing in Chicago and his early work as junior cartoonist, copy editor, and assistant to the city editor at the Chicago Daily Defender. After attending Crane Junior College (Malcolm X. College, City College of Chicago), Day entered the National Guard and the Army. He recalls his military assignments during World War II and the Korean War previous to retiring from the armed forces in 1961. After a brief outline of his government work from 1961 to 1971, Day describes his continuing education, how he came to succeed Louis Lautier as White House Correspondent for the National Newspaper Publishers Association, and the role of the NNPA. Day continues by discussing the dwindling circulation of the black press, the relative success of the Johnson Publishing Company which founded Ebony and Jet, and the promotion of black reporters such as William Raspberry and Thomas Johnson within predominantly white newspapers. Day goes on to define black newspapers as organs of protest owned and operated by African Americans. He cites several occasions in which the black press has altered government policies and practices, and points to black newspapers as a way of correcting a history of racist exclusion. Finally, Day describes the economic challenges faced by both black and white local newspapers today, editorializing of the news, the possibility of increasing white readership, the newspaper economy, and the role of the Great Depression in halting black business.

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