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Oral history interview with Gilbert Alan Maddox [electronic resource], 1971.

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

Biographical Note

Dr. Gilbert Alan Maddox was a Detroit-based African American broadcast journalist, educator, and historian. He received an undergraduate degree in Business Administration and Education, a Master's degree in Speech, and a Ph.D. in Mass Communications (he is believed to be the first African American man to receive a doctorate in that field), all from Wayne State University. From 1959-1960, he wrote, produced, and hosted Black and Unknown Bards, a local television program showcasing the legacy of black American writers from the colonial era through 1960. He later hosted and co-produced Profiles in Black, which ran on Detroit's Channel 4 from 1969 to 1976. Profiles in Black featured half-hour interviews with prominent African Americans, from athletes and musicians to Vietnam veterans and academics. Dr. Maddox also taught at many universities, including Wayne State University, Howard University, and the University of the District of Columbia. He died in his Washington, D.C., home in 2013.

Scope and Contents

Dr. Gilbert Maddox discusses: his childhood and education; his background in broadcast journalism; his program Profiles in Black for local Detroit television; and his doctoral dissertation about black programming in Detroit public television. Maddox analyzes and critiques the state of black journalism at the time of the interview, and the impact of advertising on the quality of reporting. He comments on its role in shaping African American identities and cultivating community pride, especially in the northern United States, as well as its potential impact on white audiences. Maddox compares the different approaches of the black and white press when covering the Vietnam War and civil rights leaders. Finally, Maddox examines the limitations of the black press and television's growing role as the primary source of information for African Americans.


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