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Oral history interview with Louis Martin [electronic resource], 1971.

Creator: Martin, Louis
Project: Black Journalists Oral History Collection.
(see all project interviews)
Phys. Desc. :sound files : digital preservation master, WAV files (96kHz, 24 bit) Transcript: 69 pages
Location: Columbia Center for Oral History
Full CLIO record >>

Biographical Note

Louis Emanuel Martin, Jr., was born in Shelbyville, Tennessee, in 1912 and grew up in Savannah, Georgia. Martin graduated from the University of Michigan in 1934. In 1936, he was instrumental in creating the Michigan Chronicle and served as the paper's first editor and publisher until the late 1940s. He worked on John F. Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign and was deputy chairman of the Democratic National Convention from 1960 to 1969. Martin served as an adviser for Presidents Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Bill Clinton and was a special assistant to Jimmy Carter. He has worked as editor-in-chief, editor, and columnist for the Chicago Defender.

Scope and Contents

In his 1971 interview with Henry La Brie III, Louis E. Martin shares his views on the intersections of the black press and financing, labor, and politics. Throughout the interview, Martin discusses revenue from circulation, the opening up of advertising beyond racial lines, the dependence of newspapers on corporate America, and the formation of capital. He discusses the establishment of the Michigan Chronicle in 1936 and the importance it placed on reporting on black labor and unions. Martin explains how his international travels informed his understanding of race in the United States, the concept of tribalism, and the need to educate white people about racial nuances. Finally, he looks at the black press' success in politically influencing black readership and others, and the black press' role in integration.


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