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Oral history interview with E. L. Goodwin, Sr., 1971.

Creator: Goodwin, E. L.
Project: Black Journalists Oral History Collection.
(see all project interviews)
Phys. Desc. :Transcript: 36 pages Sound recording: 1 sound cassette
Location: Columbia Center for Oral History
Full CLIO record >>

Biographical Note

Edward Lawrence (E. L.) Goodwin, Sr. (1902-1978) was born in Water Valley, Mississippi to James Henri Goodwin and Carlie Greer Goodwin. At age ten, Goodwin moved with his family to Tulsa, Oklahoma. He attended Booker T. Washington High School and Fisk University. At Fisk, he played football and earned his degree in business administration. Goodwin ran a show store, a haberdashery, and worked as a caseworker for the Tulsa County state welfare department before purchasing The Oklahoma Eagle in 1936. There he wrote editorials and promoted education for Tulsa's black citizens. Later in life Goodwin completed law school at the University of Tulsa, and subsequently opened a law practice with Charles Owen, who was later elected to the judiciary. Goodwin received an honorary law degree from Oral Roberts University, and a citation for his work with the Community Chest campaign, a forerunner of the United Way. Additionally he was inducted into Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame and the Tulsa Historical Society Hall of Fame. After retiring from law and journalism, Goodwin opened a catfish farm. Goodwin and his wife, Jeanne Osby Goodwin, had eight children.

Scope and Contents

E. L. Goodwin, Sr. discusses: his family's migration from Mississippi to Oklahoma; his education; his involvement in a variety of business ventures; and his experience as the first black case worker in Oklahoma's state welfare department. Additionally, he reflects on his involvement in illegal gambling and bootlegging prior to purchasing The Oklahoma Eagle. Goodwin discusses his motivation for the paper to uplift the black community and educate them on their rights as American citizens; the Eagle's masthead reads “WE MAKE AMERICA BETTER WHEN WE AID OUR PEOPLE.” He expresses his beliefs about the critical role the black press played in abolishing slavery, informing the black community of injustices, and in shaping public opinion for social change. Additionally Goodwin describes the importance of the editorial page, maintaining the interest of the readers, and the current place of the black press as a supplement to the white press.


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