Oral history interview with Paul R. Jervay, Sr., 1971.
Paul Reginald Jervay, Sr. (1906-1993) was one of eight children born to Robert Smith Jervay and Mary Alice (McNeil) Jervay, a teacher. Jervay's grandfather, Reverend William R. Jervay, a former slave, served in South Carolina's State Senate during Reconstruction. His father, Robert, founded the R. S. Jervay Printing Company in 1901, and the Cape Fear Journal in 1927. Paul Jervay attended the Gregory Normal Institute and Hampton Institute (University) where he studied printing technology, and later taught linotype for eight years. Jervay returned to Wilmington, North Carolina to assist his father run The Cape Fear Journal, which, in 1945, was renamed The Wilmington Journal. Jervay began working for The Carolina Tribune in Raleigh during the late 1930s and by 1940 he became the owner, publisher, and editor and changed its name to The Carolinian. Jervay married Brenda Yancey, whom he met at Hampton Institute. Together they had two children: Paul Jr., and Prentice Jervay Monroe, a pharmacist. Prentice Jervay Monroe succeeded her father as Publisher in 1993, and Paul Jervay, Jr. succeeded her in 1997.
Scope and Contents
In this interview with Henry G. La Brie III, Paul R. Jervay, Sr. discusses his family, education, employment history, and work with several black owned and operated newspapers. Jervay shares information on his grandfather, as well as his father who started the Jervay family in the printing and newspaper businesses. In addition he details his brothers' contribution to the family business and provides information on the various newspapers they published, or with whom they worked, including the Norfolk Journal and Guide, and The Chicago Defender. He discusses his work at The Carolinian, and its growth under his leadership: equipment, circulation, staffing, and revenue sources. Jervay shares his views on the importance of, and challenges facing, the black press; and last, its future and impact on black and white communities. He provides his view on the question of whether a paper's ownership dictates its qualification to be identified a black paper. Jervay also talks about the importance of the black press; The Carolinian's affiliation with Amalgamated Publishers, Inc. and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA); strategies for weeklies to compete with dailies; the importance of the black press as a supplement to the white press; the need for a national news service for African American newspapers; and the importance of investing in the business.