Ethel L. Payne: First Lady of the Black Press

On this edition of From The Vault, WPFW’s Askia Muhammad guest hosts, featuring Ethel L. Payne a Washington DC beltway journalist that paved the way for Black voices and concerns were heard in the media.

Journalist Ethel L. Payne, the “First Lady of the Black Press” is one of the most significant, yet least known figures of the Civil Rights era.

This program features a 1980 interview that Askia Muhammad did with Ethel L. Payne and commentary from Payne biographer, James McGrath Morris.

She covered the first international Non-Aligned conference in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955; the Black perspective from the Korean War front;

The first extensive tour of Africa by a U.S. Secretary of State, with Henry Kissinger in 1975.

Her aggressive techniques and tactics as a member of the White House Press Corps during the Eisenhower administration and beyond, literally moved Black People’s news from the obituary pages, to the front pages.

In 2002, the United States Postal Service issued a postage stamp in her honor.

In 2015, Amistad Press published “Eye On The Struggle,” a biography of her by author James McGrath Morris.

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