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Sun, 07.27.1884

P.B. Young, The Dean of the American Black Press

P.B. Young Sr.

The birth of P.B. (Plummer Bernard) Young, Sr., in 1884 is celebrated on this date. He was an African American newspaper editor and publisher.

Young has often been called the "Dean of the Negro Press." Born in Littleton, North Carolina, he learned the newspaper business as a youth while helping his father, Winfield Young, the founder and publisher of The True Reformer, a small newspaper in their hometown. He attended St. Augustine's College in Raleigh, N.C., from 1903 to 1905. He moved to Norfolk in 1910, and purchased The Gideon Lodge Journal and Guide, a fraternal publication, and subsequently renamed it The Norfolk Journal and Guide.

During his 50-year tenure, The Norfolk Journal and Guide became the largest-selling Black newspaper in the South, and one of the most influential Black papers in the United States. During the 1930s, the paper sent reporters to cover the sensational trials of the Scottsboro Boys, nine African American youths falsely accused of raping white girls.

Many reviewers considered The Norfolk Journal and Guide the best-edited black newspaper in the country. It earned Young "the Editor of the Year" award from the National Negro Publishers Association in 1960.  Young's view of the role of the Black press was crystallized when he offered to draft a code of journalistic guidelines for the National Newspaper Publishers Association in 1944.

He was an active community leader, serving on the President's Commission on Fair Employment Practices in 1943, and on the educational boards of several predominantly Black colleges, including Howard University, Hampton Institute, and Virginia State College.

P.B. Young, Sr., suffered from respiratory ailments and died of pneumonia on October 9, 1962.

P. B. Young, Newspaperman:
Race, Politics, and Journalism in the New South, 1910-62.
Henry Lewis Suggs
Charlottesville, Virginia:
University Press of Virginia, 1988.

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