The Rise and Fall of the Associated Negro Press: Claude Barnett’s Pan-African News and the Jim Crow Paradox

Gerald Horne. Univ. of Illinois, $24.95 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-0-252-08273-3
Historian Horne (The Counter-Revolution of 1776) chronicles the life of Claude Barnett (1889–1967), the Chicago journalist and businessman who founded the Associated Negro Press (ANP) to distribute African-American news stories to hundreds of black-owned newspapers in the United States, the Americas, and Africa. The author traces Barnett’s rise from his early days running advertising and cosmetic companies to his creation of the ANP in 1919. With a dry and direct writing style, Horne argues that “Barnett’s success as press baron was difficult to separate from his overall entrepreneurial skill—and from the dire portrayal of African-Americans in the mainstream media, which he countered assiduously.” As head of the ANP, Horne argues that Barnett functioned as an “unofficial secretary of state” who advised a host of leaders, including Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah and India’s Jawaharlal Nehru. The author positions Barnett as a mover and shaker of the Pan-African movement with sharp social and political instincts that enabled him to forge strategic relationships with white politicians, notably President Herbert Hoover. The paradox of Barnett’s success at challenging Jim Crow racism was that it ultimately led to the ANP’s demise in the 1960s, as larger, white-focused news companies began covering black news. Horne’s informative portrait of this largely forgotten figure is required reading for students of African-American journalism. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 10/23/2017
Release date: 08/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 272 pages - 978-0-252-04119-8
Ebook - 978-0-252-09976-2
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