Black Journalists Celebrate 45 years of Excellence and Changing the World

Founders Allison Davis, Sandra Dillard and Sandra Dawson Long Weaver at the 44th convention in 2019.

By Sandra Long Weaver
Tribune Editorial Director

The National Association of Black Journalists will celebrate its 45th anniversary on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 6:30 p.m. during a live Zoom broadcast to which the public is invited.

The organization was founded by 44 women and men in a Washington, D.C. hotel in 1975. Its mission then as well as now continues to be advocacy for Black journalists. NABJ provides innovative and quality services for its membership. The organization has grown to over 4,000 members and is the largest journalism organization for journalists of color in the country.

In addition, John C. White, the organization’s most recently-deceased Founder, will be honored. DeWayne Wickham, a co-founder and former president of NABJ, will receive the fourth annual Founders’ Appreciation Award. Wickham is also the founding dean of the School of Global Journalism at Morgan State University.

Earlier recipients of the Founders’ Appreciation Award are co-founder and first executive director Paul Brock; co-founder Joe Davidson, the only founder who has attended every convention; and Allison Davis, who 31 years ago founded the student projects which are run during the conventions. 

A video history of the organization will be presented and there will be a live conversation among some of the active Founders during the hour-long program. The discussion will focus on their personal journeys during the 45-year history of the organization.

Kay Angrum, digital reporter for NBC New York, will be the moderator for the program. You can RSVP for the program at https://bit.ly/NABJ45.  

The organization’s membership has been a source of pride and support for excellence when Black journalists have been invisible to the larger media industry.

Founders and members of NABJ have:

• served as role models and mentors inspiring now generations of Black youth to join, perfect their skills, impact our profession and shape our world; 

• been a checkpoint of accountability to politicians at all levels of society;

• been a stepping stone to building and showing leadership skills from within the organization;

• served as a bridge to and platform for journalists ranging from small communities in the U.S. to across the African diaspora;

• been a model for the creation of and partnerships with the National Associations of Hispanic, Native American and Asian journalists;

• and, finally, a champion for ensuring that Black journalists can serve in any position in the media industry.

NABJ also has the largest job fair for journalists through which many journalists have connected with media companies looking to increase diversity on their staffs.