Black Voices in Ohio Journalism

In celebration of Black History Month, take a look at just a few of the historical figures who trailblazed for Black voices in journalism in Ohio and beyond.

Madelyne Blunt

Madelyne Blunt made her mark in publishing during the 1960s in Cleveland, Ohio with her homemaker’s magazine Gracious Living. After her initial success, Blunt began Club Date, an at-home marketing service that organized events for merchants and merchandisers to showcase their products designed with Black consumers in mind.

Cleveland Call & Post — (1916- )

The Call & Post, a Black newspaper located in Cleveland, Ohio, was founded in 1916. The newspaper later merged with the Cleveland Post in 1929. Over the course of ten years, the Call & Post grew from 4 to 12 pages. The Call & Post continues to publish today, with its headquarters located on Shaker Boulevard.  As stated on their website, the Call & Post “established itself as the most influential voice for African Americans in all metropolitan regions throughout Ohio.” 

Ralph Waldo Tyler (1860-1921) 

Ralph Waldo Tyler was an American journalist, war correspondent, and government official. Born in Columbus, Ohio, much of Tyler’s work focused on addressing racial injustice. During WWI, Tyler was a foreign correspondent who reported on African American servicemen stationed in France. 

Tyler worked in positions at numerous publications, including being editor of the Afro-American, co-founder of The Free American, society editor at the Columbus Evening Dispatch and writer at The Ohio State Journal.
Later on in his career, Ralph Waldo Tyler moved into the political realm, where was appointed by President Roosevelt as the auditor for the U.S. Navy. Tyler held this position until 1913, when he published an article in the Washington Evening Star, condemning President Wilson’s “segregationist policies.”

William Otis Walker — (1896-1981)

Walker, William Otis, born in 1896, was a Black Republican publisher. Otis, a former student at both Wilberforce University and Oberlin Business College, began his work in journalism at the Pittsburgh Courier. In 1932, Otis moved to Cleveland, where he managed the Call & Post.

Otis also took stands against anti-Black racism in his work, organizing a fund to provide a defense for a group of Black councilmen accused of “taking kickbacks.” Additionally, Otis served as a councilman himself from 1940 to 1947 and was Ohio’s Director of Industrial Relations between the years 1963 to 1971.

William Brower — (1916-2004)

Born in South Carolina in 1916, William Brower was a journalist who documented the Black experience in America. In 1939, Brower graduated from the historically Black Wilberforce University located in Xenia, Ohio. In 1946, Brower began working at the Blade in Toledo, mainly reporting on Black communities. Throughout his years at the Blade, Brower held the positions of assistant city editor, news editor, associate editor and columnist. 

Highlights of Brower’s career include a Pulitzer Prize for his 1951 16-part series entitled “Fifteen Million Americans,which surveyed living conditions of Black individuals in segregated parts of the United States.


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