>> Saturday, October 2, 2010
Tonight, I have the honor of being awarded the Chauncey Wendell Bailey, Jr. Scholarship from the Bay Area Black Journalists Association (BABJA) at the group's annual gala.
The scholarship is in memory of Chauncey Bailey, an Oakland journalist who was assassinated in 2007. I still remember being at Camp Akili and getting a call from my mom -- Deborah James, arts editor at the California Voice when Chauncey was editor -- telling me he was murdered.
I'd finally met Chauncey a year before. A story I'd written for the Laney Tower was sent out to local media as a press release. I saw the story published in the Globe Newspaper (with some edits) and I was pissed. I was looking up copyright laws and all that. I finally talked to Chauncey and he explained what happened.
That fall, I began publishing stories in the Oakland Post. He later became editor. I last saw him at C. Diane Howell's Oakland Black Expo.
He'd cut his locks. I was just growing mine.
The more research I do on the Black Press in the Bay Area, the more I learn about him -- and from him. He wrote a series for the California Voice in the 1990s about the Black Press. An invaluable series that should be compiled and required reading for Black Journalists.
I thought you might be interested in reading excerpts from my scholarship essay, titled, "Telling our Stories."
My friend’s grandmother once told us, “If you don’t tell your story, someone else will.”
"In 2004, when, along with 400 other families – my family was forced from our apartment in West Alameda, I thought we’d get some sympathy from our local newspaper, the Alameda Journal. Instead, many of the articles portrayed us as criminals.
We needed our own voice.
I co-founded a newsletter for the College of Alameda Black Student Union (Alameda BSU), the organization I was leading at the time. We named it, “Harambee,” a Swahili word for “pulling together.”
A year later, I was first published in the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. Since then my writings have been featured in Black newspapers like the Oakland Post, Globe Newspaper and the Sunday Morning News. This initiation has given me a high regard for the Black Press.
Recently, I’ve committed myself to the historical study of the Black Press. I’m particularly interested in publications in the Bay Area. Through my research, I developed a few presentations on the history of the Black Press.
This summer, I was a teacher at Oakland Freedom School (OFS), a five-week literacy program through Leadership Excellence. My class, named after my shero, Ida B. Wells, focused on the History of the Black Press, journalism basics and the history of West Oakland. The young women in my class interviewed community members and wrote articles for a newsletter they deemed, “Freedom School Diaries.”
My journalism philosophy can be best summed up under the Kemetic (Ancient Egyptian) principles of Ma’at: balance, order, justice, harmony, truth, righteousness and reciprocity.
And as the Credo for the Negro Press stood during World War II, when the institution of the Black Press was under attack for its “Double V” campaign, “I Shall be a crusader and an advocate, a mirror and a record, a herald and a spotlight, and I shall not falter.
“So help me God.”
* * *
Rest in Peace Chauncey.
Chauncey Bailey on Diva TV - April 2007
Photos: Newsbusters.org, SFWeekly
2007 - Titiana Kumeh
2009 - N'Jeri Eaton