Civil rights leader to speak about 190th anniversary of the Black Press

To mark the 190th anniversary of the Black Press, Grady College will host a lecture by Benjamin F. Chavis Jr, president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA).  “190 Years and Counting: Why the Black Press Still Matters” takes place April 3 at 11:15 a.m. in Studio 100.

“I can’t think of a better person to help us celebrate the 190th birthday of the Black press,” said Janice Hume, head of the Department of Journalism. “Dr. Chavis has been a strong civil rights leader as well as an internationally syndicated columnist and author. He is in a unique position to teach our students not only the history, but the importance of a strong African-American press.”

“Celebrating the 190th anniversary of the Black Press is so important, especially in today’s political climate,” added Nsenga Burton, academic professional in the Journalism Department and co-advisor of the UGA chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). “Dr. Chavis has been at the forefront of elevating Black voices in the press. We’re excited to have him for this momentous occasion.”

In addition to his role at the NNPA, Chavis currently is the senior strategic advisor for the Diamond Empowerment Fund that he co-founded with Russell Simmons and leaders of the global jewelry and diamond industry in 2007. Chavis was elected in 2013 to the National Board of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. He is also the former president, CEO and co-founder with Russell Simmons of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, the world’s largest coalition of hip-hop artists and recording industry executives.

Chavis began his career in 1963 as a statewide youth coordinator in NC for the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In 1970, Chavis was appointed Southern Regional Program Director of the 1.7 million member United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice (UCC-CRJ) and by 1985 was named the Executive Director and CEO of the UCC-CRJ.  In 1988, Chavis was elected vice president of the National Council of Churches of the USA.

In 1993 and 1994 Dr. Chavis served as the executive director and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and remains an active supporter of the NAACP.  In 1995, he was the national director and organizer of the Million Man March.  From 1995 to 1997 Chavis was the executive director and CEO of the National African American Leadership Summit.

Chavis received a bachelor of arts in chemistry from University of North Carolina; the master of divinity from Duke University and a doctor of ministry from Howard University. Chavis has also completed course requirements for the doctor of philosophy in systematic theology from Union Theological Seminary. He is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.

Following the April 3 lecture, which is free and open to the public, birthday cake will be served.

The event is co-sponsored by the Department of Journalism and the UGA NABJ.

Date: March 24, 2017
Author:  Stephanie Moreno,
Contact:  Nsenga Burton,