Claude Barnett: The Original Newsman

Claude Barnett

Claude Barnett was an African American journalist known for creating "The Associated Negro Press". His publication last from 1919 to 1967. He was one of the most influential African Americans during the 1930's, and he served as a consultant to the United States Agriculture Department.

Personal Life

Barnett was born on September 16 1889 in Sanford, Florida to William Barnett and Celena Anderson. He then moved to Matton, Illinois to live with his grandmother. That is where he lived and went to school. In 1904 went to college at Tuskegee Institute. He graduated two years later in 1906. He died at the age of 78 due to cerebral hemorrhage. He died in his house on August 2 1967.

His newspaper

In 1913 Barnett started by reproducing photos of notable black people, and sold them. By 1917 his services became so popular that he had a thriving business dealing with mail in orders. He then went around the country to promote his photographs, catering mainly to a black audience. While advertising in mainly black newspapers he noticed a common trend, which is that they needed more substantive news. This caused him to create The Associated Negro Press, and it's main goal was to provide reliable and steady stream of news to news outlets. At first he bartered the news in exchange for advertising space, but he soon got a team of "stingers" who helped him get interesting news stories. He went on to charge $25 a week to provide news papers with the latest news.

Struggles and Difficulties

The most obvious difficulty Barnett faced was racism, there is a reason his business only catered to newspapers that catered to an African American community. In his travels he spoke of how racism affected his ability to gather news, and he often talked about the adverse affects of segregation. He also focused on the terrible living conditions of African Americans farmers that were tenants.


sumit_r said...

Claude Barnett was responsible for many accomplishments in addition to the Associated Negro Press. Barnett became consultant to the Secretary of Agriculture because he wrote a story of the horrible living conditions of black farmers, who were responsible for feeding the troops during World War II. Barnett was also known for being a governor of the American Red Cross. It is surprising that there is not a single Wikipedia page for this historical man, because he has made a lot of contributions to field of journalism.

Chris said...

Claude Barnett was obviously a very brave man for his actions during this time period. I was shocked to read that the predominantly white newspapers even wanted to report the news from the negro community at a time of segregation and violent racism. This made me wonder, why have I never heard of him before this? Why isn't he in textbooks if he paved the way for black journalists today? His story seems just as courageous as other black revolutionary civil rights leaders, although his time period was a bit earlier