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The Life and Legacy of Robert C. Maynard

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with the late Robert C. Maynard, journalist, newspaper publisher, editor and former owner of the Oakland Tribune newspaper.

Maynard was a charismatic leader who changed the face of American journalism, built a four-decade career on the cornerstones of editorial integrity, community involvement, improved education and the importance of the family.

He was the co-founder of the Institute for Journalism Education, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to expanding opportunities for minority journalists at the nation's newspapers.

Born on June 17, 1937, in Brooklyn, NY, Maynard was the son of immigrants from Barbados. Interested in writing from an early age, he frequently cut classes at Boys High School to hang around the editorial offices of the black weekly newspaper the New York Age.

In 1967 Maynard was hired by the Washington Postas national correspondent, the first African American to hold that position on any major newspaper. In 1977, he left the Washington Post and moved to the University of California, Berkeley, to found the Institute for Journalism Education. In 1979 he was hired by Gannett as editor of its newly acquired Oakland Tribune newspaper

In the 1980s, he began a twice-weekly syndicated newspaper column, in which he transformed national and international issues into dinner table discussions of right and wrong. When he bought the Oakland (CA) Tribune in 1983, he became the first African American in this country to own a major daily newspaper. But Maynard had a career full of firsts, from being the first African American national newspaper correspondent to being the first African American newspaper editor in chief.

Maynard died on August 17, 1993. He was 56.

John L. Hanson is the producer and host of the nationally syndicated radio series In Black America. It’s heard on home station KUT at 10 p.m. Tuesdays and 6:30 a.m. Sundays — and weekly on close to 20 stations across the country. The weekly podcast of IBA, the only nationally broadcast Black-oriented public affairs radio program, is one of KUT’s most popular podcasts.