This week on From the Vault we honor the legacy of Ethel L. Payne (1911-1991), a Washington, DC beltway journalist whose aggressive techniques and tactics as a member of the White House Press Corps during the Eisenhower administration and beyond literally moved Black America’s issues and news from the obituary pages to the front pages. Known as the “First Lady of the Black Press,” Payne was significantly influential in the Civil Rights Movement through the efforts of her work, yet today she remains one of the least known figures of the Civil Rights era. This audio selection is taken from a 1980 interview with Payne by WPFW’s Askia Muhammad, with additional commentary from Payne biographer James McGrath Morris.
In 2002, the United States Postal Service honored Ethel L. Payne with a commemorative stamp.
From the Vault is presented as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the GRAMMY Foundation and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives and Records Administration, and past grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners. We also thank our partners and collaborators at the Pop-Up Archive, Amara, Other Minds Archives, George Blood Audio, and the California Audio Visual Preservation Project.
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