ABOVE PHOTO: William Rhoden and Bob Ray Sanders
WASHINGTON, D.C. –The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) has unveiled its Hall of Fame class of 2018 — Albert Dunmore (posthumous), Victoria Jones (posthumous), Louis Martin (posthumous), William Rhoden and Bob Ray Sanders.
The Hall of Fame Award is the highest recognition given by NABJ. The induction ceremony will take place during a luncheon on Aug. 5 as part of NABJ’s 43rd Annual Convention and Career Fair at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center.
“This year’s inductees have all made lasting contributions to journalism. They made a significant impact in the communities they served as journalists in a time when their work wasn’t always welcomed or respected,” said NABJ President Sarah Glover. “But they persevered and their work will serve as a beacon to future generations of Black journalists. I’m pleased to see such a deserving group receive NABJ’s highest honor.”
Here is more on NABJ’s Hall of Fame inductees:
Albert J. Dunmore (posthumous)
Dunmore came to the Michigan Chronicle in 1961 as managing editor and executive editor after 20 years at its sister publication, the Pittsburgh Courier. He arrived during turbulent times in Detroit and the nation and used his leadership position to pen columns that demanded civil rights legislation and also challenged the African-American community to commit to self-determination. He left the newspaper in 1968 to join Chrysler Corporation as its urban affairs specialist. He died in 1989.
“The Dunmore family is elated that Al Dunmore has been selected as a 2018 inductee into the NABJ’s highest honor, its coveted Hall of Fame,” said his son, Greg Dunmore, a multimedia journalist and executive producer at PULSEBEAT TV. “It is especially important during these problematic times where journalistic integrity is being challenged that journalists like Al Dunmore be saluted. We need to underscore that their excellence and superlative standards must continue to inspire and motivate today’s journalists as well as students preparing to enter the powerful profession of journalism.”
Victoria Jones (posthumous)
Victoria Jones was a pioneering, prolific television news program producer in Boston. Starting in the 1970s at WGBH-TV, she worked with Topper Carew on the nationally syndicated program, “Say Brother.” In 1979, Jones and Tanya Hart created WBZ’s “Coming Together,” a primetime public affairs show that helped launch Boston teen music groups New Edition and New Kids on the Block. Jones’ most impactful work was at WHDH-TV between 1982 and 2001, where she produced numerous Emmy award-winning documentaries for the shows, “Urban Update” and “Boston Common.”.
Jones covered four presidential elections, Nelson Mandela’s visit to America and major news stories in Boston. While producing, she earned a Masters In Education with honors at Harvard University. She served as president of the Boston Association of Black Journalists from 1986 to 1988, and served as NABJ’s Region I Director from 1995 to 1999.
“In her day job, as public affairs producer at Boston’s WHDH-TV, Jones mentored countless others, with some becoming broadcast legends themselves and passing it on,” said nominator Robin Washington, executive producer of “Trains, Planes & Automobiles LLC.” “It was a struggle over WHDH’s programming that ended Vicki’s television career, when the station threatened to cut all ethnic programming on the specious grounds that no one was watching. After protests, all were saved — but not Vicki’s job.”
Yet without bitterness, she persevered, continuing to serve NABJ as she turned attention to managing a historic theater in a majority ofcolor Boston neighborhood, said Washington. “Vicki left us too soon. But for decades she put in far more than required to foment a strong black media presence in Boston. It thrives still because of her,” he said.
Louis Martin (posthumous)
Louis Martin was only 23 years old when he arrived in Detroit on June 6, 1936 as editor and publisher of the newly minted Detroit Chronicle, which later became the Michigan Chronicle, according to the newspaper.
“I learned early that while straight newspaper reporters are hard to find, if you scratch a lawyer or a preacher hard enough, you will find a journalist,” Martin wrote.
In addition to being a journalist, Martin also got into politics, becoming assistant publicity director of the Democratic National Committee during President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s re-election campaign in 1944. He also worked on John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign, became a friend and advisor to President Lyndon Johnson and was a senior advisor to President Jimmy Carter.
Martin, called the “Godfather of Black Politics” by the Washington Post, was enshrined in the National Newspaper Publishers Association Hall of Fame in 2006. “Martin’s entire public career, in journalism as in politics, stands as an even larger monument to how much one person can do when fame and glory are not a part of his purpose,” wrote David J. Garrow, presidential distinguished professor at Emory University, in the introduction of Martin’s biography written by NABJ Founder Alex Poinsett.
William C. Rhoden
Bill Rhoden started his career as associate editor of Ebony magazine, where he worked from 1974 to 1978. He then spent three years at the Baltimore Sun as a columnist before leaving in 1981 to become a copy editor for the New York Times’ “Week in Review” section.
Rhoden served as an award-winning sports writer for the Times from 1983 to 2016. He also served as a consultant for ESPN’s SportsCentury series, and appeared as a guest on the long-running Emmy-winning show “The Sports Reporters.”
“When I look at the list of previous inductees, this honor becomes even more humbling. Many of those men and women are people I have looked up to and admired for decades and who were beacon lights for my own career,” Rhoden said. “The sole focus of my life and career at this point is mentoring and sponsoring a new generation of talented African Americans, not only in sports journalism but throughout a sports industry that tends to exclude and ignore black talent that does not run and jump. I appreciate what this honor says about my past and am even more excited about the momentum it provides for an exciting future.”
In 1996, Rhoden won a Peabody Award for broadcasting as the writer of the HBO documentary “Journey of the African-American Athlete.” In 2006, he published his first book, the bestseller “Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete.” He’s currently a writer-at-large for ESPN’s The Undefeated.
“We live in times when being a socially conscious sports writer isn’t all that unusual. That was certainly not the case for Bill Rhoden, a pioneer in the sports journalism world who did not hold back in using his platform as a sports columnist for the New York Times to pull back the shade and expose racist acts and hypocrisy that existed in the sports world,” said A. Sherrod Blakely, a digital media reporter for NBC Sports Boston.
“It made him an enemy of some and a champion for many. Although his first book was published in 2006, more than a decade later it still resonates as racism, sports and social activism all intersect at a high rate,” said Blakely. “While those topics have taken center stage to the point where the president of the United States has chimed in, let’s not forget the foundation by which these conversations were brought to light. A big part of that foundation was paved by Bill Rhoden, whose award-winning body of work has greatly influenced socially conscious sports journalism for generations.”
Bob Ray Sanders
Bob Ray Sanders’ journalism career has spanned more than four decades across newspapers, television and radio. After graduating from North Texas State University in 1969, he was hired by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. As one of the first three African-American reporters ever hired by the newspaper, he became a trailblazer in North Texas journalism.
In 1972, Sanders pivoted, taking a reporter job at KERA-TV, a public station in Dallas. He moved all the way up to vice president/station manager for television and radio. He also served as host and producer of the station’s award-winning program, “News Addition,” and as executive producer of the PBS series, “With Ossie & Ruby,”starring legendary stage and screen performers Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.
“While I know there are people more worthy, I am most appreciative that some of my friends and colleagues supported my nomination for this honor,” said Bob Ray Sanders. “To them, I am most grateful. I only hope that in these treacherous times they will inspire other young journalists to take up the mantle and fight on — indeed “Write On!””
In 1986, Sanders returned to the Star-Telegram and retired in 2015. Known as the “dean” of journalists in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, he is past president of the Press Club of Fort Worth and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists and the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists.
“Bob has mastered every medium and is highly respected in the Dallas-Fort Worth region. The recipient of numerous awards for journalistic excellence, many of his awards have been in television, radio, print and community service,” said Cheryl Smith, NABJ’s secretary and publisher and editor of the IMessenger News Group, a multi-platform news organization.
“He has extended his reach and influence on the internet. All the while, Bob Ray has been an active member of the National Association of Black Journalists, and he has served the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter in so many capacities,” she said. “Bob Ray has led a very distinguished career, and although he is now retired, he stills serves as a source of inspiration, support and leadership for journalists and the community at large.”
The NABJ Hall of Fame was created in 1990 when 10 distinguished historical journalists became its charter members. Since then, several of the nation’s top journalists have been inducted, among them: Chuck Stone and all of the NABJ founders, Gwen Ifill, Robert Maynard, Lynn Norment, Ed Bradley and Carole Simpson. For a complete listing of previous inductees, visit www.nabj.org.
Tickets for the NABJ Hall of Fame luncheon on Aug. 5 are available at https://www.nabjconvention.com/NABJ_Registration.cfm.