NNPA Publishers Honor Marjorie Parham, a Living Legend of the Black Press
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) honored Majorie B. Parham with the organization’s Legacy Award during its annual convention in Cincinnati on Friday, June 29.
The NNPA is a trade association that represents African American-owned newspapers and media companies in the United States.
Parham, who turned 101 in February, spent more than three decades as publisher of the Cincinnati Herald, which was established in 1955 and counts as the longest running African American newspaper in the city.
“She was a real radical,” said Dorothy Leavell, the publisher of the Chicago and Gary Crusader newspapers. “Marjorie Parham was something else and she was straight forward with her words and you didn’t have to guess what she meant … she made it very clear. She is a wonderful human being and she was a great asset to the Black Press of America,” Leavell said.
Parham was unable to attend the ceremony but was represented by the husband of her granddaughter Rhonda Spillers, and Parham was feted with proclamations and commendations from Ohio State Sen. Cecil Thomas, State Reps. Sedrick Denson and Catherine Ingram; Cincinnati City Councilman Wendell Young; and Hamilton County Commissioner Stephanie Dumas.
Former Ohio State Sen. Eric Kearney served as master of ceremonies and co-chair of the convention.
Kearney’s wife, Cincinnati Herald Publisher Jan Michele Lemon Kearney, served as the host for the annual convention which this year celebrates 192 years of the Black Press of America.
The convention’s partner and sponsors included Macy’s; AARP; Procter & Gamble; Ford; General Motors; Chevrolet; RAI American Services Company; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; American Petroleum Institute (API); Volkswagen; MillerCoors; Fifth Third Bank; Ascension; AmeriHealth Carita; Wells Fargo; and Pfizer Rare Disease.
Born in 1918 in Clement County, Ohio, Parham graduated from Batavia High School and attended Wilberforce University, a Historically Black College, according to her bio.
Later, she took classes at the University of Cincinnati before working as a clerk for the U.S. Veterans Administration.
In 1954, Parham married Gerald Porter and one year later he founded the Cincinnati Herald.
Within six years, Parham would retire from the Veterans Administration and take over as publisher of the Dayton Tribune, which her son ran until he was drafted in the military, her bio said.
In 1963, Parham also became publisher of the Cincinnati Herald, where she became a legend and often noted for her work at the newspaper and in the community through her involvement in numerous civic organizations.
In 1982, Parham became the second African American to serve as a trustee for the University of Cincinnati, and she also chaired the board of the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, Ohio.
Active in the Urban League, the American Red Cross and various scouting groups, Parham also was known for her work as a member of NNPA where she served on the organization’s board as treasurer.
“I know [NNPA leadership] will continue their high standards of excellence,” Denson said.