By Ashlea Kosikowski | January 6, 2021 at 6:26 PM EST – Updated January 6 at 11:58 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – The Wilmington Journal, North Carolina’s oldest African-American newspaper, is in financial trouble and a fundraiser is underway to save the newspaper.
Dorian Cromartie, who organized fundraiser along with Deborah Maxwell, President of the New Hanover County NAACP, said the newspaper is an important resource for Wilmington’s black community.
“They’ve been here for almost 100 years, 93 years now,” he said. “It started out providing the community but specifically the Black community with news and headlines that are going on not only locally but on a state level and on a national level. So, it’s very important that they remain here in the community.
Cromartie explained The Wilmington Journal was formed after The Daily Record was burned to the ground in the 1898 Massacre, when a white mob overthrew the government in Wilmington and burned Black-owned businesses.
“They picked up the task of reporting news to the Black community,” he said. “You’ve got to be very brave and they did that.”
Since its formation, the paper has been telling the stories of African-Americans in Wilmington and covering issues important to the Black community. The paper’s motto is “News from the African American perspective without fear or favor.”
Cromartie said they are trying to raise $93,000 to purchase the property where the newspaper is housed and retain the dozen staffers who work there.
“This fundraiser right here will take care of everything, all the loose ends; they need $93,000 before February 1, which is a big reach but I believe it’s very achievable,” Cromartie said. “A lot of times here in Wilmington when somebody needs something, a lot of times the community does come together.”
Cromartie said the Journal plays a vital role in the Black community, especially right now.
“In the Black community, there is a big distrust with a vaccine,” he said. “If you want to build trust in the community with vaccines, you are going to need those Black leaders and those Black outlets, those Black news agencies to say, ‘Hey, it’s safe to get the vaccine.’ You’ve got a build trust and one of the ways you can build trust is through these different groups and this is one of those groups they can help build that trust and bridge that gap.”
For more information about the fundraiser, click here.
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