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AfriGeneas Writers Forum

Lessons from Black Journalists: The Trotter Group

Greetings AfriGeneas Writers:

Throughout the pages of the AfriGeneas Writers Forum we’ve discussed various “writing tools” to clearly document and present our family histories, and strategies to capture the attention of targeted audiences. Journalists use many of the same techniques and approaches.

African American journalists write about present and past history from a black perspective. And of course, so do we. We are family historians, and have the knowledge and experience to support or disagree with stories about Africans in the Americas. (Thanks to AfriGeneas, or our own research, we also have the primary documentation to substantiate our opinions).

We’ve discussed the importance of reading the words of other historians and genealogists to help fine-tune our stories. Equally important are the writings of black journalists. They're skilled at shaping words that intrigue and provoke. Their opinions are often unique, and their viewpoints sometimes uncomfortable, even to black readers.

One organization recognized for their excellence in commentary and reporting is the Trotter Group, “Black Voices in Commentary.” It was named in the memory of William Monroe Trotter, editor of “The Guardian” newspaper.

Les Payne, legendary Editor of Newsday, and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist is the co-founder of the Trotter Group. You may remember earlier posts from Mr. Payne and others about the passing of New York Times editor, Gerald M. Boyd.

I’ve met two of its members, Les Payne and Tonyaa Weathersbee of the Florida Times Union and I deeply admire their craft. Please click on the link below to read and bookmark the profiles and commentary of all members of the Trotter Group. I do hope that you become fans of these gifted black journalists.

Finally, AfriGeneas Writers should voice their opinions in letters to the Editor; submit articles about their research to local and national press. Yes, it’s a strategy to get published. It’s also our duty to inform readers beyond the genealogy and black history genre about the positive legacy of Africans in the Americas.


Write Away.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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