February 8, 2014

OURstory: Harry McAlpin (White House History-Maker)

President Barack Obama created history when he held is first White House press conference as our first African American president. I wonder if he will be aware of the history created on February 8, 1944 when Harry McAlpin was the first African American journalist admitted to a White House press conference. [SOURCE]

He was working for the National Negro Press Association and the Atlanta Daily World. On that day, McAlpin was waiting to go into the Oval Office, where they had press conferences at that time, when a white reporter from the New Orleans Times-Picayune spoke to him. The reporter who was head of the White House Press Correspondents Association said, "Harry, we're not happy that you're here, but we can't stop you from going to these press conferences. However, if you don't go to these press conferences, we will come out afterward and we will tell you everything that happened. You will have the exact same notes we do. You will find it possible to write the same stories that we do. And, if you don't go, we will let you join the White House Press Correspondents Association."

McAlpin went into the press conference and at the end of it he made a point of going by President Franklin Roosevelt's desk. Roosevelt shook McAlpin's hand and said, "Harry, I'm glad to have you here."

In 1947, the Negro Newspaper Publishers association and some individual news correspondents were accredited to the Congressional Press Galleries and the State Department. The early journalists accredited were James L. Hicks, Percival L. Prattis and Louis Lautier.

I hope the Black reporters around the nation are aware of this historical factoid as they attend future White House press conferences
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9 comments:

Jamie said...

You need to correct your opening paragraph. It is 1944 not 1994. A wonderful piece of history.

Villager said...

Jamie - Great lookin' out! thank you!!

msladydeborah said...

I enjoyed reading this story. We really need to hold up our first folks all year round.

Villager said...

Lady D - I agree. If we don't uplife OURstory, who will?

Black on Campus said...

I am ashamed to say that I'd never heard of Harry McAlpin before. Thanks for sharing this! It's a part of our history that we should all be aware of, especially at this moment in history.

Villager said...

Ajuan - You have inspired me and others to share information about OURstory. I'm glad we can enlighten you as well...

Karen Swim, Words For Hire said...

Thank you for celebrating OURStory this is a wonderful, uplifting reminder of all that we have accomplished. I am going to share this on Facebook.

Iya said...

My learning for the day. Thanks, Omo.

Wayne Hicks said...

Iya - We strive to share OURstory (versus "his"-story) whenever possible on this blog. If you ever have stories that you want us to share in the future ... just let me know!