Ebony Magazine Archived on Line

Hat tip here to postbourgie.  Ebony Magazine has archived all issues back to the 1950’s on line.  This is truly a treasure and a history lesson.  You can access the back issues here.

As I read through a couple of the issues from the 1950’s a couple of things really stuck out in addition to the articles.  There are a lot of ads for liquor in the 1950’s vintage of the publication; it really borders on being obscenely excessive.  For some reason, I don’t remember seeing these when reading Ebony when I was younger but looking back now, it seems so strange to see so many of these.  A part of me wants to go into some sort of grand conspiracy theory, but I’ll refrain from that and just chalk all these ads up to Johnson Publishing’s inability to procure other types of advertising.   I suspect this had a lot to do with how black folks were perceived as a market segment (i.e. “the only thing that they do is drink, so let’s just place liquor ads”).  The balance of the ads were for mostly for hair products and to a lesser extent, skin lightening creams.  In the later publications, the ads began to become a bit more balanced with ads for cars and services. Again, looking back at this from today’s perspective, it’s really fascinating,  even though I lived it and am old enough to remember.

As to the articles, we’re talking history of black folks here in America.  Many of editions of Ebony were published in the middle of the civil right struggles and they reflect the issues of that day.  There are many stories of “firsts” and articles on things like cotillions for the children of the black bourgeois.   You can literally spend a couple of hours going through the archives.  This is definitely a site for your book-mark.

 

 

Advertisements
Comments
4 Responses to “Ebony Magazine Archived on Line”
  1. I would be lying to you if I failed to tell you that Ebony and Jet have fallen out of favor for me.

    It hit me in their July 2007 issue which focused on “Gun Violence In The Black Community”. The article made it appear that there was this big gun that had feet, which ran down the streets of Black American, shooting every Negro in sight.

    Indeed it was a “gun control” story as “humanized” the shooting victims but FAILED to mention the SHOOTER and how HUMANITY must be brought to the Street Pirate.

    My central complaint is that they no longer operate as the VOICE OF THE BLACK COMMUNITY. Instead they are the VOICE OF THE BLACK ESTABLISHMENT.

    Whereas the Black Press was originally christened to bring light to Black issues per the blackout by the Mainstream press, it has lost its way. Today as the Black Establishment controls our key institutions – we can’t look to it to provide critical analysis of their failings. This is the case even if doing so would advance our people’s BEST INTERESTS.

    They still function as a propaganda spring board for Black Progressive perspectives.

    Ironically the future of Ebony and Jet are most at risk during the same time that the presidential canidate that they endorsed (the first time in company history) is now in office. The Black Progressive obviously feels no need to purchase Ebony/Jet when the same message can be obtained for free from HuffPo or DailyKOS

  2. Greg L says:

    >>>>They still function as a propaganda spring board for Black Progressive perspectives.

    Ironically the future of Ebony and Jet are most at risk during the same time that the presidential canidate that they endorsed (the first time in company history) is now in office. The Black Progressive obviously feels no need to purchase Ebony/Jet when the same message can be obtained for free from HuffPo or DailyKOS<<<<<

    CF,

    Thanks for dropping by.

    One of the main challenges that Ebony and Jet face is from the internet as they've been slow to adopt that platform. When one adds that to the lack of relevant coverage, it's easy to understand why they're on a deathwatch of sorts.

    What you say about their abdicaton of the former role as a distiller of relevant facts or issues is apparent as one reads through the various editions from the 1950's though the 1980's. The topics in the later editions get kinda "light" and focus on the same sort of mindless nonsense that the main stream press often focuses on. This is really a chicken and egg issue; is nonsense what people want to read or have they been conditioned to only want to read the trite and banal? I believe that we create what we want with the written word. If we want thoughtful and intelligent people, then we need to write about the sorts of topics that would create that. Of course, the same thing applies to the challenges the community faces. If we want people thinking about solutions to problems, then we must first acknowledge our responsibility for solving the problems and begin to examine solutions.

    In the main, there are few organs within the African-American community that speak forthrightly on the problems from the standpoint of crafting solutions. This is so because we don't want to own the problem. We wish to continue to argue that the problems are the vestiges of past racism (which many are) and look to racism to be removed and someone to "repair us" to address the problems. This is yet another chicken and egg dilemma; does someone have to stop being racist before you can begin solving your own problems or can you work to resolve your problems independent of the other person changing?

    For conditions to exist as they do in the face of deafening silence sends a message to the miscreant element. Since no one says hell no, then it must be okay, so they basically run unchecked throughout the community at will wreaking all sorts of havoc in their path.

    This is a collosal failure of leadership across the board, whether it's in the home or in the city hall. The politicians aren't accountable, for the same reason the street pirates aren't. No one has said hell no.

    The philosophy of lining up at the government trough to solve everything that ails us has been a proven failure as well and without question, this can and should be considered a failure of progressive politics, but again I say there's another key leadership group missing in our community that's present in others. This would be the group of business persons and others who monitor the politicians, set the strategic direction for community development and fund campaigns for political aspirants. The biggest problem we have beyond philosophy is that we don't own the politicians; some one else does and as a consequence they're accountable to these "others" rather than us.

  3. Peter Ojike OKORIE says:

    Sirs, it’s quite insightful to read the comments on how we ‘africans and african americans have fallen in our community responsibilities from no other place than here ‘ebony’ I have indeed been blessed by the directness of these comments. Keep them flowing.

  4. Greg L says:

    Glad you enjoyed the exchange Peter. Thanks for dropping by!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: