The National Newspaper Publishers Association Fund [NNPAF] paid tribute to one of the legends of the Black Press – celebrating the legacy of and inducting the late Carter Walter Wesley into the Black Press Archives and Gallery of Distinguished Black Publishers.
The Archives and Gallery are housed at the Moreland Spingarn Research Center at Howard University.
“We acknowledge and salute the historic contributions to the Black Press of America by Carter Walter Wesley,” NNPAF Chair and Marshall Broadcasting Group CEO Pluria Marshall Jr. exclaimed during the virtual ceremony that took place as part of the recent Black Press Week.
“We will always hold dear in our hearts not only our memories of the outstanding contributions of Carter Walter Wesley. We also know that today, it is important to remain vigilant and committed to his example of leadership and courage to be the trusted voice of Black America,” Marshall proclaimed.
“We are honored to install Carter Walter Wesley into the Black Press Archives and Gallery of Distinguished Black Publishers.”
Born in Houston in 1892, Wesley earned a bachelor’s degree from Fisk University in Nashville in 1917.
He later joined the United States Army, becoming one of the nation’s first African-American military officers. After leaving the Army, Wesley earned a law degree from Northwestern University in Illinois.
He practiced law in Oklahoma and Texas but faced significant discrimination before purchasing a stake in the Houston Informer, a 45,000-circulation publication.
Wesley boldly used the Houston Informer and the Dallas Express to fight white supremacy and tout political candidates who backed equal rights legislation.
Wesley also pushed for voting rights and weighed a campaign against systemic racism.
He married Dorris Wooten and the couple had three children.
Wesley died in 1969 at the age of 87.
“Thank you for honoring my father, the publisher of the Houston Informer and Dallas Express,” Kathy Wesley Ennix, Wesley’s daughter, stated during her father’s virtual enshrinement ceremony on Friday, March 19.
The ceremony included a touching video about Wesley’s inspiring life and career.
“My father used the newspaper as a voice to win more rights for African Americans,” Ennix remarked.
“His biographer describes him as a political and social power, far beyond the measure allotted most Black men of his time.”
Ennix recalled that Wesley wrote a column called “Ram’s Horn” in which he often mused about family and friends. She remembered on one occasion arriving at her father’s office and hearing him engaged in a screaming match.
“It was so loud,” Ennix recalled.
“I asked his secretary, ‘who is he talking to so ugly?’ She said, ‘Oh, honey, it’s just LBJ (Lyndon B. Johnson). They get into it every time he comes.’ That was before Johnson was president. My dad was a man of integrity and character. He fought for what he believed. Not only was he a businessman but he was also a loving and caring dad.”