Paul Cobb has experienced setbacks and uphill battles before. As a young man, he eagerly joined the voter registration fights in Selma and boldly spoke out for civil rights.
For 39 years, Cobb served as a newspaper columnist, putting pen to paper on some of the most pressing issues in the Black community.
When he purchased the Oakland Post in 2004, Cobb immediately ordered an audit of the newspaper and determined never to miss a deadline. So it’s little wonder that following a late-night break-in at the Post on Wednesday, he remained firm in his resolve.
“We have never missed getting the newspaper out, and this will not stop us, either,” he said in a telephone call with NNPA Newswire. “We are racing over time, but we will get the newspaper out.”
A burglar entered Cobb’s Oakland Post, leaving the downtown office in disarray and covered in glass. Reportedly, police have obtained video of the incident that includes the suspect.
“The place was ransacked,” Cobb said, adding that it appeared the thief attempted to steal a television, some computers, and rifled through files and desks.
Attorney Thomas L. Berkley, a National Newspaper Publishers Association member, and his wife Velda M. Berkley founded the paper in 1963. The weekly publication remains dedicated to covering major issues concerning African Americans in Oakland – education, civil rights, crime, employment and the fight against racism.
According to the Post’s website, the newspaper became the largest African American newspaper in Northern California, circulating over 55,000. In addition, it counted as the central paper of the Post Newspaper Group, which included five Bay Area newspapers, including the Richmond Post and the Spanish language newspaper El Mundial.
In 1972 the newspaper moved its business offices and printing facilities from Berkeley, California, to 630 20th St. in Oakland. Following Thomas Berkley’s death, Cobb purchased the Post in 2004.
Cobb, a community organizer who once led the Oakland Citizens Committee for Urban Renewal and served as a mayoral appointee on the Board of Education, said the burglary proved disconcerting.
It also occurred only weeks after officials renamed a part of 14th Street after Chauncey Bailey, the late Post reporter killed in 2007.
“I’m happy none of our staff was hurt,” Cobb said. “I’m really to go to press now.”