2011 NNPA convention to honor Clayton, Reeves

Black Newspaper publishers from across the country will meet at the annual National Newspaper Publishers Association/The Black Press of America conference June 22-25 at the Drake Hotel in Chicago.

Black Newspaper publishers from across the country will meet at the annual National Newspaper Publishers Association/The Black Press of America conference June 22-25 at the Drake Hotel in Chicago.

Among the highlights of this year’s convention will be the 2011 NNPA Legacy of Excellence Awards, which will be given to Xernona Clayton, founder, president and CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation and Garth C. Reeves, publisher emeritus of the Miami Times and America’s oldest living Black newspaper publisher.

The Legacy of Excellence Award was created to honor Black publishers whose life works mirror the courage, commitment, sacrifice and achievement demonstrated in publishing Black newspapers throughout America and the world. The event will take place on Friday.

The Trumpet Awards is a prestigious event highlighting African American accomplishments and contributions. Initiated in 1993 by Turner Broadcasting, the Trumpet Awards has been televised annually and distributed internationally to over 185 countries around the world.

Clayton began her television career in 1967 and became the South’s first Black person to have her own television show. The Xernona Clayton show was a regular feature on WAGA-TV, a CBS affiliate in Atlanta.

She worked at Turner Broadcasting for nearly 30 years where she served as a corporate executive. In 1988, she was appointed corporate vice president for Urban Affairs with the broadcasting company. In this capacity, she directed internal and external projects and served as liaison between Turner Broadcasting (TBS SuperStation, CNN, Headline News, TNT, Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks) and civic groups in Atlanta and across the country. As a corporate executive, Clayton was one of the highest-ranking female employees in Turner Broadcasting System.

Clayton moved to Atlanta in 1965 where she accepted a position with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and worked closely with the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Clayton also traveled extensively with Coretta Scott King on her nationwide concert tours.

Dedicated to promoting racial understanding, Clayton has been a leader in civic projects and civil rights activities for several years. In 1966, she coordinated the activities of Atlanta’s Black doctors in a project called Doctors’ Committee for Implementation, which resulted in the desegregation of all hospital facilities in Atlanta. This project served as a model and a pilot for other states throughout the country and received national honor from the National Medical Association for its impact.

Her persistent fight against the prejudice and bigotry was never more apparent than in 1968, when the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan denounced the Klan and credited her influence with his change.

Clayton’s dedication to the community is reflected in the many hours she spends promoting human relations through bi-racial groups devoted to improving racial understanding.

A recipient of numerous media awards, she has been widely honored for her contributions to humanity.

Reeves, now 92, used his newspaper as the voice of Miami-Dade’s Black community during his 50-year tenure as the newspaper’s publisher.

He worked at the printing plant owned by his father, Bahamian native Henry Reeves. After graduating from Miami’s Booker T. Washington High School and Florida A&M University, and then serving in the U.S. Army, Reeves got into the family newspaper business and returned for good to Miami.

In the Army, he was treated “like a second-class soldier,” he said in a 2009 interview with a local newspaper.

“When I came back, I wasn’t happy with what I saw here, either, and I decided that something had to be done about it, or I was gonna end up in a world of trouble,” he said.

From then on, he has been involved in almost every battle on behalf of Black Miamians. The Miami Times, “one family serving South Florida since 1923,” has reported on almost all of the major events affecting Black Miami over the last 80 years.

Reeves, a former national president of the NNPA, called it “quite a ride.” He said he thought of doing nothing else and gave his daughter, current publisher Rachael Reeves, credit for new innovations and the continued success of the publication.

Entertainment at the awards gala will be provided by the Legendary Temptations.

Among the other highlights at this year’s event include a debate between National Action Network founder and civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton and Dr. Cornel West, Professor of Religion and African American Studies at Princeton University on the subject of President Barack Obama and the Black Agenda Friday at 12:30 p.m.

Also featured will be a national leaders forum moderated by Charles Ogletree, the Harvard Law School Jesse Climenko Professor of Law and featuring Chuck Morrison of Ford Motor Co.; Dr. Benjamin Chavis, co-founder, president and CEO of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network; Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, academic and professor of sociology at Georgetown University; Rainbow PUSH founder Rev. Jesse L. Jackson; NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous; Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor of Africana Studies at California State University, Long Beach and founder of the U.S. organization; and Rev. Al Sharpton taking place Friday from 2 p.m.-4 p.m.

Thursday at 9 a.m. Dr. Frederick D. Haynes III, senior pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas, will speak on the topic of the Press & the Pulpit.

Fortune 500 companies including AT&T, Ford, GM, Nielsen, and Wells Fargo will join NNPA Chairman Danny Bakewell for a discussion on the importance of advertising in the Black press on Friday at 10:30 a.m.

This year’s event will also feature forward-looking dialogue with a focus on growing revenue and audience in today’s marketplace. Topics include: mobile innovation, social media, advertising customer insights, increasing digital loyalty, growing circulation, and much more.

Throughout the conference AT&T will host a CyberCafe and host a Multi-Media Platform workshop on Thursday.

“Black newspapers are formulating and adopting aggressive new strategies to grow our audience and drive up revenue, our annual conference offers newspaper publishers the critical opportunity to share success stories and learn about innovative strategies,” said NNPA Chairman Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. “In addition to exceptional programming, the conference allows attendees to get in front of over 200 major Black publishers and for major advertisers to meet our members and to learn about the role the Black press plays in America.”

Full information on the conference, including programming and registration details, is available at www.nnpa.org.

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