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CELEBRATE AMERICA’S GREATEST CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER
Martin Luther King Jr., Speech in Detroit, June 23, 1963 ...And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. So I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man.
Inn er -CNiewtsy The
MLK Publication Date: January 19, 2015 Publication Dates: January 15, 22, 2019
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MLK: Militant of the 21st Century Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. hasn’t been this alive since 1968 By Lee A. Daniels, NNPA Columnist
He’s no longer that visually distant, two-dimensional figure, limited to speaking a single sentence taken out of context and shorn of its true meaning. Instead, the honest scholarship and media commentary considering what King faced and what he did have broken through the obscuring fog of conservative, and yes, centrist, propaganda. In part, that’s because, today the confrontation between the forces of progress and the racist reaction to that progress is sharper than any time since the 1960s. Today, as in the 1960s, American society is grappling with elevating new groups of Americans to full citizenship. Today, as in the 1960s, it’s being forced to confront the meaning of its widespread poverty and joblessness, and its diminished educational opportunity. Today, as in the 1960s, Black Americans’ right to vote is under siege from conservatives, as are women’s reproductive rights. And today, as in the 1960s, the country is debating the extent of government’s responsibility to protect individuals’ access to opportunity. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words and actions seem relevant again because they’ve always presented a challenge to the status quo and always urged individuals to live up to humanity’s best possibilities. That command has become particularly compelling again because of the remarkable juxtaposition of present-day developments and anniversaries of past landmark events. The latter include: the 50-year anniversaries of the climactic years of the Civil Rights Movement, especially the year 1963, when King delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech at the March on Washington; and of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, whose support of the civil rights struggle, tentative though it was, made him Blacks’ most important presidential ally since Abraham Lincoln. And it also includes the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation. The completion of the King Memorial in Washington – and the welcome controversy about its design helped immeasurably as well. The controversy itself was a metaphorical breath of fresh air, blowing away at least some of the clouds of stultifying hero-worship that had for too long distorted the fact that the real Martin Luther King, Jr. was, above all, a great provocateur. Speaking in the early 1990s, when the conservative political ascendancy was at its height, Rev. Hosea Williams, one of King’s lieutenants during the civil rights struggles, explained that “There is a definite effort on the part of America to change Martin Luther King, Jr. from what he was really about – to make him the Uncle Tom of the century. “ Williams insisted, “In my mind, he was the militant of the century.” Williams was right, and King’s importance – his militancy – is still not completely understood today. He didn’t “make” the Civil Rights Movement.
He wasn’t its operational leader or its major tactician. But he was its national and international spokesman – the man who, speaking in that rich baritone, could turn words into emotions that were otherwise inexpressible and into word-pictures that represented the entire tapestry of the centuries-long Black freedom struggle. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 13-year life on the national stage brilliantly represented the courage it took in those decades to challenge the seemingly overwhelming power of the South’s racist power structure. Far less acknowledged is the courage it took for King – after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and his being awarded the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize – to resist the temptations of partial success and his own fame. Instead, King kept moving leftward, to confront the racial and economic injustice that had created and maintained the Black ghettos of the North, and the national hubris that had led America into the quagmire of war in Southeast Asia. For this he was pilloried by President Lyndon B. Johnson and much of the White liberal establish-
ment, and a good portion of the civil rights and Black political establishment, too. His insistence that nonviolence was still a viable means of social change was ridiculed, as were his plans to stage a multiracial Poor Peoples March on Washington and involve himself in the bitter sanitation worker’s strike in Memphis, Tenn. But those difficult years were actually King’s finest hours. At the moment of his assassination, he was standing where he had begun his public life: with ordinary Black people who were being unjustly denied their human rights. King’s refusal to submit offers a lesson to take to heart at this moment when conservative politicians and theorists are trying to restore inequality of opportunity as the law of the land. It tells us we should adopt King as The Militant of the 21st Century, too. Lee A. Daniels, Lee A. Daniels is a longtime journalist based in New York City. His essay, “Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Great Provocateur,” appears in Africa’s Peacemakers: Nobel Peace Laureates of African Descent,” to be published by Palgrave Macmillan in March.
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Black History Month Publication Dates: 2nd, 9th,12th, 16th,19th, 23rd26th, Publication Dates:February February 5th,
Join Inner-City Newspaper celebrating Black History in in February. These commemoraJoin The Inner City Newspaper as weincelebrate the achievements of Africanmonth Americans February during Black History Month! tive issues are to breathe lifeCity into the historical purpose of the Black press. The InnerDuring thedesigned month of February, The Inner Newspaper will publish four weekly commemorative editions, Cityeach Newspaper 4 issues February saluting Black History issue different fromwill the be next,publishing saluting African Americanininnovators in The Arts, The Sciences, Sports, month. Civics andEach Business. will be different from the next, highlighting local and national achievements of African-Americans. We look forward to having you join us as we offer these premium opportunities for your messaging to reach our readership.
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Black History Month is an annual celebraKnown today as the Association for the tion of achievements by African Americans Study of African American Life and Histoand a time for recognizing the central role ry (ASALH), the group sponsored a nationof blacks in U.S. history. The event grew al Negro History week in 1926, choosing out of “Negro History Week,” the brainthe second week of February to coincide child of noted historian Carter G. Woodson with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and and other prominent African Americans. Circulation Breakdown Frederick Douglass. The event inspired Since 1976, every U.S. president has ofschools and communities nationwide to orficially designated the month of February ganize local celebrations, establish history Inner-City News Market as Black History Month. Other countries clubs and host performances and lectures. around the world, including Canada and CIRCULATION BREAKDOWN GET THE FACTS the United Kingdom, also devote a month Did you know? The NAACP was founded to celebrating black history. on February 12, 1909, the centennial anPublished: weekly / circulation: 25,000 / Readership: Connecticut has 16.5% non-white population. The figure niversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. 100,000 for the inner city newspaper coverage area is an overwhelmOrigins of Black History Month Where: over 750+ In racks throughout thethat New Haven and ing 44%. the decades followed, mayors of The story of Black History Month begins Bridgeport area. cities across the country began issuing in 1915, half a century after Thirteenth yearly proclamations recognizing Negro Within thethe inner city distribution area, the cities with the largAmendment abolishedestslavery in the UnitHistory Week. By the late 1960s, thanks non-white populations are: New haven 60% Bridgeport 40% ed States. in part to the civil rights movement and a New Haven, Westhaven, Hamden, North Haven, Bridgeport, Bridgeport 53.1% New haven 49.3% growing awareness of black identity, Negro represents a vital consumer base and an important segOrange, Ansonia, Milford, Waterbury That September, theThis Harvard-trained hisHistory Week had evolved into Black Hisment ofand the population that cannot be ignored! Media martorian Carter G. Woodson the promitory Month on many college campuses. Here are some quick facts about our readers. ketMoorland research (MRI)founded reported that 30.3% of the black popunent minister Jesse E. the Association for lation the Study of Negro President Gerald Ford officially recogeducated: 53% have household incomes of over $40,000 a year! Age: 35–78 College Life and History (ASNLH), anpopulation organizanized Black History 10% of this have incomes of 70,000 or more! Male / Female: 46%– 54% Home owners:Month 34% in 1976, calling tion dedicated to researching and promotupon the public to “seize the opportunity to ing achievements by black Americans and honor the too-often neglected accomplishPlace your message where people place their trust. other peoples of African descent. ments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
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