Debut Episode of Black Journal, 1968
Before it became Tony Brown’s Journal, Black Journal was a weekly newsmagazine originating from NET (National Educational Television–pre-WNET) and airing nationally. The tone was a mixture of serious, educational, and irreverent– in news stories, interviews (2 Black Panthers in this episode alone), profiles, and skits.
Hosted by Lou House and William Greaves, initially the staff on Black Journal, and, in fact, for this first episode, were NOT all black producers, directors, etc… but between when the first episode was being prepared and its airdate, the black staff of the show went on strike (more about this later, when we interview producer Charles Hobson, spokeperson for the group). The goals of the strike? For the staff, at the very least the senior staff, to be all black. These goals were met by the time the show, and this first episode, launched.
* Open: actor Godfrey Cambridge, playing a maintenance worker, paints the screen black.
* Harvard Class Day: Coretta Scott King speaks to the graduating class at Harvard.
* Graduation ’68: interviews with graduating students at Harvard, Southern University, Morehouse and Spelman.
* Press Roundup: history of the black press and review of stories in the news, from the 1800s to today.
* Poor People’s Campaign: footage of shantytown built on the mall in Washington, DC, and an update about the status and effect of the movement.
* New Breed Fashions: profile of the all-black clothing design firm, including a runway show. New Breed was the company who basically invented the dashiki in 1967–they adapted an African garment and gave it the name–and then heavily promoted it as the black-identity garment to have.
* Profile of a Jockey: Ronnie Tanner, an apprentice jockey, and a short history of black jockeys in horse racing.
* Black Panthers: Review of the Panther-police conflict in Oakland, California.
* Interview with Huey Newton, from prison
* Interview with Bobby Seale
* Dateline: brief news update
* Mass Media Satire: a skit, spoof of the media and how they approach black issues or characters at the time. Lots of semi-veiled ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’ jokes.
Running time: approximately 1 hour.