After 57 years as publisher of the Bay State Banner, it is time for me to step down. I launched the Banner in 1965 with a Roxbury classmate, Otis Gates, after President Lyndon Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act. We believed that a federal law against racial discrimination in employment, education and places of public accommodation substantially expanded economic opportunities for Blacks, but an effective communications medium was essential to facilitate social change.
Indeed, the Banner’s participation was essential for success, but its survival in Boston’s competitive environment was often questionable. However, competent and committed staff emerged to solve problems. Brian O’Connor became the Banner’s best managing editor and Sandra Casagrand became an effective co-publisher with special attention to marketing. And there were many other members of the staff that enabled the Banner to publish a high-quality weekly.
In compliance with the 1964 Civil Rights Act and my personal profound commitment to racial equality, the Banner has never discriminated in the employment of staff because of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. So now we hand over the Bay State Banner to a new administration. We anticipate that in service to the community, they will embellish the solid reputation of the Banner that has required 57 years of effort to develop.