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Thomas Fleming

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Information about Thomas Fleming

Profile image of Thomas Fleming

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Newspaper Columnist
Author
Newspaper Editor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Gray
Favorite Food:
All Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring, Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
11/29/1907
Birth Location:
Jacksonville, Florida

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Newspaper Columnist
Author
Newspaper Editor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Gray
Favorite Food:
All Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring, Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
11/29/1907
Birth Location:
Jacksonville
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Biography

Thomas C. Fleming is the oldest and longest-serving black journalist in the country. Born in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1907, he lived in Harlem for a short time before relocating to Chico, California, in 1919.

After graduating from Chico High School in 1926, Fleming worked as a bellhop and later as a cook for the Southern Pacific Railroad. In the early 1930s, he began working as an unpaid writer for the Spokesman, a progressive black paper in San Francisco. In 1932, he began coursework in political science at Chico State College, completing just three semesters before returning to the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1944, he became the founding editor of the Reporter, the only black paper in San Francisco at the time. He stayed on as the editor when it later merged with another black paper, the Sun, to become the Sun-Reporter. Since then, Fleming has been writing consistently, covering civil rights issues and giving an editorial voice to the Bay Area's black communities. In July of 1997, Fleming retired as executive editor of the Sun-Reporter. However, he continues to write two articles a week for the paper, as well as his syndicated column, "Reflections on Black History." The column is posted on the Internet and sent to more than 200 African American newspapers nationwide.

On his 90th birthday in 1997, Fleming published a collection of stories and photos from his early boyhood in Jacksonville and Harlem. The following year, he published Black Life in the Sacramento Valley 1850-1934, co-authored by Michele Shover, a professor of political science at California State University, Chico. Throughout his long-spanning career, he has come into contact with such greats as Martin Luther King, Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois, Charles Houston, A. Philip Randolph, Mary McLeod Bethune, Duke Ellington, Thurgood Marshall, Malcolm X, Langston Hughes and Paul Robeson. Thomas Fleming is the 1997 winner of the Career Achievement Award for Print from the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Thomas Fleming interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Thomas Fleming's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Thomas Fleming discusses his early years in New York, New York
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Thomas Fleming recalls his journey to Chico, California
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Thomas Fleming remembers his family members
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Thomas Fleming expresses his fondness for New York, New York
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Thomas Fleming remembers Fats Waller from their school days
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Thomas Fleming discusses his love of reading
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Thomas Fleming briefly explains his decision not to marry
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Thomas Fleming discusses race relations in the Chico, California of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Thomas Fleming expresses his views on religion
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Thomas Fleming recalls the San Francisco Bay Area jazz scene during the 1930s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Thomas Fleming speaks more about race relations in Chico, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Thomas Fleming remembers his reunion with his mother and sister
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Thomas Fleming describes the small black community in the Chico, California of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Thomas Fleming recalls his jobs and travels following high school graduation
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Thomas Fleming discusses his decision to attend college
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Thomas Fleming recalls his time at Chico State College
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Thomas Fleming discusses his conflict with Ruth Love
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Thomas Fleming explains his interest in politics and journalism
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Thomas Fleming discusses two influential journalists, William Randolph Hearst and Arthur Brisbane
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Thomas Fleming remembers a famous mentor, Senator William Knowland
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Thomas Fleming discusses the presence of African Americans at the University of California at Berkeley
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Thomas Fleming describes his time working for the Federal Writers' Project
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Thomas Fleming discusses several of his early positions in journalism
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Thomas Fleming recalls his experience working for the 'Oakland Tribune'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Thomas Fleming recalls being exposed to the 'Chicago Defender' and 'Pittsburgh Courier' early in his career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Thomas Fleming discusses notable African American newspaper publishers
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Thomas Fleming discusses his appearance on the radio show, 'Negroes in the News'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Thomas Fleming tells the story of the origin of the 'Sun-Reporter'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Thomas Fleming explains how partnership with Carlton Goodlett fostered success for the 'Sun-Reporter'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Thomas Fleming considers his accomplishments with the 'Sun-Reporter'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Thomas Fleming recalls working for the San Francisco County district attorney
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Thomas Fleming discusses organizing among Pullman Porters
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Thomas Fleming shares his views on race
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Thomas Fleming discusses conservative African American figures
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Thomas Fleming remembers meeting Ralph Bunche and Earl Dickerson
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Thomas Fleming considers equal opportunity for African Americans
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Thomas Fleming discusses Martin Luther King, Jr., W.E.B. DuBois and Paul Robeson
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Thomas Fleming evaluates the efforts of the Black Panther Party
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Thomas Fleming evaluates the civil rights efforts from the 1950s to the present
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Thomas Fleming evaluates the state of African countries
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Thomas Fleming recalls his international travels
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Thomas Fleming remembers Duke Ellington and his band
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Thomas Fleming compares Mexican American and African American experiences in California
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Thomas Fleming shares his fondness for California
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Thomas Fleming discusses his family relationships
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Thomas Fleming describes the need for a black press
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Thomas Fleming discusses consolidation in the newspaper world and William Randolph Hearst
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Thomas Fleming discusses his role in the integration of the San Francisco Press Club
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Thomas Fleming evaluates the leadership of Jesse Jackson
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Thomas Fleming discusses the leadership of Al Sharpton
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Thomas Fleming evaluates Louis Farrakhan and the Black Muslims
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Thomas Fleming discusses the possibility of religious warfare
  • Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Thomas Fleming shares his hopes for humanity
  • Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Thomas Fleming considers his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 14 - Thomas Fleming discusses the beauty and strength of black people