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Vernon Jarrett

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Information about Vernon Jarrett

Profile image of Vernon Jarrett

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Newspaper Columnist
Television Host
Radio Host

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Greens (Turnip), Peas (Black-Eyed), Ham (Smoked)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Profound.

Birthplace

Born:
6/19/1918
Birth Location:
Saulsbury, Tennessee

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Newspaper Columnist
Television Host
Radio Host

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Greens (Turnip), Peas (Black-Eyed), Ham (Smoked)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Profound.

Birthplace

Born:
6/19/1918
Birth Location:
Saulsbury
See how Vernon Jarrett is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Born on June 19, 1918, in Tennessee, Vernon Jarrett was one of the nation's most prominent commentators on race relations and African American history within the United States. Newspaper, television and radio broadcasts have all been forums for his insights. Jarrett began his journalism career at the Chicago Defender,/i> during the 1940's and later worked for the Associated Negro Press before making the transition to radio in 1948. For the next three years, Jarrett and composer Oscar Brown, Jr. produced "Negro Newsfront", the nation's first daily radio newscast created by African Americans.

In 1970, Jarrett became the first African American syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune. He used his editorial voice as a forum for commentary on the social and economic trends affecting African Americans, as well as the global concerns of pan-African politics. During this period, Jarrett served as host on Chicago's WLS-ABC TV, where he produced nearly two thousand television broadcasts. In 1983, Jarrett left the Tribune and began writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, where he continued his tradition of political and social commentary, which has always been firmly grounded in the African American experience.

In 1977, Jarrett created the NAACP-sponsored ACT-SO program. An acronym for "Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological, and Scientific Olympics", ACT-SO is an enrichment program for exceptional African American students nationwide. Through the program, over $1,000,000 in computers, scholarships and books have been awarded to top-ranking students, who are recognized and honored each year during ACT-SO's national television special. To date, hundreds of students across the United States have participated in the annual event.

Jarrett also became a columnist for the New York Times' New American News Syndicate and his social commentary could be heard during "The Jarrett Journal", a news show broadcast on WVON-AM, Chicago's only African American-owned radio station. He was also a member of the editorial board of the NAACP's ninety year-old magazine, The Crisis, which was created by W. E. B. Du Bois. Jarrett's outstanding journalistic efforts have earned him numerous honors and awards, including his being the first recipient of the NAACP's James Weldon Johnson Achievement Award and his 1998 induction into the National Literary Hall of Fame at the University of Chicago's Gwendolyn Brooks Center. Jarrett passed away on May 23, 2004.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Vernon Jarrett's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Vernon Jarrett describes his childhood as wonderful
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Vernon Jarrett recalls Joe Louis and how media and organizations served as "cement" for the mostly rural black population
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Vernon Jarrett recalls the love and solidarity in the black community of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Vernon Jarrett remembers his parents, rural schoolteachers in Tennessee
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Vernon Jarrett talks about the start of Negro History Week and its impact in his school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Vernon Jarrett recalls his first grade teacher's creative way of teaching about black heroes
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Vernon Jarrett recalls an essay in junior high that influenced him to become a writer
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Vernon Jarrett describes the black community's strong support for higher education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Vernon Jarrett remembers his ongoing literature contest with a daughter of a white family he worked for
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Vernon Jarrett talks about soul food and philosophy
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Vernon Jarrett describes Southern black communities' emphasis on educational achievement against the odds
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Vernon Jarrett reveals his school suspension for kissing a white girl
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Vernon Jarrett speaks with emotion about his mother's creative writing and frustrated ambition
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Vernon Jarrett remembers the pride in education of his family and other African Americans
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Vernon Jarrett discusses the hunger for education of black people like his grandmother who illegally learned to read as a slave
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Vernon Jordan recalls a lesson from an ex-slave about respecting black women and their contributions to the race
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Vernon Jarrett talks about the need for a renewal of blacks' learning their history
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Vernon Jarrett talks about working at an Alcoa plant and joining the Navy in WWII
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Vernon Jarrett remembers his first impressions of Chicago in the 1940s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Vernon Jarrett spells his name and discusses the date with the interviewer
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Vernon Jarrett describes his vocation as a writer and gaining employment at The Chicago Defender
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Vernon Jarrett talks about meeting W.E.B. DuBois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Vernon Jarrett recalls librarian Vivian G. Harsh's influence on him
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Vernon Jarrett explains the importance of academic role models and mentors for younger people today
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Vernon Jarrett describes the post-war "new world" mood prevalent when he moved to Chicago to become a journalist
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Vernon Jarrett describes the appeal of The Defender and the city of Chicago to Southern blacks
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Vernon Jarrett talks about the importance of Joe Louis and radio in the African American community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Vernon Jarrett talks about a lost sense of community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Vernon Jordan talks about the significance of radio for the black community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Vernon Jordan discusses the insidious racism and violence against African Americans
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Vernon Jarrett recalls the impact of black newspapers during his youth
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Vernon Jarrett recalls a lesson in race relations and pride from his father
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Vernon Jordan remembers his start at the Chicago Defender
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Vernon Jordan remembers covering white mob violence against integration of Airport Homes in Chicago, 1946
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Vernon Jarrett recalls learning that some black politicians collaborated against the interest of their people
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Vernon Jarrett explains his inspiration by courageous black journalists of his youth
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Vernon Jarrett discusses the dangers the NAACP faced in the American South
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Vernon Jarrett talks about black baseball players in the major leagues, an inspiration for African Americans
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Vernon Jarrett talks about interviewing Congressman William L. Dawson for The Chicago Defender
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Vernon Jarrett recounts some of the risks he became known for taking as a young reporter
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Vernon Jarrett explains his role in the Associated Negro Press clipping service
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Vernon Jarrett talks about black theater and radio plays in Chicago in the 1940s-1950s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Vernon Jarrett discusses the African American housing crisis caused by restrictive covenants in Chicago
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Vernon Jarrett details changes in Chicago from the late 1940s through the early 1960s
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Vernon Jarrett talks about his radio programs and real estate involvement, from the late 1940s to early 1950s
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Vernon Jarrett recalls his years as a brewery sales rep and writer in Kansas City during the 1950s
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Vernon Jarrett talks about his work for the Chicago Community Conservation Board and a controversial speech
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Vernon Jarrett tells about a Chicago television special to discourage riots after King's assassination, part one
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Vernon Jarrett tells about a Chicago television special to discourage riots after King's assassination, part two
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Vernon Jarrett talks about beginning to work for WLS-TV in Chicago in 1968
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Vernon Jarrett tells how he began working for the Chicago Tribune in 1970
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Vernon Jarrett talks about a few factual errors that made it into his column
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Vernon Jarrett talks about attending national political conventions and interpreting them from a black perspective
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Vernon Jarrett talks about his role in the election of Harold Washington, Chicago's first black mayor
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Vernon Jarrett talks about his television show and moving from the Chicago Tribune to The Chicago Sun-Times
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Vernon Jarrett talks about the importance of mentorship to young African Americans
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Vernon Jarrett explains the Freedom Readers program and recalls how his own interest in reading developed
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Vernon Jarrett talks about founding the National Association of Black Journalists
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Vernon Jarrett describes his notion of his legacy
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Vernon Jarrett explains what made him an effective journalist
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Vernon Jarrett discusses some of his values and beliefs
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Vernon Jarrett discusses his philosophy on life and religious faith
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Vernon Jarrett talks about the centrality of race in his worldview and the future of the black race