In the mid-1980's a group of visionary African American publishers in Texas decided to take control of their destinies a step further.  Although long the voice of black Texans, individually, the publications knew they lacked the power and influence that a collective organization could bring.  In unity, there is strength, they realized.

  Many of the TPA's founding newspapers were already members of the Nation Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), a national organization of African American owned publications.  They felt the NNPA provided adequate representation on a national level.  However, the organization did not meet the needs of the publishers regionally.

 At that time, there were twenty-seven African American publications in the state of Texas, far more than in some multi-state regions.  These publications were the main source of information for Texas growing black population.  Still, the black press in Texas remained virtually invisible to people outside of the community and garnered what they viewed as inadequate respect from political leaders, community organizers and advertisers.

  Because the black press was already effectively discriminating information to the African American community, the publishers knew one of the greatest advantages of having a regional association was increased support from advertisers.  After all, in the mid-eighties, the combined publications had reached more than a million black Texans who were also voters, consumers, and community advocates.  Therefore, after preliminary meetings and planning sessions, the publishers held a press conference in January 1986, to announce the birth of the Texas Publishers Association.

The founding newspapers were the Dallas Post Tribune, Dallas Weekly, Houston Flame, Houston New Age, Houston Sun, Informer (Houston), Muhammad Speaks (Houston), San Antonio Register, Southwest Digest (Lubbock), SNAP News (San Antonio), Texas Times (Fort Worth), Tyler Tribune (which later became the Smith County Herald), Villager (Austin) and Waco Messenger.

  The TPA's first president was Tommy L. Wyatt, publisher of the Villager.

  Almost immediately, the TPA felt the impact it desired.  Less than a month after the TPA's formation, Gary Mauro, Texas Land Commissioner of the General Land Office wrote, "I have always been impressed by the influence of Texas' black newspapers on a individual basis.  As a unified group, that influence can only increase.  Your group will clearly be playing a major role in Texas electoral politics in years to come."

  Today the Texas Publishers Association is made up of 14 current members of black newspapers publications in Texas covering an estimated 2.9 million reader audience in print and many members now serve the entire world wide web.  The Organization and its clout continues to grow and  has seeded a change in the entire state of Texas' perception of the role of the black press, black community leaders, black opportunities, advertising, economic development.

  The Texas Publishers Association members still have a vision - to meet the growing needs of the African American community by focusing on social, political and economic empowerment.



The banner below with nineteen stars serves as a reminder of June Nineteenth, 1865 when freedom came to all people in Texas!


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