Unsung Heroes of Black History

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My grandfather, Clifton Frederick Richardson, Sr., was a Black editor/publisher, journalist, political activist and civic booster in Houston during the period of 1911-1939. Both his editorial/journalist career and political activism can be defined using the titles of four of the publications he edited: “Watchman, Observer, Informer and Defender”. Mr. Richardson was born in Marshall, Texas on 30 October 1892. He graduated with honors from Bishop College in Marshall, Texas in June of 1909 with a degree in journalism and printing. After graduating from Bishop College, he and his wife moved to Dallas in 1910 to be employed as a printer with the Dallas Express.In 1911, he moved his family to Houston, Texas due to a request from Professor E. D. Pierson to work with the Western Star. In March of 1916, William N. Nickerson Jr., Clifton F. Richardson Sr., R. T. Andrews and Campbell A. Gilmore founded the Houston Observer and he became the first manager-editor of the paper. On May 2, 1919 he founded and became the editor of the The Houston Informer. On October 11, 1930, Mr. Richardson founded and became editor/publisher of the Houston Defender. Mr. Richardson was an officer or co-founder of following businesses, fraternal, political and civic organizations: American Mutual Benefit Association Inc. (partner), the Safety and Loan Brokerage Company (vice-president), Houston Community Chest (director of a 1925 charity drive), National Negro Business League (executive committee) , the Houston Negro Chamber of Commerce (one of the founders and first vice-president) , Texas Association of Negro Musicians for South Texas (district director), Coleridge-Taylor Choral Choir (president), Houston Colored Commercial Club (executive secretary), Houston Independent Voters Leagues/Progressive Voters’ League (one of the founders), Black and Tan Party of Harris County (co-founder in the 1920s), Real Building and Loan Association (president), Houston Negro Business League (president), Bethel Baptist Church (chairman of the board of trustees), Bethel Baptist Church (director of the School Choir), Bethel Baptist (soloist with the senior church choir), Bethel Baptist Church (teacher of the men’s Bible class), Webster-Richardson Publishing Company (president), grand president of several “Juneteenth Celebrations”, Southern Collegiate Conference Texas (official umpire for all games played at Prairie View State College), and one of the founders of the Houston Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. He was a member of the following organizations: Ancient Order of Pilgrims and United Brothers of Friendship, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, and the Y. M. C. A. Mr. Richardson was a vocal supporter of civil rights, writing many articles on the issue in his various publications. He was a founding member of the Civic Betterment League (CBL) of Harris County, and a founding member and later president of Houston’s NAACP chapter. Clifton F. Richardson died of kidney failure in August of 1939. His funeral procession during that time was one of the largest in Houston’s history. In a tribute to Mr. Richardson at his death, Miss M. E. B. Isaacs, society editor, stated “If I could write his epitaph, I would inscribe upon his tombstone-Clifton F. Richardson, Negro Journalist and fearless defender of the Black Man’s Rights”. -Leon
Joseph C. Sweeting, Founder and Editor of International Newsletter. JC Sweeting and Positive Friends is dedicated to spreading positive thoughts via the International Toastmaster and the International Guideon prison ministry around the world. -Dr. Samuel
My Unsung Hero of Black History is... Mr. Alvin Jackson of Rome Georgia he has been an inspiration to Rome he has been involved in Civil Rights since I’ve been old enough to understand what it is all about, Alvin have encouraged me to be involved in community events, politics and taught me things. I appreciate the things that Alvin does for Rome Georgia, he steps up to the plate and bat for us as citizens, he keeps us informed or what's happening around our town, he encourages us to be involved, be motivated to understand and stand for what's right. Alvin is and has been and influence to my life and i think he really deserves to be an un-sung hero for Rome Georgia. -Jackie
Rev. T. Ray McJunkins Senior Pastor at Union Baptist Church (Springfield IL) -Spencer
Reverend Bigsby, a leader in the Gamaliel organization and a powerful force in immigration reform and church revitalization efforts. -Ana