delilah beasley

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BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Today, in honor of Black History Month and the Oakland Tribune’s birthday, we celebrate Delilah Beasley.

Miss Beasley was born in Cincinnati in 1871. She began writing for her local paper at the age of 12 and later became a columnist for the Oakland Tribune becoming the first African American woman to be regularly published in a major metro newspaper. 

Beasley’s column “Activities Among Negroes” reported on the positive achievements and happenings in the black community in the Bay Area and nationwide. 

Delilah Beasley

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Delilah Leontium Beasley was born in 1872 in Cincinnati, Ohio. She became a correspondent for the Cleveland Gazette at the age of 12 and by age 15 had her own column in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Beasely continued her career as a journalist after moving to California in 1910, where she wrote for the Oakland Tribute. For more than two decades, her column “Activities among Negroes” made her famous for her promotion of equal treatment for Black people. She was instrumental in getting the mainstream press to stop using the terms “darkie” and “nigger” in print, and to capitalize the term “Negro.”

She was also an amateur historian. Beasley attended history lessons at the University of California, Berkeley and conducted her own research in archives across the state. In 1919, she published a collection of eight years of research entitled The Negro Trail-Blazers of California. The book provided the first written acknowledgements of Black contributions in California. Beasley died in 1934.

Sources:

Gates, H.L., & Appiah, K.A. (Eds). (1999). Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience. New York: Basic Civitas Books.

Hines, D.C., Ed. (1993). Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia. Brooklyn: Carlson Publishing, Inc.