In recognition of late, luminary civil rights leader and labor organizer A. Philip Randolph, and his pioneering Black publication, The Messenger, which he founded in 1917, the MillerCoors APR Messenger Awards competition has been honoring achievement among the nation’s Black press for a milestone 20 years now. This year’s annual reception and awards ceremony for 2010 will be singular, however, in that it will bring the Messenger Awards to New York City, home to where the original Messenger was established nearly a century ago.
As an historical figure, Randolph was an orchestrator, steadfastly committed to the lifelong struggle for social justice, civil and human rights. He planned and organized activities and movements to unite African Americans against discrimination, and fought for racial equality. In fact, it was he who requested that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. be the speaker at the historic March On Washington, where King delivered his immortal “I Have A Dream” speech. Randolph dedicated his life to defending not only the rights of African Americans, but of all of the dispossessed.
In 1917, when he debuted The Messenger, which addressed such inequities, Randolph transitioned his human rights tactics to the written word. And today, almost 100 years hence, that word still lives on through the nation’s Black press. “America’s Black press, since before World War II, has held to its credo that ‘America can best lead the world away from racial and national antagonisms when it accords to every person, regardless of race, color or creed, full human and legal rights,’” states Moses Brewer, multicultural relations manager, MillerCoors.
“’Hating no person, fearing no person, the Black press strives to help every person in the firm belief that all are hurt as long as anyone is held back.’ We at MillerCoors are proud to stand firm with a pivotal national organization that both embraces this degree of commitment, and respects the craft of journalism, as do we.” The prestigious MillerCoors APR Messenger Awards pay tribute to progressive journalistic achievement in honor of the pioneering civil rights activist. MillerCoors is once again teaming up with the National Newspaper Publishers Association foundation (NNPA) this year as its exclusive sponsor.
Five Messenger finalists, and ten runners-up will be awarded a total of $30,000. The winning journalists in each category will receive $5,000, and the two runners up in each category will be awarded $500. The Messenger Awards will be presented at a special luncheon during the NNPA’s 2010 annual convention, being held June 16th to 18th in New York at the Sheraton New York Hilton and Towers.
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