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Carolina Peacemaker

by Alexander R. Stoesen, 2006

Carolina Peacemaker, an African American weekly newspaper published in Greensboro since 1967, was the creation of John Marshall Stevenson, its editor and publisher. The paper was intended to address the needs and interests of African Americans in Greensboro and the rest of North Carolina. In the summer of 1974, Stevenson legally changed his name to "Kilimanjaro," stating that to keep the name of his great grandfather's master would lend itself to the "glorification of one who exploited and denigrated a great but unfortunate people."

The first issue of the Peacemaker appeared on 30 Mar. 1967; in his editorial, titled "The Other Side of the Tracks," Kilimanjaro stated that he had founded the paper because the "Negro citizens of Greensboro had had their hopes of achieving political representation on both the local and state levels dashed unceremoniously to the ground" in the 1960s. There was a need to unify the black community, and he intended to provide the "journalistic vehicle through which the hopes, ambitions, fears, and aspirations of the entire citizenry regarding social, economic, and civic affairs might be expressed."

In the mid-1970s a column titled "UP and DOWN MARKET STREET" appeared, using a caricature of a "black" dialect. Written by "Ole Nosey," a typical leadoff sentence began: "Lawd, lawd! Mastah, when I turned on my teevee and heerd where them jokers over yonder at the Big Schoolhouse is done somehow managed to git theyself almost nelly bout half a million dollars in the hole for them tuitions and stuff." These lines, from the 1 Feb. 1975 issue, were aimed at A&T State University-often a target of the column. The commentary has long since been discontinued, although its writer possessed an artistry seldom found in the genre.

True to its calling, the Peacemaker has consistently focused on the black community, especially in the areas of civil rights and politics. Its reporters have specialized in the activities of local government and have addressed economic questions facing black businessmen and entrepreneurs. The paper has offered editorials by its own writers, along with the syndicated columns of nationally prominent figures like Vernon Jordan, Roy Wilkins, and Julian Bond. A page on religion has included many articles by notable church figures.

The Peacemaker has also provided information and practical advice on nonpolitical subjects such as cooking, black health matters, vacations, shopping, educational opportunities, entertainment, and sex and marriage. These articles have demonstrated an intense interest in anything that might be of concern to black people, with an emphasis on brotherhood and the need for unity. Every issue since its founding has carried the following quotation by Martin Luther King Jr.: "Americans must learn to live together as brothers, lest we all die together as fools."

In 2004 the Carolina Peacemaker had a circulation of about 25,000 and was a member of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the North Carolina Black Publishers Association, and the North Carolina Press Association. Over the years the number of classified ads and the volume of legal notices in the Peacemaker has grown considerably, reflecting its importance in the economic life of Greensboro.

Additional Resources:

Carolina Peacemaker official website: http://www.carolinapeacemaker.com/.

Moses, Bernadine. "A historical and analytical view of black newspapers in North Carolina." Thesis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 1976.

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Copyright notice

This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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