A Woman to Know: Charlotta Bass
|Julia Carpenter||May 10, 2016|
We fight to live. We fight that all people shall live. — Charlotta
(Charlotte as a young journalist in 1910, via Wikimedia Commons)
In 1910, Charlotta Bass was a young journalist with ambition. She wanted to write and report on criminal justice, racial equality, women's suffrage and more — and she wanted to do it in her adopted city of Los Angeles, then a booming metropolis rife with social tension. She got a part-time reporting gig at The Eagle, a small L.A. paper, and within two years she was running the entire publication, which she renamed The California Eagle. Under her tenure as editor-in-chief, the newspaper dedicated entire issues to progressive politics, civil rights and social reform.
After multiple decades at the helm of The California Eagle, Charlotta left journalism in the 1940s and turned her attention to politics. She helped found the Progressive Party and became the first African-American woman on a presidential ticket, as vice presidential candidate in 1952. Her platform was pretty radical for the times — pro-pacifist, pro-woman and pro-socialism. She lost in a landslide, of course, but as Charlotta would tell you, that wasn't the point: as her campaign slogan decreed, "Win or lose, we win by raising the issues."
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Add to your reading list:
Forty Years: Memoirs from the Pages of a Newspaper (Charlotta Bass)
Raising Her Voice: African-American Women Journalists Who Changed History (Rodger Streitmatter)
A Companion to American Women's History (Nancy A. Hewitt)
African-American Women and the Vote (Ann Dexter Gordon, Bettye Collier-Thomas)
Charlotta Bass / California Eagle Photo Collection (University of Southern California)
Charlotta Bass (Black Past)
The California Eagle, 1879-1964 (archive.org)
Photographs from Charlotta Bass's scrapbook (USC Library)
Charlotta Bass (Women of the West Museum)
Soldiers Without Swords (PBS)
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