FEBRUARY IS AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH: CHARLOTTA BASS AND THELMA DALE PERKINS
CHARLOTTA BASS AND THELMA DALE PERKINS
Thelma Dale Perkins
Continuing my favorite month (my birthday month) I want to share a bit about the lives of two unknowns, Charlotta Bass and Thelma Dale Perkins. In particular, the latter was a quiet presence in the history of the struggle for civil rights and women's rights and more. I want to state at the beginning that I know about both of them because my father worked with them, and I believe they shared mutual respect. I know he held them both in high regard.
Charlotta Bass - perhaps the best photo of her is this one:
She was the first African American woman to own a newspaper in Los Angeles. She ran for Vice President on the Progressive Party ticket. She was courageous, outspoken, and so much more. My father wrote speeches for her and accompanied her around the United States as she stumped for office. Charlotta Bass 1874 - 1969 published The California Eagle from 1912 to 1951. "She and her husband Joseph Bass, who had served as editor of the Topeka Plain Dealer and the Montana Plain Dealer used The Eagle to push for reforms. They combatted such issues as the derogatory images rampant in D.W. Griffith's film, Birth of A Nation; Los Angeles' discriminatory hiring practices; the Klu Klux Klan; police brutality; and restrictive housing covenants.
"Bass' uncompromising stance against racial injustice resulted in her life being threatened on numerous occasions. She was branded a communist, and the FBI placed her under surveillance on the charge that her paper was seditious. However, this never deterred her or her paper from seeking civil and political rights for African Americans and the disadvantaged.
"Bass retired from the newspaper business in 1951. Her later years were devoted to politics. In 1952 she became the first African-American woman to run for national Turtle Learning: FEBRUARY IS AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH: CHARLOTTA BASS AND THELMA DALE PERKINS: