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Danny Bakewell Sr.
Bakewell Elected to Lead Black Press Across the NationExecutive publisher of the oldest and largest Black community newspaper earns top position with the historic federation of more than 200 newspapers across the U. S.Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., executive publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel, the West Coast's oldest and largest African American newspaper, was elected as the new chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Associa-tion (NNPA) with 75 percent of the vote. Bakewell has achieved an enviable record of accomplishment as a builder of Black Institutions and as a businessman, and will lead the NNPA to new heights in the 21st century.
In addition to Bakewell's election, the Sentinel has also received eight merit awards including three first place awards: the Ida B. Wells Best News Story; the Best Layout and Design Broadsheet; and the Don King Best Sports Page award.Legendary boxing promoter Don King, the publisher of the Cleveland Call & Post, was present at the NNPA awards and had the honor of having a Sports Merit Awards, named in his honor. "Danny Bakewell is a man who has demonstrated his excellence and commitment and the ability to build and sustain institutions at home, nationally and abroad," King said. "This is an opportunity for us to not just sit at the sidelines and applaud him but to grab the handle of the shovel and dig with him," he concluded.
Along with the Sentinel, Bakewell has expanded his media empire to include WBOK, the number one Black radio station in New Orleans, Louisiana as part of the Bakewell Company, one of the largest African American owned development companies in the U.S.
Southern California was well represented at the NNPA annual conference; in addition to Bakewell's election, Natalie Cole, publisher of Our Weekly, was elected secretary of the NNPA and Joe Hopkins, publisher of the Pasadena Journal and president of West Coast's Black Publishers Association, was elected to the board of the NNPA Foundation.
About the elections, Cole stated, "I'm looking forward to working with Danny and the team-it's a new progressive team-and I think we represent strong, bold, new leadership. And based on the experience and professionalism that we all bring to the table, I think we are going to redefine and reshape the NNPA so that it can be better prepared to serve Black newspapers across America, and therefore our constituents and our readership." Hopkins followed, "I think the whole thing is exciting: Danny at the helm of the historical national organization would give it new life, new national notoriety and a positive promise for the future."
Bakewell's work as an institution builder is legendary as president and CEO of the Brotherhood Crusade for 35 years. He took a fledgling organization and built it into the largest and most successful African American philanthropic institution in the nation. During his tenure, he has raised and distributed over $60 million to the community.
When Amelia Ashley-Ward, publisher of the Sun Reporter Publishing Company in the San Francisco Bay Area commented on Bakewell's election as chairman of NNPA, she obviously was thinking of his philanthropic endeavors as she stated, "This is one of the best choices that the NNPA has made in years. For a long time we needed a Danny Bakewell as head of our organization and our 200 plus members throughout the country. He is a respected businessman, a respected publisher and has long been on the scene fighting for the underprivileged in our communities. He brings great experience as a community leader and a community activist to this new post, and I am so glad that we were smart enough to overwhelmingly elect him."
Dorothy R. Leavell, publisher of the Crusader Newspapers, Chicago, Illinois and Gary, Indiana, echoed similar sentiments when she said, "As a long-time member and former President of the National Newspaper Publishers Association I am excited about the election of Danny Bakewell as our new chairman. He brings a business dynamic that I am sure will benefit the organization and its members beyond what we have seen in many years. NNPA is fortunate to have an outstanding individual such as Danny, with a strong advocate background, outstanding business and coalition building skills as its new leader. I pledge my full support and look forward to working with him to take our industry to a new level."
As the man at the center of the storm, Bakewell was genuinely receptive of the accolades he received and is determined to follow through with a clear vision for NNPA. He concluded, "I'm honored and humbled to have been chosen by my fellow publishers to lead the 200 plus Black newspapers in America in bringing a renewed sense of commitment to our community and our profession. Be assured that we will continue the tradition of using our newspapers to educate our people and to report the news without any filter and to fight for the honor of our communities and the rich legacy of the Black Press of America."