Perched at her modish white desk, the petite newscaster buoyantly takes her turn during the broadcast to deliver the segment called “Grapevine.” She offers details about an upcoming dinner dance sponsored by the Detroit Association for Retarded Children, the city’s plans for a new day-care center, a donation from a businesswoman to the Boys Club, and an item about expectant parents Eldrigde Cleaver and his wife. At that moment, the Black Panther minister of information and author of Soul on Ice was in parts unknown, after having jumped bail following a shootout with Oakland, California, police (the fugitive eventually wound up in Algeria before returning to the United States many years later), but the reporter’s tone is upbeat and positive, inviting viewers to share, simply, in the parents’ anticipated joyful arrival.
Tony Brown: “Television’s Civil Rights Crusader”
Show served as time capsule of pioneering days of black journalists
HUMANITIES, November/December 2013, Volume 34, Number 6