Charles Tisdale Award

charles-tisdale

The Charles Tisdale Award For Excellence In Reporting each year will be given to a Harlem based publication, writer and/or website that “calls it like it sees it, and is challenging, and chastising.”

Charles Tisdale took over the Jackson Advocate after he purchased it in 1978. From the beginning Tisdale was an outspoken critic of elected officials, both black and white.

Activist Charles Evers, brother of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, said Tisdale was “…concerned about the welfare of all citizens, not just blacks.”

For 20 years, Tisdale had a talk show on Evers’ radio station, WMPR in Jackson, where he often took elected leaders to task for not effectively serving their community.

“Before the Jackson Advocate, there was no coverage for black folks. Because of Mr. Tisdale’s stance and fight, the newspaper has enlightened us and is a vehicle to keep us informed,” – Charles Evers, brother of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers

“Before the Jackson Advocate, there was no coverage for black folks. Because of Mr. Tisdale’s stance and fight, the newspaper has enlightened us and is a vehicle to keep us informed,” Evers said.

Tisdale faced repercussions for his outspokenness. He was often said he was the target of death threats. His newspaper office near downtown Jackson was firebombed. The latest was in 1998, when gasoline was poured over the furniture and molotov cocktails were thrown through windows.

The 1998 attack caused $100,000 in damage. Clinton Moses, of Jackson, later pleaded guilty to the crime and told authorities that a member of the Jackson City Council had paid him $500 to commit the firebombing. Then-council member Louis Armstrong was never charged in the case.

Charles Tisdale made a commitment to ensure the newspaper survived Klu Klux Klan bombings, and attacks from media outlets. The paper called it like it saw it, and it was challenging, and chastising.

“… I carry a lot of Mr. Tisdale with me … The biggest gift he  gave me was understanding what it meant to be committed to something.” – Ben Jealous, NAACP president

The paper encouraged discourse, critical debate, and understood the importance of having a voice for community ideas in his article “Tisdale’s Topics.”

Read more HERE.

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