charlotta-spears-bass

Charlotta Spears Bass, 1874-1969

Charlotta Spears Bass, 1874-1969

Charlotta Spears Bass, 1874-1969
Charlotta Spears Bass was the sixth out of eleven children who received her education from public schools in South Carolina and a semester at Pembroke College in Brown University, a women’s college in Rhode Island. She moved to California at age 36 and ended up working at the California Eagle selling subscriptions. After the newspaper’s founder died, Bass purchased the California Eagle in an auction for fifty dollar and is believed to be the first African American woman to own and operate a newspaper in the United States. The Eagle’s circulation of 60,000 made it the largest African American newspaper on the West Coast and is credited as pioneering multi-ethnic politics, advocating for Asian-American and Mexican-American civil rights in the 1940s. Bass formed the Home Protective Association to defeat housing covenants in all-white neighborhoods and helped found the Industrial Business Council, which fought discrimination in employment practices and encouraged black people to go into business. Bass was repeatedly accused of being part of the Communist Party and was monitored until she was in her nineties by the FBI up who viewed her as a security threat despite lack of evidence. She was the first African American woman to be a jury member in the Los Angeles County Court and to run for Vice President of the United States in 1952 under the Progressive Party.

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  1. Charlotta Spears Bass, 1874-1969
    Charlotta Spears Bass was the sixth out of eleven children who received her education from public schools in South Carolina and a semester at Pembroke College in Brown University, a women’s college in Rhode Island. She moved to California at age 36 and ended up working at the California Eagle selling subscriptions. After the newspaper’s founder died, Bass purchased the California Eagle in an auction for fifty dollar and is believed to be the first African American woman to own and operate a newspaper in the United States. The Eagle’s circulation of 60,000 made it the largest African American newspaper on the West Coast and is credited as pioneering multi-ethnic politics, advocating for Asian-American and Mexican-American civil rights in the 1940s. Bass formed the Home Protective Association to defeat housing covenants in all-white neighborhoods and helped found the Industrial Business Council, which fought discrimination in employment practices and encouraged black people to go into business. Bass was repeatedly accused of being part of the Communist Party and was monitored until she was in her nineties by the FBI up who viewed her as a security threat despite lack of evidence. She was the first African American woman to be a jury member in the Los Angeles County Court and to run for Vice President of the United States in 1952 under the Progressive Party.

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