The Arizona Gleam
The Arizona Gleam was founded in Phoenix, Arizona, in November 1929 by Ayra Hackett, the only African American female newspaper owner in the state and only one of a few in the country at the time. The weekly newspaper was originally published at the Hacketts’ home by an almost all-female staff, including associate editor H. M. Fritz and reporters Tillie Turner, Ruth Phillips, and Consuela McHenry.
Hackett, married to prominent physician Dr. Winston Hackett, the first African American doctor in Arizona, was very involved in her local church, serving as president of the First Colored Baptist Church’s Baptist Young People’s Union. Church members called her “Church Mother,” and her involvement was reflected in the pages of the Gleam. The newspaper had a “Church Report” and included lists of sermons and the activities of different pastors. The paper also had sections on “School News,” “Household Suggestion” with cleaning tips, “Young People’s Activities Column,” an editorial column titled “The Searchlight,” poetry, local business advertisements, and a professional directory.
The Arizona Gleam brought attention to racial discrimination, segregation, and lynching, while also spotlighting Phoenix’s African American community. By its second year of publication, the slogan “Arizona’s Only Regular Colored Publication” was added to the masthead. News from other parts of Arizona was included. The paper frequently highlighted achievements of African Americans, such as an increase in African American teachers at the State Teacher’s College in Tempe. While Hackett stated in a 1930 editorial that she would not tell readers who to vote for, she went on to say, “I do pledge myself to the support of the man who will give my group the fairest deal…the Colored race knows who they think best to vote for… the man who is a friend to the Colored race.”
After Hackett’s death in 1932, George S. Rodgers took over as editor and made the newspaper’s goals and stances even clearer. The paper’s slogan was changed to “Arizona’s premier race weekly,” its editorial policy was outlined in each edition, and it promoted several key platforms, such as aiding African American businesses, encouraging African Americans to buy homes and create bank accounts, and fighting discrimination and prejudice. The newspaper started incorporating more news from around the country, such as closely following the passage of anti-lynching bills around the country and stories distributed through the Associated Negro Press. The anniversary issue in 1937 featured a photograph of the late Ayra Hackett on the front page and provided “A Brief History of the Arizona Gleam” that noted: “The Arizona Gleam is surely and truly an Arizona newspaper. It was born in Arizona, it lives in Arizona, it is printed in Arizona, and is content to grow in Arizona and to help Arizona grow.” The Arizona Gleam ceased publication sometime before 1938.
Essay provided by University of Arizona Libraries.Dates of Publication1929-193?Frequency of PublicationWeeklyPlace of PublicationPhoenix, ArizonaLanguageEnglishPermissions and ReuseThe contents of the Arizona Digital Newspaper Program (ADNP) are available to the public by our partners for using in research, teaching, and private study. Please note that U.S. Copyright and intellectual property laws apply to the digital resources made available through this site.