Arizona Black Dispatch
The Arizona Black Dispatch made its debut on February 17, 1976 and began publishing weekly in Phoenix. The first issue lists Mr. Horace E. Owens as publisher and co-owner along with Ms. Maria T. Lancaster and was created as a replacement for the defunct Phoenix Black Dispatch. Before serving as the newspaper’s publisher Mr. Owens served in the 30th Arizona State Legislature, 1971-1972, in the House of Representatives as a Democrat for District 28 from Maricopa County. Co-owner, Ms. Lancaster, moved to Phoenix after twelve years in New York where she worked in the banking industry.
Very soon roles at the paper switched. Beginning with the fourth issue, Ms. Lancaster became the paper’s Publisher, and three issues later served alongside co-publisher Ms. Marian J. BeCoates. Meanwhile, Mr. Horace E. Owens continued to serve the paper in the role of sales representative.
Also on staff was Mr. Ken Collier, editor, who came to the paper as a recent graduate of Monmouth College. Additionally, he contributed to the paper as a photographer and reporter.
The first issue of the newspaper laid out the Arizona Black Dispatch’s editorial policy stating, “It is the intention of The Arizona Black Dispatch to be a useful and informative paper for the black community. We will be honest, unbiased and we will report the news with as much enthusiasm as we want you our readers to have in us.”
With the motto, “The People’s Paper” the Dispatch was dedicated to supporting and promoting Black owned businesses, and regularly featured community announcements and business efforts in the Phoenix metro area.
The Dispatch’s first year of publication, 1976, also marked the United States Bicentennial. The paper featured bicentennial planning efforts to highlight Black history in Arizona, and the Phoenix Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance sought input at a town meeting around the question: Is the Bicentennial for all the People?
The 1976 presidential campaign between Democrat Jimmy Carter and incumbent Republican President Gerald Ford was also in the news. Newspaper articles featured information about polling places in Maricopa County, general voter information, and coverage of local candidates such as Ms. Wanda Williams, Republican candidate for Arizona State Senate from District 23. and Mrs. Georgie M. Goode running for the Phoenix Elementary School District No. 1 Board of Trustees.
The May 26th, 1976 issue reported on the United States Equal Opportunity Commission ruling that determined that the Arizona Highway Department engaged in a pattern of discrimination against black employees as a class in its employment.
By September 1976, the newspaper began being published on a bi-monthly basis. There is no entry for the paper in the Bibliographic Checklist of African American Newspapers by Barbara K Henritze, but it is believed that the paper ceased publication in 1977.Dates of Publication1976-197?Frequency of PublicationBi-monthlyWeeklyPlace 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.