NABJ inducted seven legendary black journalists as charter members of its hall of fame in 1990. They remained alone until 2004, when one of them, Dorothy Butler Gilliam, also a past NABJ president, helped to revive the hall of fame with 13 new inductions – including 10 historical figures (Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Frederick Douglass, Ethel Payne, etc.) without whom the hall of fame would not be legitimate. There have been inductions every year since but one.
This year, NABJ added eight distinguished journalists to its hall of fame. Herb Boyd, Maureen Bunyan, Jay Harris, Moses Newson and Bernard Shaw were each present to accept their awards and offer poignant remarks. Ernest Dunbar, Zelda Ormes and Lee Thornton, Ph.D., were also inducted posthumously. Also at the event, NABJ helped to bestow the 2014 Ida B. Wells Award to Sheila Solomon, a leading newsroom recruiter and diversity stalwart.
The theme for this year's induction and reception was "Honoring the Past – Building the Future." Well, after hearing so many great things about all that the nine honorees had done for the industry and their communities, it was another pleasure spending all day Friday and this morning with the NABJ board of directors as it focused on the association's present and future. After mistakenly managing to get myself quoted in Richard Prince's Journal-isms about an agenda item – Oops! to those who I didn't let know I was in town – I helped to update the board on the NABJ Constitutional Commission's progress in significantly refreshing the association's primary governing documents.
More on that progress to come. For now, congratulations to this year's honorees and those who put on a great show.