Photo Vault: Oldest black daily newspaper founded in Atlanta

In the days when black people had separate grocers, doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, etc., there was also the need for news with a black perspective. Newspapers came and went throughout the country and on Nov. 6, 1928, The Atlanta World was founded. It eventually became the longest publishing African-American daily newspaper in the United States.

When The Daily World came to be, there was only one other black paper in the Atlanta area, The Atlanta Independent, which shut down in 1933.

In the first issue, publisher William Alexander Scott stated that, “The publishers of The Atlanta World have felt the need of a Southern Negro Newspaper, published by Southern Negroes, to be read by Southern Negroes.”

He hired agents to solicit subscriptions door to door and utilized newsboys, and by 1930 the paper — whose offices were located on Auburn Avenue, once considered the “mecca of black commerce”— was one of the most widely circulated black newspapers in the Deep South.

Historical accounts said Scott launched the paper as a business venture and the editorial content had a conservative leaning. Subsequently, many white-owned businesses locally and nationally advertised in it.

The likes of Coca-Cola, Sears and Rich’s, the largest department store in Atlanta, were regular advertisers.

The Atlanta World became a semi-weekly in May 1930, and a triweekly in April 1931. In 1931, Scott also began circulating The Chattanooga Tribune, The Memphis World, and The Chattanooga Tribune, and by so doing established the first chain of African-American newspapers. The chain eventually included as many as 50 newspapers across the nation as far west as Phoenix and as far north as Des Moines, Iowa, and Hamtrammack, Mich. It became The Atlanta Daily World in March 1932.

Shortly after that milestone, Scott was shot in the back outside his home. No one was ever convicted of his murder. The family continued to run the newspaper with an even more conservative view. Which doesn’t mean it shied away from controversial topics. It covered national and local issues such as lynchings, racial discrimination in the federal government, school segregation, mistreatment of black soldiers and a myriad of other topics.

The Atlanta Daily World was among the first newspapers to report on “black on black” crimes. It also encouraged African Americans to patronize black owned businesses (including the “Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work” campaign) and, in the 1940s, sponsored voter registration efforts. As a community oriented paper, it also featured social, church, and sports news.

The Atlanta Daily World remained in the hands of Scott family until its purchase in 2012 by Real Times Media.

Last year the AJC reported that the offices were sold to commercial real estate developer and Sidewalk Radio host Gene Kansas who stated that he planned to restore the building for retail and residential use, and that it would be designed by Gamble and Gamble architects, the same firm redesigning the Clermont Motor Inn on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Poncey-Highland into a boutique hotel.