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39th Annual Professional Recognition Awards and Scholarship Dinner

May 6, 2017, 6 PM cocktails, 7 PM dinner

at Drumlins Country Club, 800 Nottingham Road

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Poynter - A global leader in journalism.

Emanuel "Blair" Henderson Sr.

The Progressive Herald

Emmanuel Blair Henderson was a columnist for The Progressive Herald, an African-American newspaper in Syracuse during the 1940s and 1950s -- a time when black people weren't included as employees in mainstream media.
Syracuse's Progressive Herald was one among several local weekly newspapers that sprung up in urban communities across the country that documented the lives of African-Americans.

From the book "Flashbacks," noted author John A. Williams takes us through a 26-year diary of articles, writing in the introduction about Syracuse and its black community and documenting the influence of The Progressive Herald Newspaper at a time when community diversity was not recognized.

"Mr. Sylvahn was editor and publisher of The Progressive Herald, a black weekly newspaper in Syracuse that served other black communities throughout central New York State. Like Jet magazine today, everyone sneered at the PH, but they bought it," wrote Williams. "Its tabloid format, varying from four to six, and on rare occasions eight pages, contained local news as it affected Syracuse Negros, general black news culled from the large black weeklies, a society section run by Mrs. Sylvahn, and a gossip column called at one time 'The Periscope.'" This last was written by a former high school track star, Emanuel Henderson, known fondly by nearly everyone as "Emo."

Henderson credits Mr. Sylvahn with leadership of the news weekly "under which my writing bloomed."

Henderson wrote for at least 10 years under columns called, "The Periscope" and "This 'n' That." It was a gossip column, but he often challenged the white establishment's racist actions and was the voice of the African-American community. He also wrote other articles and an occasional sports column, which included interviews with Jackie Robinson and Sugar Ray Robinson.

Don Caldwell, who has been a voice of memory for the African-American community in Syracuse for many of his 80 years, said Henderson's column was widely read and that Henderson was a vocal activist.

In 2004 Emanuel Blair Henderson Sr. received a Lifetime Recognition Award from the Syracuse/Onondaga County NAACP. A life member of the NAACP, Henderson has served on the chapter's executive board and Legal Redress Committee. He also is a charter member of the Benjamin Banneker Democratic Club.

Henderson and his wife Muriel reside in Lyncourt. They raised four children, and have 17 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.
 
    "Their constant yelping about a free press means, with a few honorable exceptions, freedom to peddle scandal, crime, sex, sensationalism, hate, innuendo and the political and financial uses of propaganda. A newspaper is a business out to make money through advertising revenue. That is predicated on the circulation and you know what circulation depends on."
--Raymond Chandler

Wall of Distinction


Mario Rossi

Herald-Journal
Herald American
The Post-Standard

Mario Rossi, a Syracuse native, started his newspaper career at 17 as a summer-time reporter for The Post-Standard and was still writing columns for the Syracuse Newspapers almost seven decades later.

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