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Twin city press. : (Little Rock, Ark.) 193?-1940
Alternative Titles:
  • Pine Bluff press
Place of publication:
Little Rock, Ark.
Geographic coverage:
  • Pine Bluff, Jefferson, Arkansas  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
  • Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Southern Recorder Pub. Co.
Dates of publication:
  • Ceased in 1940.
  • English
  • African Americans--Arkansas--Newspapers.
  • African Americans.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00799558
  • Arkansas.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204809
  • Jefferson County (Ark.)--Newspapers.
  • Little Rock (Ark.)--Newspapers.
  • Pine Bluff (Ark.)--Newspapers.
  • Pulaski County (Ark.)--Newspapers.
  • Description based on: June 22, 1940.
sn 92050007
Succeeding Titles:
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Twin city press. June 22, 1940 , Image 1


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Twin City Press

Little Rock is the Pulaski County seat and Arkansas state capital, situated in the center of the state along the Arkansas River. Within the city, West 9th Street was the center of the Black community during the early to mid-1900s. Due to segregation laws after the Civil War, 9th Street became known as "the Line" separating Black and white communities. The street was home to many Black churches, businesses, and community centers and was surrounded by Black neighborhoods. One of the most well-known Black fraternal organizations, the Mosaic Templars of America (MTA), was located there, along with one of the popular churches in the Black community, the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.

The Twin City Press newspaper began on 9th Street in 1937, founded by the Clayborn brothers, John Henry Clayborn, Jr. and Charles A. Clayborn. They published the Press once a week, operating their printing plant in the Mosaic Templar Building. The paper was established to bring news to the Black community, and according to the publisher's block the paper was "nonpolitical, nonsectarian, independent, clean progressive, and constructive." It also advised that it was "for those who are for us but not against those who are against us. Supports all things worth supporting." The Press printed local, state, and national news, with special attention paid to education and religion. It had a page in each issue dedicated as a Woman's Page and another page for Sports. The Woman's Page included news about social events, religious events, and clubs.

At the start, John Clayborn, Jr. and Charles Clayborn had assistance with the paper from their father, John Henry Clayborn, Sr. Some sources reported that Clayborn, Sr. founded the Press, but the paper itself credited the Clayborn brothers as founders. Clayborn, Sr. had newspaper experience, as he was the editor and manager of the Southern Christian Recorder (1889–1946) from 1931 to 1938. The Recorder was a newspaper put out by the AME Church, circulated nationwide and in multiple countries.

Charles Clayborn died the same year the paper was founded, and John Clayborn, Jr. died a few years later in 1939. The Press was carried on by the Southern Recorder Publishing Company set up by Clayborn, Sr. while he ran the Recorder. By 1940, the publishing company consisted of David T. Clayborn (brother of Charles and John Clayborn, Jr.) as the manager, Emory Overton Jackson as editor, Mrs. O. T. Hatcher (also sometimes listing herself as Mrs. E. C. Hatcher under her husband's name) as the general manager, and S. M. Ballard as advertising manager. The Press's headquarters moved to the Clayborn Building at 923 West 9th Street. The building was owned by Clayborn, Sr. and his son David T. Clayborn, the Press's manager at that point.

The Twin City Press had a sister paper, the Pine Bluff Press (19??-19??), published in nearby Pine Bluff, Jefferson County. The papers had entirely different staff members, but had matching mastheads, taglines ("Here to Serve – for Race Uplift"), newspaper format, and shared many of the same news stories and segments. The Twin City offices also took care of arranging advertisements in the Pine Bluff Press newspaper, as the Pine Bluff Press told its advertisers to make their checks payable to the Twin City Press.

The Twin City Press ceased publication in 1940, but its equipment continued to be used. The printing plant was leased by Black civil rights pioneers Lucious Christopher Bates and Daisy Lee Gatson Bates, which they used to start the Arkansas State Press (1941–1959) in 1941. They credited their predecessors, printing on the masthead that the State Press was formerly the Twin City Press.

As of this writing, there is only one surviving issue of the Press. This is the case for many Black newspapers, as past archival organizations were often neglectful of preserving the Black community's written heritage, and the newspapers did not survive. When newspapers disappear, Black voices are forever lost, leaving a large gap in the understanding of our history.

Provided by: Arkansas State Archives