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Howard University Holds 14th Annual Communications Conference

[[6 images - photographs of conference speakers]]

This year, 1985, marks the fourteenth anniversary of Howard University's School of Communications annual Careers in Communication Conference, held February 14-17, held at the new Blackburn Student Center on the nation's Capital uptown campus overlooking the Washington, D.C., reservoir and the university's new multi-million dollar Howared Inn. 
In 1972, former founding Dean Tony Brown joined with the student organized National Black Communications Society to hold the first conference to promote the recruiting and placement of Blacks in the communication field, especially mass media.
The career fair phase of the four day, week-end program was held in Cramton Auditorium and the old "Punch-Out" student center, while the Frederick Douglass luncheon and closing awards banquet were held at sowntown hotels, near Capitol Hill. The historic conference was held in conjunction with the newly established Congressional Black Caucus' first hearings on discrimination in mass media which had been condemned by the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders appointed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967 following the Watts rebellion and other riots.
The Commission's report said the failure of major, white owned media to report on the terrible, segregation condition of black Americans caused the citizens outbreaks to attract attention to the problems and the distinguished panel blamed White Media and White Racism for contributing to the perpetuation of an inferior, discriminatory society in America. 
As the media job market began to open for Blacks, the pioneer Howard University conferences gained momentum. Famous personalities, such as Benjamin Hooks, Carl Rowan, Ossie Davis and Dick Gregory were among the early supports of the innovative idea and attended the sessions regularly as guest speakers and participants.
In 1975, the Fourth Annual Communications Conference was held under the leadership of Dr. Lovenger Bowden, act-ing dean of the school. Dean Brown resigned in 1974 to return to his primary role as producer and moderator of the public television series, Black Journal, soon changed to Tony Brown's Journal. He maintained his support of black college education with the later development of Black College Week. 
"The Torch of Freedom" was the theme of the 1975 con-ference. In 1976, the Fifth Annual Communications Conference was held under the leadership of the newly ap-pointed dean, Dr. Lionel C. Barrow, Jr., who moved the pro-gram from March to February, to coincide with Black History Month and the campus holiday weekend designed to com-memorate the birth days of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and black abolitionist Frederick Douglass. 
Dean Barrow also established a new unit, called Continu-ing Education and Community Service Programs, to coo-dinate the conference under the supervision of Peggy Pinn, former director of the WNET-TV training program for minorities in New York City. Ms. Pinn retired after the 13th annual conference last year and she was recently saluted by faculty, students and her former staff in a testimonial tribute at the Howard Inn. 
The conferences developed by Brown, Bowden, Barrow, Pinn and Assistant Dean Lawrence A. Still soon became the largest platform in the world for minority communicators to come together annually for the exchange of the latest com-munications information, including the employment, technology, media issues, research and development, plus the promotion of black ownership of the media in the media in the tradition of the great black publishers such as C.B. Powell, Robert Vann, Carl Murphy, Robert S. Abbott and John Sengstacke. 
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