Charlotta Amanda Spears Bass (February 14, 1874 – April 12, 1969) was an American educator, newspaper publisher-editor, and civil rights activist. Bass is believed to be the first African-American woman to own and operate a newspaper in the United States. Bass was the first black woman nominated for Vice President, as a candidate of the Progressive Party.
About Charlotta Bass in brief
Charlotta Amanda Spears Bass (February 14, 1874 – April 12, 1969) was an American educator, newspaper publisher-editor, and civil rights activist. Bass is believed to be the first African-American woman to own and operate a newspaper in the United States. She published the California Eagle from 1912 until 1951. Bass was the first black woman nominated for Vice President, as a candidate of the Progressive Party. She was monitored by the FBI, who continued to view her as a potential security threat up until she was in her nineties. Bass died in 1969. She is survived by her husband, Joseph Bass, and her daughter, Barbara Spears Bass, who was born in 1874 and grew up in Little Compton, Rhode Island. Her funeral was held in Los Angeles, California, on April 14, 1969. Bass’ funeral was attended by her family and friends, including her daughter Barbara Bass, her daughter-in-law Barbara Spears, her son Joseph Bass and her granddaughters Barbara Spears and Barbara Spears-Bass. She died of cancer in 1969 at the age of 80. She had no children. She never married or had any children of her own. Bass worked for the Providence Watchman, a local Black newspaper in Rhode Island, for about ten years. She moved to California at age 36 for her health and ended up working at the California Eagles. She later became the owner of the paper after purchasing it in auction for fifty dollars. The Eagle developed a large black readership. By 1925, the Eagle employed a staff of twelve and published twenty pages a week. It is credited as pioneering multiethnic politics, advocating Asian-American and Mexican-American civil rights in the 1940s.
The Department of Justice interrogated Bass in 1942 over claims that the paper was funded by Japan and Germany. In her weekly column “On the Sidewalk,” she drew attention to unjust social and political conditions for all Los Angeles minority communities and campaigned vigorously for reform. Bass also covered the case and supported the Scottsboro Boys, nine young men who were framed and convicted of rape and rape in Alabama. She also fought the revival of the Ku Klux Klan; police cobed calls at one point was confronted by eight men robed in white, who she confronted after displaying a firearm. Bass unsuccessfully sued for libel by Klan leader G. W. Price after she published a letter from the clan which detailed plans to exterminate black leaders. During this time, along with other African-Americans, Bass and Joseph Bass assumed control of the African- American paper California Eagle. They also supported the race riot in Houston, Texas, in 1917. They were unjustly sentenced to death by the Twenty-Fourth Infantry in 1917 for their part in the Houston race riot. In 1924, Bass wrote a letter to W.W. Griffith’s film, The Birth of a Nation; Los Angeles’ discriminatory hiring practices, and restrictivevenants; and restrictive housing co-venants. As publisher, Bass was committed to producing a quality periodical. In 1927, she started a weekly column called “The California Eagle”