It’s the last day of Black History Month, but I encourage you to continue educating yourself on black history. Today I would like to turn your attention to the first African American broadcaster.
Jack Leroy Cooper was born on September 18, 1888 in Memphis, Tennessee. He grew up poor in a single family home. He had to quit school at the age of 10 to work. He moved to Cincinnati, Ohio to work at a racetrack.
He worked at different jobs as a teen, and he was a successful boxer. He started his radio career in the 1920s as a comedian at WSBC in Chicago. Due to the lack of representation of African Americans in the industry, he left. He returned in 1929 and became the host and producer of the The All-Negro Hour.
He also wrote for black newspapers in Memphis and Indianapolis. He became the assistant theater editor at the Chicago Defender. He was hired at WCAP in Washington to assist with writing and performing skits in 1925.
He created Searching for Missing Persons in 1938. The show focused on uniting listeners with their loved ones after losing contact. He started Listen Chicago, which focused on current events in 1940. He also popularized playing records on the radio.
Cooper built his own radio studio and created an advertising agency. He paved the way for black personalities.
Cooper died on January 12, 1970.
For more information visit: http://www.blackpast.org/aah/cooper-jack-leroy-1888-1970