The Caldwell Journals

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Nearly 40 years ago, a young black man took a job at his hometown daily newspaper in rural Pennsylvania. It was a rare occurrence for that generation.

Earl Caldwell, then 22 years old, could not grasp the significance of that event, nor could he forecast the tempestuous decades that would sweep him and hundreds of other journalists of color into the thunderous fold of civil rights history.

Caldwell covered that history for eight newspapers over 35 years with a distinction rare in his profession. But he also made a portion of it. He was an extraordinary witness to events at the moment of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. His struggle against the federal government's attempts to appropriate his confidential notes and to force him to spy on the Black Panther party, which he was covering for The New York Times, reached the Supreme Court.

Caldwell's story is intertwined with those of all the pioneers who courageously broke the color barrier in America's newspapers to capture the true inside story of the 1960s. Robert C. Maynard, who also held his first mainstream news job in a nearby Pennsylvania town, began a lifelong friendship with Caldwell and joined him in the great adventure of covering the decade that telescoped a century.

The Maynard Institute for Journalism Education is proud to present the Caldwell Journals, a serialized account of those stormy years. This series captures the dramatic tale of the journalist behind the words, the journalist as player. Collaborating with Caldwell was Leroy F. Aarons, MIJE board member and?Ǭ†a visiting professor of journalism at the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California, as the line editor of the narrative. Caldwell and Aarons shared a journalistic history that dates back to the mid-1960s, when Caldwell was at The New York Times and Aarons, The Washington Post.

The Caldwell Journals constitutes the first phase of the Maynard IJE History Project, an ambitious undertaking of the Maynard Institute. It is headed by Dori J. Maynard, MIJE president and daughter of the late Robert C. Maynard.

Launching the project, Maynard Institute President Steve Montiel said, "The experiences of journalists of color are part of the untold history of a news revolution. Their stories are important to all of us ?¢‚Ǩ' from young people whose textbooks tell little about the integration of newsrooms to veteran professionals and executives who are struggling to provide coverage that enables us to see ourselves and our diverse communities whole."

While preparing this series, Earl Caldwell was writer in residence at MIJE's national office in Oakland, Calif.

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