Joseph Blackburn Bass and Frederick Madison Roberts, Los Angeles (?), 1921-1930
- Joseph Blackburn Bass and Frederick Madison Roberts, Los Angeles (?), 1921-1930
- Alternative title
- Joseph Blackburn Bass, husband of Charlotta, and newspaper editor
- Date Created
Miriam Matthews Photograph Collection
Frederick Madison Roberts was a newspaper owner and editor, educator, and business owner. He was also the first African American elected to the California State Assembly. Roberts was a great-grandson of Sally Hemings and President Thomas Jefferson.
Joseph Blackburn Bass founded the Topeka Call, a black community newspaper. He continued to work on that newspaper when it was purchased by another owner and its name changed to the Topeka Plaindealer. Bass was active in local politics, and in 1896 was one of the Kansas delegates to the Republican National Convention that nominated William McKinley for President. After a short stint publishing a black community newspaper in Helena, Montana, Bass moved to Los Angeles, where in 1913, he accepted Charlotta Spears' offer to edit the California Eagle. Spears and Bass married in 1914.
Joseph Blackburn Bass (left), editor-in-chief of the California Eagle and husband of Charlotta Bass, with Frederick Madison Roberts, the first African-American elected to the California Assembly. Bass is wearing the fez and medallion of a fraternal order. Roberts served in the California Assembly from 1919-1933. The California Eagle supported Roberts' candidacy and his legislative initiatives aimed at eliminating racial discrimination.
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