Press Correspondents and Journalists

Who was Hazel B. Garland?

Hazel B. Garland (1913–1988), who was named editor-in-chief of the Pittsburgh Courier in 1974, was the first woman head of a nationally circulated black newspaper in the United States. For more than fifty years her columns were published in various editions of the Courier. Some sources say that her greatest contributions were made behind the scenes, as she determined newspaper policy, made staff assignments to reflect social needs, and prepared those who would carry on her work. Hazel Barbara Maxine Hill Garland was born outside Terre Haute, Indiana, and died in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, where she had lived for over fifty years. She worked as a maid and at night spent her time dancing, singing, and playing the drums. Her plan was to become an entertainer. Her contact with the Pittsburgh Courier in 1943, when she was a reporter for the local YWCA in Pittsburgh, led to her appointment in 1946 as a full-time staff member. She wrote the column “Things to Talk About.” In 1966 John Sengstacke purchased the paper and renamed it the New Pittsburgh Courier, and Garland became women’s and entertainment editor. She was named editor-in-chief in 1972. The National Newspaper Publisher’s Association named her “Editor of the Year” in 1974, the year in which Garland stepped down from her post.


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