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4 NOVEMBER 17-23, 2010

100 YEARS OF INFLUENCE P.L. Prattis helped lead Courier to heyday

by Rebecca Nuttall Courier Staff Writer

For nearly 30 years, P.L.

Prattis served in various ca- pacities for the Pittsburgh Courier. Despite being one of the leaders of the newspaper during the height of its circu- lation in the 1940 and ’50s, lit- tle is known about the former editor. After Editor and Publisher

Robert L.Vann died in 1940, Prattis became executive edi- tor of the newspaper, in charge of the local edition and worked withManaging Editor William Nunn and Edi- tor/Manager Ira Lewis.When Nunn left the paper in 1956 he was named editor. On top of his responsibilities, as most editors did, he also wrote “Horizon,” a column address- ing both local and national is- sues. He wrote a number of other columns over the years including “Questions and An-

swers,” “Turning Pages,” and “Labor Everywhere.” We could not find the actual

date he started with the Courier and what his position was when he started. Prattis served as editor of

theMichigan State News, Chicago Defender,Amsterdam News and Associate Negro Press.He also served on the boards of several organiza- tions including the NAACP, Urban League, Centre Avenue YMCA, and Brashear Associa- tion.What order these posi- tions came is not known.He was promoted from executive editor to editor in 1956 when Nunn Sr. left the paper.He re- tired from the Courier in 1964.When the Courier was suffering from financial prob- lems in the mid ‘60s he do- nated $33,000 of his money in an effort to save the paper. Prattis died in 1980 when he

was 85 years old. In an article published onMarch 8, 1980,

following his death, then city editor, Dennis Schatzman called Prattis “one of the last of the great giants of journal- ism and civil rights.” Former Courier editor,Hazel

Garland occasionally men- tioned Prattis in her column “Things to Talk About,” when he had been honored with an award or other recognition. “He had one of the most bril-

liant minds in the country,” Garland said in a column pub- lished on April 5, 1980. “He helped me a lot when I joined the Courier staff back in 1943.” One of Prattis’ first articles

was about an election triumph in Illinois by Oscar Stanton De Priest, the first African- American to be elected to Congress, appeared in the Courier in 1932. Prattis is also known for

being the executive editor of the first known Black news magazine “Heebie Jeebies.”


Entrepreneuring Youth admires the leadership and community commitment of the New Pittsburgh Courier team

ThankYou andCongratulations!

Jerry Cozewith, President To the New Pittsburgh Courier

Congratulations on 100 years of excellent journalism.

Homer S. Brown Law Association Phone: 412-512-4457 Email:


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