Charlotte’s Black media publishers open up about longevity and managing through the pandemic

Part Two of the Black Power Moves series dives into the challenges and opportunities for Charlotte’s flagship Black media companies.


When historic events happen, we rely on the media to capture and document these moments in time. Black media outlets are often tasked with providing a voice for the underserved during these moments.

Rarely do these outlets insert themselves into the story, but the Covid-19 pandemic and the fight for racial equity has impacted Black media significantly, forcing them to advocate like never before about their value. 

Three of Charlotte’s longtime Black media leaders have been sounding that alarm for decades.    

Meet the players

Charlotte’s longest-running newspaper, The Charlotte Post, was established in 1878 — eight years before the Charlotte Observer. For more than 40 years, the Johnson Family has run the African American-focused weekly publication. 

Local journalist Bill Johnson bought the paper in 1974 and became its publisher. Twelve years later, Bill, whose health was failing, asked his son, Gerald, to temporarily take over the role. At the time, Gerald was a Bank of America executive who expected to return to corporate America. But that didn’t happen. Three months after he joined the staff, his father died. Gerald has been at the helm of The Post — along with his brother, Bob — ever since. 

Keep reading