Maynard, Robert C.

Maynard, Robert C. (Clyve)

(1937–93) journalist, publisher; born in New York City. Son of immigrants from Barbados, he decided early he wanted to be a writer. He quit school at age 16 and began to work as a reporter for the New York Age, an African-American weekly, obtaining his first job on a white newspaper in 1961, the York Gazette and Daily (Pa.). He spent 1966 as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, returned to the Gazette, and in 1967 joined the Washington Post as its first black national correspondent; in 1972 he was named an associate editor of the Post and his stature was such that he was one of three journalists invited to question President Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter in their 1976 campaign debate. Since 1972 he had been codirector of a program at Columbia University School of Journalism to train minority journalists; this program ended in 1974, so in 1977 he left the Post and went to establish (with his wife, Nancy Hall Hicks, also a journalist) a similar program at the University of California: Berkeley, the Institute for Journalism Education. In 1979 he became the editor of the Oakland Tribune (Calif.), the first African-American to direct editorial operations for a major daily paper. In 1983 he became the first African-American to own and publish a major daily newspaper when he bought controlling interest in the Tribune. Eroding circulation and advertising forced him to sell it to the Alameda Newspaper Group in 1992 but he remained as publisher/editor. A Pulitzer Prize juror, and a leader in various professional organizations, he took greatest pride in helping scores of minority youths enter journalism, an effort that earned him the description of "the Jackie Robinson of publishing."
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.