- Hardy Brown Sr.
Hardy Brown Sr.
California State University, San Bernardino
Newspaper publisher, philanthropist and community activist Hardy Brown Sr. has been a true patriarch of the Inland Empire's African American community.
In 1980, Mr. Hardy and his wife, California State Assembly Member Cheryl R. Brown, founded Brown Publishing Company to produce Black Voice News, a weekly newspaper that focuses on local news in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The Browns, married for 50 years, have been recognized as the only living publishers included in the 175th anniversary of the Black Press of America. Their names were added to such historic publishers as Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Carlotta Bass—all of whom overcame great obstacles to publish the truth and to give a voice to the disenfranchised.
In 2001, Mr. Hardy co-founded California Black Media (CBM), a network of 22 African American media owners across California that has served as a statewide initiative to better inform and educate the African American community about key issues affecting their lives. Mr. Hardy helped found the Black Voice Foundation to train and educate individuals in print media. The Foundation has since expanded its mission to include digital and electronic media, and personal development due to the digital revolution, the rapid growth of technology in the world of communications and media.
The Foundation runs a number of programs to educate and preserve the African American legacy that includes: a college internship program for local students to gain experience working with the Black Voice News, blackvoicenews.com and other related community-based projects; Califest Studio Workshop, which combines education with the arts; and the California Black Media.
The Foundation also operates the Footsteps to Freedom Study Tours which has partnered with several education and federal agencies to lead a unique summer study tour program, in which a group of Inland Empire educators and college students learn first-hand about the incredible courage of the people who sought freedom or who helped others achieve it along the central and lesser-known route of the Underground Railway from Kentucky to Canada. Some 500 area teachers and administrators have taken the course.
The Black Voice News also initiated the "Building Better Communities" program, which works with local companies, organizations and agencies to improve neighborhoods.
In recognition of these and many other achievements, the California State University Board of Trustees and California State University, San Bernardino are proud to confer upon Hardy Brown Sr. the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.