“The Voice of Voter Education, Civic Responsibility and Community Support Since 1973. By Damita Miller-Shanklin Ujima Magazine sat down with the Founder and Publisher of The Villager, Tommy Wyatt to talk about his 40 years of publishing in Austin, Texas and his upcoming celebration on Saturday, May 11, 2013. The Villager recently moved to a new location at 4132 East 12th Street. I was honored to speak to him about his journey. The Villager started from the Black Registry that has been done many years. There was one black owned newspaper at the time the Capital City Argus but due to operational issues it did not stay around. Around town there was always a saying that people did not know where to find the Black businesses. This empowered Wyatt to start the Black Registry. The other reason for the Black Registry which ultimately lead to The Villager, was Wyatt’s political run for Precinct 1 County Commissioner. This is when he realized, “there was not a media outlet for his to reach his community,” stated Wyatt. There was a lack of communication. After his political run, he decided to create The Villager to be the resource for people to have ad space and get positive stories about our community.
Wyatt enjoyed watching the political races and he enjoyed reporting on the two big campaigns ran by Beryl Hancock for City Council and Wilhemina Delco winning her seat on the school board. He was very much apart of the coalition that was created to help get Black candidates elected. There was a gentlemen’s agreement that all candidates would be supported by the coalition regardless of which side of town they would represent, allowing the black community to be represented on the City Council, School board and Commissioner’s Court. The political movement moved The Villager forward. “We are the good news newspaper,” stated Wyatt. We reported on positive stories happening in our community that went untold.
Over the past forty years, Wyatt states he has seen the growth of Black owned newspapers. There are thirty black owned newspapers in Texas currently and three hundred newspapers black owned around the country. Wyatt was the founding President of the . Moving forward The Villager will position themselves to continue reporting news whether print newspapers disappear or not. They are currently digital and will continue to follow the trends to keep up with the changing landscape. The good thing about having print is the newspaper is history that people can reach back and get when they need it. You can see that The Villager has done so much for our community and if you want to come and celebrate with Mr. Wyatt and The Villager join him on:
Saturday, May 11, 2013 Sheraton Hotel at the Capitol
701 East 11th Street, Austin, Texas 6:00pm-10:00pm
Celebrity Roast and Tributes
Entertainment by the Pamela Hart Quintet
Dinner Buffet For More Information
Call 512-476-0082 or TheAustinVillager.com for Ticket Information
Mr. Wyatt stated “Thanks to the community, friends, advertisers for your support because without it, I would not have made it.”
Ujima Magazine congratulates Mr. Tommy Wyatt and The Villager and wish them many more years.
Damita Miller-Shanklin, Founder and Publisher of Ujima Magazine and the Host of Ujima TV.