Bywater Books is pleased to announce that author Penny Mickelbury joins the other members of the Washington Post’s Metro Seven as 2019 inductees into the National Association of Black Journalists’ Hall of Fame.
The following article was originally posted on NABJ.org.
In 1972, seven African American journalists—Ivan C. Brandon, LaBarbara A. Bowman, Leon Dash, Penny Mickelbury, Ronald A. Taylor, Richard Prince, and the late Michael B. Hodge, who died in 2017—took a stand against alleged discrimination while working at The Washington Post. They filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which alleged that the paper was “denying black employees an equal opportunity with respect to job assignments, promotional opportunities, including promotions to management positions and other terms and conditions of employment,” according to writer Steven Gray in the NABJ Journal.
The group of journalists was heralded as the first in U.S. history to file this form of a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Known as the Metro Seven, the group inspired other co-workers, including women employed at the paper, and journalists worldwide that would come after them to advocate for their own right to equal treatment in hiring, promotion and compensation practices.
During a press conference in 1972, Metro Seven member LaBarbara A. Bowman, a past recipient of the NABJ Ida B. Wells Award, stated, “the complaint to the EEOC represents our belief that this discrimination cannot continue to exist at a publication in a city that is 71.1 percent black…. (the complaint) came after very much thought, very much consideration. We’re very sorry we had to take this step. There is no alternative.” Since the activism of the Metro Seven, the Washington Post has been considered to have made many advancements in the areas of diversity and inclusion. “
The principles we fought for in the Metro Seven have guided my entire professional life. Thank you, NABJ,” said Richard Prince, also a past NABJ Ida B. Wells Award recipient and author of the “Journal-isms” column. Leon Dash, a founder of NABJ and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, added, “It is truly an honor to be inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists’ Hall of Fame with the other members of the Metro Seven.”
PENNY MICKELBURY is a trailblazing author and an award-winning playwright. She is a two-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, was a writer in residence at Hedgebrook Women Writers Retreat, and is a recipient of the Audre Lorde Estate Grant. In 2001 she was awarded the Gold Pen Award for Best Mystery/Thriller from the Black Writers Alliance, and the Prix du Roman d’Adventures from Les Éditions du Masque. In 2017, she was commissioned by the Jo Howarth Noonan Foundation for the Performing Arts to write a ten-minute play in celebration of “women of a certain age”. Prior to focusing on literary pursuits, Penny was a pioneering newspaper, radio and television reporter, based primarily in Washington, D.C., wrote journalistic non-fiction, and was a frequent contributor to such publications as Black Issues Book Review, Africana.com, and the Washington Blade.
Penny’s newest novel, Two Wings to Fly Away, a pre-Civil War era novel that explores relationships between black and whites in 1850s Philadelphia, published in May 2019.