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Jack L. Cooper

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This presentation is about the first disc jockey, Jack L. Cooper. I did the presentation as a McNair Scholar and I won best overall research project.

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Jack L. Cooper

  1. 1. Jack L. Cooper: African American Radio Pioneer Sept.18, 1888- Jan. 12, 1970 Sydney Stover University of Montevallo McNair Scholars Program
  2. 2. Introduction • This is a standard historical research. Textual analysis was used in order to find information on Jack L. Cooper. Primary sources were viewed as well as secondary sources that featured primary material. The focus of this study is to illuminate the life and career of the first African American disc jockey.
  3. 3. Cooper’s Life (Just the Beginning) • • • • September 18, 1888 was Cooper’s birth date. He was the last of 10 children. Memphis, TN was his home. Cooper dropped out of school in the 5th grade to work such jobs as a bellboy, newsboy, a race track boy and a boxer. Vaudeville was also part of his later career. • Cooper won both the Cincinnati newsboy title and the Ohio Negro welterweight crown. Cited in Mark Newman “On the Air: The Beginnings of Black-Appeal Radio” and the Chicago Defender Archives
  4. 4. Cooper and the • 1924, Cooper worked for the Chicago Defender writing a column called “Coop’s Chatter,” in which he advocated better treatment for African Americans. • Cooper also had two other articles called “Cooper’s Dope”(1923) and “Cooper’s Comment” (1925). In these articles, he focused on the social aspects of the city as well as his life. • Cooper was sent to Washington, D.C. to head the new office in June of 1924. Cited in the Chicago Defender Archives and Mark Newman “On the Air: The Beginnings of Black –Appeal Radio”
  5. 5. “Taxation Without Representation” • While in Washington D.C., Cooper was listening to the radio and noticed that all of the blacks on the radio were only singers. None of them talked. • “To me that was like ‘taxation without representation,’” he later explained, “ and so I made up my mind to do something about it.” • Cooper returned to Chicago in 1926 with radio on his mind. Cited in Mark Newman “On the Air: The Beginnings of Black-Appeal Radio.”
  6. 6. “A White Man’s World” Amos ‘n’ Andy Cited in Derek Vaillant’s “Sounds of Whiteness: Local Radio. Racial Formation, and Public Culture in Chicago, 1921-1935”
  7. 7. “The All Negro Hour” • • • • • • • November 3, 1929, “The All- Negro Hour” debuted on World Storage Battery Company (WSBC) at 5p.m. Comedy+ Music+ Religion= 60 minute slot On air: 1929-1935 “Luke and Timber” (February 27, 1930) “Mush and Clorinda”(August 1930) “Horseradish and Fertilizer”( August 1930) *disc –jockey format* Cited in Mark Newman’s “On the Air with Jack L. Cooper: The Beginnings of BlackAppeal Radio” and the Chicago Defender Archives
  8. 8. Jack L. Cooper vs. Al Jarvis: The GREAT Debate Al Jarvis Jack Cooper
  9. 9. Cooper and Public Service • • • • • • • “Search for Missing Persons” “May We Help You” “The Community Marches On” “Listen Chicago” “ Your Legal Rights” “Situations Wanted” “Social Security for You and Your Family” Cited in Mark Newman’s “On the Air with Jack L. Cooper: The Beginnings of BlackAppeal Radio
  10. 10. Radio Ownership • 1930s = 14.4 per cent (black urban families) 0.3 per cent (black farm families) 3 percent (black rural, non farm families) 1940s= 90 % (black urban families) 70% (black farm families) Cited in Mark Newman’s “On the Air with Jack L. Cooper: The Beginnings of Black-Appeal Radio”
  11. 11. Cooper’s Success • “Sow no valued seeds among the weeds, for therefrom can come no harvest.” • “ To grow old with nothing is disaster.” Cited in Roi Ottley’s “From Poverty to 90 Suits Saga of Negro” (Chicago Tribune)
  12. 12. “The Top Man in Chicago”
  13. 13. Cooper’s Firsts • • • • • • • First successful black broadcaster in radio First to pioneer in the disc jockey format First news and sports announcer First to broadcast religious services from a church First black to reach management status at radio station First to use radio as service medium First to launch a successful black radio production company and advertising agency Cited in Mark Newman Entrepreneurs of Profit and Pride; Henry T. Sampson. Swingin’ on the Ether Waves. Vol. 2: A Chronological History of African-Americans in Radio and Television Broadcasting, 1925-1955; and William Barlow ,Voice Over
  14. 14. Influenced by Cooper: Daddy O’Daylie (WGRT) • “He opened doors for many of today’s black disc jockeys and gave them opportunities…” Cited in “Stars Here Mourn ‘Profession’s Loss’” (Chicago Defender Archives)
  15. 15. Lucky Cordell( WVON) on Cooper’s death • “ He was the first black disc jockey in Chicago and probably in America, and the radio and music industry has lost one of its great pioneers.” Cited in “Stars Here Mourn ‘Profession’s Loss’” (Chicago Defender Archives)
  16. 16. Sources • • • • • • • • Barlow, William. Voice Over Chicago Defender (archives) Newman, Mark. Entrepreneurs of Profit and Pride Newman, Mark. “On the Air with Jack L. Cooper: The Beginning of BlackAppeal Radio.” Ottley, Roi. “ From Poverty to 90 Suits--Saga of Negro” Sampson, Henry T. Swingin’ on the Ether Waves. Vol. 2: A Chronological History of African-Americans in Radio and Television Broadcasting, 19251955. “Stars Here Mourn ‘Profession’s Loss’ (Chicago Defender) Vaillant, Derek W. “Sounds of Whiteness: Local Radio, Racial Formations, and Public Culture in Chicago, 1921-1935”

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