Rev. Everett Parker

b. 17 Jan 1913, Chicago, IL

Civil rights activist; founder, UCC Office of Communication, Inc.

In 1963, black civil rights activists just couldn't get a break on local TV in Jackson, Mississippi. WLBT, run by local whites, refused to provide fair coverage of black leaders and growing civil unrest. Martin Luther King asked Rev. Everett Parker if the United Church of Christ could help break through the media whiteout, and Parker’s response changed history. After organizing local residents to monitor WLBT broadcasts and document their biased coverage, Parker charged the station owners with misusing the public airwaves. The FCC at first showed no interest. But after a protracted court battle, Parker and the UCC won, establishing for the first time that the public has standing to demand fair treatment from broadcasters. The racist station owners lost their license in 1969. The UCC’s Office of Communication remains deeply involved in issues of media empowerment and social justice.

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey