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VILLAGER

VILLAGER. The Villager, an umbrella publication of the Black Registry Publishing Company, was first published in Austin as a four-page tabloid. Black Registry Publishing was founded by T. L. Wyatt in 1969 for the purpose of publishing the Black Registry, a directory of black-owned businesses. The Villager started in 1973 as a one-man operation with Wyatt writing all the stories, selling and collecting advertising, and shooting and developing photographs. In-depth stories about crime in the community seldom appeared in the Villager because Wyatt felt that that kind of news was covered adequately and sometimes overemphasized by the mainstream media. He chose instead to focus on the history of the community and the good news that was often overlooked by the Austin American-Statesman and Austin's broadcast media. The paper became involved in community issues, especially area neighborhood revitalization. It led the effort to allow clinic-card holders the right to purchase prescriptions from neighborhood pharmacies. Before the change eligible persons had to purchase all medications from city-selected pharmacies. As the Villager's influence grew, politicians began to lobby for the paper's endorsement. East Austin was thriving economically in the early years of the paper, but as integration gradually became reality, black businesses went through a transition period. Some businesses failed and others moved out of east Austin to take advantage of the changing demographics of the city. During this time, more white-owned businesses, national corporations, and city agencies began to advertise in the Villager. Each year since its inception, a celebration has been held honoring the anniversary of the paper. The Villager began as and remains a free paper supported by advertising sales. It was originally distributed in 125 locations in neighborhood businesses, supermarkets, dining establishments, and newsstands. The newspaper operated under a controlled circulation of 5,000 copies distributed weekly on Thursday and dated Friday. For the first ten years of publication 5,000 copies of the paper were distributed; circulation later increased to 6,000.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Capital City Argus, February 14, 1992.

Kharen Monsho

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Kharen Monsho, "VILLAGER," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/eev03), accessed April 23, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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