By Andy Young and Tim Keegan | City of Buffalo | Spectrum News 1 via Editor & Publisher
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Frank Merriweather III was practically born with ink on his fingertips.
“It’s a beautiful history,” said Merriweather. “I look because I said out of out of all things you know why would my grandparents start a newspaper?”
His grandparents were visionaries. Frank and Carmelita Merriweather opened a printing business in 1923, and a couple of years later began the Buffalo Criterion Newspaper. For nearly a century now, the family business has been continuously documenting the stories from the perspective of Buffalo’s Black community.
“It’s politics, business, social concerns, every kind of concern in terms of building communities you can do with your newspaper,” Merriweather said.
Frank’s parents eventually took over the Criterion. In fact, the very library where we talked is named after his father, Frank Merriweather Jr. It was his dad who first taught him how to use a camera. The third-generation paper is now under his leadership.
“The history, that’s your yardstick in life,” said Merriweather. “Whatever you do, I believe that you have to see yourself.”
“My main emphasis has always been on the little-known facts of Black history, like the Black Irish,” said columnist Eva M. Doyle.
Among the Criterion’s staff of writers, Doyle, an educator and historian, has been writing her Eye on History column in the paper for more than 40 years.
“I believe that you can have a lot of knowledge about a whole lot of things, but if you don’t share that knowledge, what good is it?” asked Doyle.
Over the years, she’s interviewed people like the wife of Malcolm X and the great Muhammad Ali. But what she sees as most critical is passing on the lessons of the past down to the present.
“It’s important for us to know this history, to apply it to today and it encourages young people to say you know what, I want to be like that person,” Doyle said.
And for Frank Merriweather III, it’s a lifetime of work that began decades before he was born.
“It’s nice to know that you are part of building a community and really getting the word out, and having columnists that you can trust and believe,” said Merriweather.
The Buffalo Criterion is published weekly, as it has been for almost 100 years. Frank Merriweather and his staff say the landscape of the newspaper business is constantly changing with new technology and readers’ habits, so they’ll have to continue to adapt to be around for another 100 years.
This article was originally published by Spectrum News 1.
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