Lewis Ossie Swingler
Lewis Ossie Swingler (c. 1905 – September 25, 1962) was a pioneering African-American journalist, editor, and newspaper publisher from Crittenden County, Arkansas. He was editor of the Memphis World and editor in chief and copublisher of the Tri-State Defender.
Swingler was born in Crittenden County in 1905. He was raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he attended Booker T. Washington High School. Swingler went on to attend the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL), where he graduated with a degree in journalism. While in college, Swingler helped organize the first chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha at UNL and edited the Sphinx, a publication of that fraternity.
Directly after graduating, Swingler moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he was a pivotal figure in the establishment of the Memphis World. He served as its editor from its founding in 1931 until he left in 1951 to start the Tri-State Defender with John H. Sengstacke. During this period Swingler also taught journalism at LeMoyne College.
Swingler used his position in Memphis's black community to advocate for civil rights. For instance, in 1948 Swingler and a number of other prominent black citizens of Memphis pressed the police department to hire African American officers as a way of reducing police brutality. This effort was ultimately successful. Swingler also joined an early voter registration group, Joseph Edison Walker's Non-Partisan Voters Committee, in 1951.
In 1956, during the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Swingler was the southern vice president of Alpha Phi Alpha. After fellow Alpha Martin Luther King was indicted in Montgomery, Swingler was among a delegation which travelled there to support King.
- Marina Pacini; Memphis Brooks Museum of Art (15 September 2008). Photographs from the Memphis World, 1949-1964. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-915525-10-2. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
- Clayborne Carson; David J. Garrow; Bill Kovach; Carol Polsgrove (2003). Reporting Civil Rights: American journalism, 1941-1963. Library of America. p. 948. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
- George E. Hardin (November 10, 2011). "Newspaper veteran maintains 'first love'". Tri-State Defender. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
- This Week's Census. Jet Magazine. 11 October 1962. p. 28. ISSN 0021-5996. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
- Laurie B. Green (28 May 2007). Battling the Plantation Mentality: Memphis and the Black Freedom Struggle. Univ of North Carolina Press. pp. 105–6. ISBN 978-0-8078-5802-8. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
- Margaret McKee; Fred Chisenhall (1 September 1993). Beale Black & Blue: Life and Music on Black America's Main Street. Louisiana State University Press. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-8071-1886-3. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
- Christopher Silver; John V. Moeser (20 April 1995). The Separate City: Black Communities in the Urban South, 1940-1968. University Press of Kentucky. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-8131-1911-3. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
- Martin Luther King Jr. (27 February 1997). The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr.: Volume III: Birth of a New Age, December 1955-December 1956. University of California Press. p. 119. ISBN 978-0-520-07952-6. Retrieved 28 August 2012.