Lomax Obit

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Necessity being the mother of invention, she left the Eagle and
started the Los Angeles Tribune with $100 she borrowed from her future
father-in-law, Lucius W. Lomax, Sr. 

She was then given an ultimatum by Eagle to choose between the newspaper and the radio program.  Necessity being the mother of invention, she left the Eagle and started the Los Angeles Tribune with $100 she borrowed from her future father-in-law, Lucius W. Lomax, Sr. 

OBITUARY OF ALMENA LOMAX – JOURNALIST AND CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST by Carolyn Jenkins

Almena & Lucius Lomax in the 1950’s





OBITUARY OF ALMENA LOMAX – JOURNALIST AND CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST by Carolyn Jenkins

Almena & Lucius Lomax in the 1950’s
Almeda Lomax, 95, pioneering journalist and civil rights activists, died on Friday,
March 25, 2011 in Pasadena, California after a brief illness.
Hallie Almena Davis was born on July 23, 1915 in Galveston, Texas as the second of
three children, to a seamstress and postal worker parents.  The family of five moved
from Texas to Chicago to escape racism during the Depression era, and eventually
settled in California.
After graduating from Jordan High School in Los Angeles, the young Almena Davis
studied journalism at Los Angeles City College.  Many journalist classmates went on
to staff Los Angeles’ major daily newspapers, “but no one would hire me,” Mrs. Lomax
said in an oral history record for California State University at Fullerton in
1967.  In 1938 she went to work at a black weekly, the California Eagle.  Around
this same time, she began a twice weekly news and interview program for Gold
Furniture on Los Angeles radio station KGFJ.
She was then given an ultimatum by Eagle to choose between the newspaper and the
radio program.  Necessity being the mother of invention, she left the Eagle and
started the Los Angeles Tribune with $100 she borrowed from her future
father-in-law, Lucius W. Lomax, Sr.  The Los Angeles Tribune served the city’s black
population in the 1940’s and ‘50’s, initially as a weekly newsletter, and eventually
into a 24-page, five-column tabloid, full of news, lively opinion pieces, book and
movie reviews and political commentary.
In subsequent years, Mrs. Lomax became a powerful and well respected
African-American journalist.  She forged a courageous battle against the Hollywood
industry’s racial practices and federal officials over the civil rights policy of
the federal government.  In 1946 she was awarded first prize in the Wendell L.
Willkie Awards for Negro Journalism, sponsored by the Washington Post and named for
the 1940 Republican presidential candidate, for a column debunking the myth of the
black male’s sexual prowess.
Mrs. Lomax became the first black journalist to be accredited by the Motion Picture
Academy, and led boycotts of the movies “Porgy and Bess” and “Imitation of Life,”
which Mrs. Lomax believed “libeled the Negro race.”
Active in the Civil Rights Movement, in 1956 Mrs. Lomax was active in the bus
boycott, and stayed with Martin Luther King, Jr. and his family in Montgomery,
Alabama, producing her highly acclaimed “Mother’s Day in Montgomery: Boycott Leader
Serves His Congregation Toynbee, Langston Hughes, Emerson and Jesus Christ, and is
Received in Complete Consanguinity.”
Mrs. Lomax helped deliver the liberal vote to Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, father of the
present California governor in the 1958 California gubernatorial race.  Mrs. Lomax
solicited certain promises in return for her support.  She requested a pardon of
Caryl Chessman, infamous “red light bandit”, an apology to the Japanese for
internment, a state Fair Employment Practices Commission, and increased
representation of minorities in appointive state positions.  Brown delivered on all
of these requests, except for the pardon of Chessman, who was executed in 1960.
In 1960, after her divorce from Lucius W. Lomax, Jr., Mrs. Lomax closed the doors of
the Los Angeles Tribune and took her children to Tuskegee, Alabama to live.  This
allowed her to observe the civil rights struggle up close.  Back to her Southern
roots, Mrs. Lomax’s writing continued to flourish, with publications featured in
Harper’s and The Nation, as well as many newspapers.
After her return to California, she became the first black person to work on the
city desk of the San Francisco Chronicle, and then on to work for their rival paper,
the San Francisco Examiner.  She covered the turbulent social and political
environment of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Almena Lomax worked actively until her 90s, when she developed eye problems.  Her
son, Michael Lomax, said in an interview with the Black Star News, “my mother was
able to complete a work entitled, ‘Women of Montgomery’, a chronology of four
generations of female family from post-slavery to the present, soon to be published.
 My mother also left a body of fiction work.”  As to the legacy Mrs. Lomax would
like to leave, Michael Lomax said, “It is the large body of work as an active
journalist.  Part of this legacy is her work in the 1930’s at the California Eagle
and the weekly Los Angeles Sentinel.”
Mrs.  Lomax was preceded in death by her daughter, Melanie, former president of the
Los Angeles Police Commission and a prominent civil rights attorney.  She is
survived by her children Michael L. Lomax, national president and CEO of the United
Negro College Fund of Washington and Atlanta; Mark W. Lomax, an attorney of Los
Angeles; Mia D. Lomax of Los Angeles; and Lucius W. Lomax III of Austin, Texas; four
grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.  Another daughter, Michele Leslie Lomax,
one-time film critic at the San Francisco Examiner, died in 1987.
Halle Almena Lomax personifies, the pen is mightier than the sword.
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to the United Negro College Fund.
 
“Speaking Truth to Empower"

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