Change-Makers

Meet The African-American Female Disc Jockey Who Used 15 Minutes To Shattered Racial Barriers

In 1948 Mary Dee Dudley became the country’s first African-American female disc jockey shattering both racial and gender barriers to achieve this feat.

She was allowed only 15 minutes on air because the radio station owners did not know how well her show will be received.

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Her daily show “Movin’ Around” aired on August 1, 1948 on WHOD in Homestead, Pittsburgh. In a period of six months her 15 minutes show was extended to an hour. In 1950, about two years later it became a two-hour show.

Dudley was born in 1912 in Homestead, P.A. to William and Mary Hunter Goode.

William Goode owned the Hill District’s 24-hour pharmacy. The Hill district is the oldest neighbourhood in Pittsburgh.

Her family was quite popular in Pittsburgh as her brother Mal Goode was a notable broadcaster and James Goode was also Pittsburgh’s first black realtor.

She attended Homestead high School and went to Howard University after and then to St. Mann Radio School in Pittsburgh.

Not long after her graduation from St. Mann, she applied to work at the WHOD radio station that was about to be launched. According to Dudley’s nephew, the station told her she would be offered a 15 minutes show if she could get three sponsors.

 

Mary Dee got three sponsors, her father with his 24-hour pharmacy, her brother James with his realty business and a florist.

Dudley’s show was different from what people were used to listening. She played the latest records by African American artistes and made room for local talents to be unearthed.

She also brought her brother, Mal Goode on board when the show was extended to two hours to broadcast daily news as a correspondent for The Pittsburgh Courier.

It is said that the Courier was the most widely circulated black newspaper in the country at some point in time.

Goode touched on everything that pertains to the black community in Pittsburgh. From police brutality to the Jim Crow Segregation to prejudiced politicians and housing options for blacks.

Later in his career, Mal also became the first black correspondent for a major television network, ABC TV network.

To add to the diversity of her show, Dudley brought on Toki Johnson and Hazel Garland to report on women’s issues and to cover the community. She made sure her show was a true representation of her community.

She established the basic African American radio show format with music, news and community affairs.

She interviewed renowned celebrities at the time like Jackie Robinson, Sarah Vaughan and Cab Calloway.

What catapulted Dudley’s show into the national media was her interview with Ebony magazine. Her show moved to “Studio Dee” in August 1951 at the corner of Herron and Center avenues in the Pittsburgh Hills area.

This storefront presented her the opportunity to relate with her listeners and for them to request songs for the show while enjoying her prowess. This act cemented Dudley’s show as a staple in the neighbourhood.

Her show got yet another extension. It moved from two hours to four around 1954 and “Studio D” relocated to Center Avenue in the Courier Building.

Dudley worked at WHOD for another two years before moving to Baltimore in 1956 when WHOD changed its call letters to WAMO.

Her time in Baltimore was short-lived. She settled in Philadelphia and worked on a show called “Songs of Faith” at WHAT until she died from cancer at the age of 48 in 1964.

Source: Face2face Africa

 

Sallu Kamuskay

Sallu Kamuskay is a Sierra Leonean activist, storyteller, and blogger. He was born in Sierra Leone but later relocated to Guinea as a refugee because of the war in his country. Sallu Kamuskay uses his phone to engage on social media, under the name ‘’Salone Messenger’. He Co-Founded the Salone Messenger platform after his experience of the war, Ebola, and injustices. According to him, silence was the root cause of war, and of many social injustices, we continue to face as a nation. In 2013, during the Ebola crisis, Sallu Kamuskay took the risk and volunteered to fight Ebola. He spent some months in both safe and unsafe places; helping the victims and telling their sad stories. The election in 2018, left a divided country with communities fighting on tribal lines. This inspired Sallu Kamuskay to serve as the coordinator of the United Sierra Leone peace concert, which was organized in 4 major parts of the country, targeting violent communities and troubled youth. Sallu Kamuskay led a group of entertainers, activists, and organizations across the country on a peace tour, a program supported by the European Union, United Sierra Leone, Africa Union, ECOWAS, and the Messeh Leone Trust. Sallu Kamuakay has also served as a staff writer for the Hidden Voices Magazine. Over the years, Sallu Kamuskay has been using his Techno phone to be able to tell stories, the phone he used to tell the story of Gbessay during Ebola who was admitted at one of the Ebola treatment centers after rumors that she had Ebola when the actual sickness was ulcer, she was almost abandoned at the treatment canter with no medication provided to her. She could have died. Sallu told the story via social media and was able to secure funding from the United Sierra Leone to buy her medication and advocated for her. She was later discharged and taken home, He did the same to a patient that died and was abandoned in the street, Sallu Kamuskay used his phone and shared the message across, the corps was later taken and buried. It could have been more disaster without his voice. The story of late America Stress 3-year-old daughter. The hero’s daughter was abandon after his father's death. He shared her sad story and was able to get a sister who has taken the child as her own and is currently providing her with educational support. The article of America Stress can be read on the link below http://ayvnewspaper.com/index.php/k2-categories/item/7350-america-stress-a-hero-to-recognize. Sallu Kamuskay feels the stories of Gbessay, America stress and that of many others need to be told. The media house we have cannot better tell these stories, they are better reporters than telling human interest stories. He created the Salone Messenger platform and brought together passionate storytellers to be able to tell these compelling stories.

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