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Plummer Bernard Young, Sr.

Calvary Cemetery
Old Calvary, Block 75, Lot F, Space 5
(July 27th, 1884 - October 9th, 1962)

 Dr. Plummer Bernard Young Sr. picture

P.B. Young Sr, was born in Halifax County, North Carolina in 1884. His father Winfield was the founder and publisher of a newspaper named The True Reformer. As a boy, he assisted his father with this newspaper, a task which cultivated his desire for a career in Journalism. A well-read man of considerable intellect, Young never actually completed his college education. After a few years at St. Augustine College, he moved to Norfolk in 1907. His first job in was as a reporter for the Lodge Journal and Guide, a fraternal newsletter published by the Knights of Gideon. It had a weekly circulation of roughly 500 copies.

Young believed that there was a strong need for a newspaper to serve the African-American community, and recognized the potential of the Lodge Journal and Guide to fill this role. Thus, in 1910 he purchased the publication for $3,050. The 27 year old replaced “Lodge” with “Norfolk” in the paper’s name. The new paper was called the Norfolk Journal and Guide. He would spend the next 52 years developing it into what was widely considered to be the foremost publication of its kind in the country, by blacks and whites alike. Its circulation extended far beyond Tidewater, all the way to western states. At one point, it was the single largest employer of African-Americans in the entire south. By the time of his death, it had the largest circulation of any weekly newspaper in the South, white or black.

In addition being a businessman, he was one of the foremost proponents of African-American advancement in the US. His outlook on the situation of his race was similar to that of Booker T. Washington. Young believed that blacks should take a constructive rather than confrontational approach to improving their conditions. He advocated political solidarity, economic cooperation, and educational development. Among his many efforts towards these ends, Young was a founding member of the Norfolk chapter of the NAACP, and was singularly instrumental persuading the state to pay black teachers the same salaries as their white counterparts.

His incisive editorial columns were his most important tool. He believed that black journalists had a responsibility to bring attention to the problems faced by their communities, but without resorting to propaganda or sensationalist content. His editorials reflected this philosophy, and were widely reprinted in white daily newspapers.  Ironically, he was condemned by some whites for being a fanatic and communist sympathizer and by some militant blacks for being cowardly and overly conservative in his outlook.

His prominent position and articulate intellect earned him the respect of both white and black leaders at the state, local, and national levels. In 1943, he was appointed by President Franklin Roosevelt to Fair Employment Practices Commission, an unofficial “black cabinet” to advise the president on African-American affairs, and was named to various state commissions by 4 different Virginia governors. He was a member of numerous boards and commissions. Notably, he chaired a Norfolk commission that planned slum clearance programs. One of its projects, Young Park, was named in his honor, as well as the elementary school at its center. He is also memorialized with a highway marker in his birthplace of Halifax County.

For many years, he was married to Eleanor Young (1884-1946), the namesake of Norfolk Public School’s Camp Eleanor Young. They had two sons, P.B. Young Jr., and Thomas Young. After Eleanor’s untimely death, he was remarried to Josephine Moseley Young (1904-1980). Both of his wives are interred with him at Calvary. After his father’s death, P.B Young Jr. carried on his father’s legacy as publisher of the Norfolk Journal and Guide.

New Journal and Guide (1916-2003); Oct 12, 1968;
ProQuest Historical Newspapers Norfolk Journal and Guide (1921-2003)
pg. A15

Up From Depression, The Guide Emerged As South's Best Weekly
New Journal and Guide (1916-2003); Oct 25, 1975;
ProQuest Historical Newspapers Norfolk Journal and Guide (1921-2003)
pg. A26

Scenes At Final Rites For Guide Publisher P.B. Young Sr.
Guide Staff Writer
New Journal and Guide (1916-2003); Oct 20, 1962;
ProQuest Historical Newspapers Norfolk Journal and Guide (1921-2003)
pg. 11

Journal and Guide Publisher for 52 years
New Journal and Guide (1916-2003); Jul 17, 1996;
ProQuest Historical Newspapers Norfolk Journal and Guide (1921-2003)
pg. 1

Book depicts Young's rise to power
H Suggs
New Journal and Guide (1916-2003); Mar 10, 1993;
ProQuest Historical Newspapers Norfolk Journal and Guide (1921-2003)
pg. 1

Death Ends Guide Publisher's 64 Years In Journalism
Guide Staff Writer
New Journal and Guide (1916-2003); Oct 13, 1962;
ProQuest Historical Newspapers Norfolk Journal and Guide (1921-2003)
pg. A1

What's in a name? P.B. Young Sr. Elementary School
Steven G. Vegh
The Virginian-Pilot
September 27, 2010

Biographical information provided by Norfolk Bureau of Cemeteries.

Visitor Information

Visitor Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

Office hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Saturday 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Free parking inside cemetery.

Admission Cost: Free

Address: 1600 St. Julian Ave., Norfolk, VA 23504

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