Omaha, Nebraska, has a population about the size of Minneapolis, a little over 400,000, with a smaller percentage of African Americans, about 13 percent versus over 18 percent in Minneapolis.
Like Minneapolis, Omaha’s small and tight-knit Black community in the north side of town has managed to create and sustain some important institutions, most notably its African American newspaper the Omaha Star.
It was founded in 1938 by Mildred Brown and her husband S. Edward Gilbert. After Brown and Gilbert divorced in 1943, she ran the Omaha Star alone.
The building that has housed the Omaha Star since it was founded in 1938, where Mildred Brown also lived until her death in 1989, is now a national landmark. Brown’s niece Dr. Marguerita Washington now owns and operates the newspaper.
MSR Vice President Emeritus Norma Jean Williams recalls that her mother, the late MSR Publisher Launa Q. Newman, and Mildred Brown were “phone friends,” sister comrades who shared their struggles to operate and maintain two great institutions of the Black Press.
During a recent weekend outing to Omaha, this reporter took an excursion into North Omaha to take note of some of its Black institutions and history. See photos below. All photos by Stephani Booker.