In late January, esteemed journalist and author Libby Clark died in her sleep at the age of 94.
While Clark would attend Columbia University and Mulvey Institute of Journalism, her time after she graduated from school and worked at a few newspapers on Pennsylvania wasn’t easy. Clark cut her journalism chops at the Chester Times and Pittsburg Courier. When she moved to L.A., she went to newspapers, such as the L.A. Times, to expand her career.
In 1949, Clark set her sights on returning to “mainstream journalism” and applied for a reporting job with the Los Angeles Times. “I went there five times trying to get a job, and they laughed at me; they treated me like a joke,” Clark said. “Finally, The Times’ food editor told me to stop trying to work for the Times because they were never going to hire me regardless of my qualifications or experience. I was devastated.
If the L.A. Times treated her badly, the Greater Los Angeles Press Club treated her worse. The Times let her in the door; the Press Club would not. Clark explained that a fellow journalist, who was White, invited her to accompany him to a event the Press Club was holding. They wouldn’t let her in. She said she wasn’t trying to join the organization, just attend the event to which she had been invited. But no. She couldn’t come in because she was Black and no Blacks were allowed in the Los Angeles Press Club’s First Street premises for any reason, except maybe to clean it up.
Clark wouldn’t let herself be undone, though. She soon started Femme magazine, serving Black women and their families, and Plum Book, which listed key individuals and organizations in the Black community. She would also write the best-selling “Black Family Family Reunion Cookbook” in 1991. She also became a featured columnist and had her work appear in 150 newspapers nationwide.
Read more about Clark’s life here.