Les Humphrey

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Les Humphrey
Born May 4, 1925
Enterprise, Alabama
Died January 28, 2001
Pensacola
Occupation Newspaper publisher
Spouse Edna Miles Humphrey
Children Jacqueline Miles Williams

Lester "Les" Charles Humphrey (1925-2001) was a newspaper publisher who founded the Pensacola Voice in 1967.

A native of Enterprise, Alabama, Humphrey served in the military and was one of two survivors of a gas chamber accident that hospitalized him for over a year. After being released but still on medication for his injury, he was arrested for driving under the influence and imprisoned when he refused to work on the chain gang. Following his stint in prison, Humphrey first worked at a funeral home, then received his seminary license before attending photography school. Photography is what brought him to Pensacola; he would later say, "I came to Pensacola from Enterprise, Alabama, on a horse and mule. They shot my mule and made hamburger helper out of my horse."[1]

In 1967, while working as a civil service photographer at the Naval Air Station, Humphrey established a weekly newspaper targeting the local black community called the Pensacola Exposure. It was renamed the Pensacola Voice in (date needed).

As publisher of the Voice, Humphrey often took sides unpopular with much of the black community. He was critical of forced integration, affirmative action programs, single-member districts, and many national black leaders whom he described as "hustlers and mystics with no grip on reality."[2]

In the early 1980s Humphrey founded the Black Agenda community group, instilling the following wisdom to rising business leaders: "Seek ye first the almighty dollar, and all other things shall be added unto you."[1] He also spearheaded efforts to organize the annual Unity Day celebration.

Humphrey died of diabetes-related complications on January 28, 2001 at age 75 and was buried at Barrancas National Cemetery. Al Henderson, managing editor of the Voice at the time of Humphrey's death, said of the late publisher, "There is only one Les Humphrey, and others can only emulate his commitment."[2]

[edit] References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Les Humphrey: The Man Who Institutionalized The Pensacola Voice." Pensacola Voice, February 1, 2001.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Humphrey's legacy lives on in words." Pensacola News Journal, February 1, 2001.
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