Photograph of Joseph Blackburn Bass with his mother. The photograph was taken at Downing's Gallery, and the back of the photograph states the gallery was located "in Union Hall Building, over Barnum & Co's Dry Goods Store, opp. Post-Office, Topeka, Kansas." Joseph was born on Aug. 2, 1863, in Missouri, and moved with his mother to Topeka when he was five or six years old. In the 1890s, he founded the Topeka Call, a black community newspaper. He continued to work on that newspaper when it was purchased by another owner and its name changed to the Topeka Plaindealer. Bass was active in local politics, and in 1896 was one of the Kansas delegates to the Republican National Convention that nominated William McKinley for President. After a short stint publishing a black community newspaper in Helena, Montana, Bass moved to Los Angeles, where in 1913, he accepted Charlotta Spears' offer to edit the California Eagle. Spears and Bass married in 1914.
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