CINCINNATI — Mrs. Marjorie Parham, publisher emerita of The Cincinnati Herald and widow of founder Gerald Porter, passed peacefully in her sleep on Wednesday, April 14. She was 103. The family will announce services in the next few days.
“She was feisty, a brilliant businesswoman, and a mentor for me and so many others,” said Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney, president of Sesh Communications and Cincinnati City Council member. “Mrs. Parham was a staunch advocate for the Black community and believed in the importance of the Black press to provide a forum for the community’s diverse views and as a platform to tell our own story.”
Publisher Walter L. White admired her tenacity.
“After Mr. Porter died in 1963, Mrs. Parham jumped in to run the paper with the help of her son, Bill Spillers. She hit the streets getting advertising and never let a ‘no’ discourage her,” White said.
“She was one of a kind,” said co-owner Eric H. Kearney. “She was tough as nails, and never afraid to speak her mind. At the same time, she was compassionate and had a dry wit that always made me laugh. I shall always have the utmost respect for her integrity, business acumen, and passion.”
“We will miss her terribly,” said Lemon Kearney. “We often sought her advice and always wanted to make her proud of the legacy she provided for Cincinnati’s Black community.”
Cincinnati Herald Media Consultant Andria Carter told WCPO that Parham was the person who gave her an internship and eventually a job at the Herald. She remembers Parham as a "tough role model" who always taught her to go after the truth and never to shy away from asking hard questions.
"She heard everybody’s story," Carter said Thursday. "I think if everybody was open as the Herald is to everybody’s story, we’d probably have a much better neighborhood relations, much better community per se, than what’s going on around the country right now."
Carter described Parham as a world traveler and a leader in the Black community who leaves behind a strong legacy.
"She always told me that change is slow. It’s never fast. Even when you want it to be fast, she said you just have to be able to be at the table and get your point across and be respected," she said. "Even when people don’t respect you, they have to respect your opinion."
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