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The book is a photographic documentary of the African-American community in Fort Worth from the 1940s to the 1990s as seen through the lens of photographer Calvin Littlejohn. Most of the photos are in black and white and concentrate on black life during the days of segregation. Bob Ray Sanders’ text for the book attempts to put Mr. Littlejohn’s work into a historical and sociological context.
Vice President, Associate Editor and Metro columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Bob Ray Sanders has been a professional newspaper, television and radio journalist for 40 years. Bob Ray worked many years at the Dallas/Fort Worth PBS affiliate, where he served as reporter, producer, station manager, and vice president. A 1969 graduate of North Texas State University, Sanders is past president of the Press Club of Fort Worth. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists and the Dallas/Fort Worth Association of Black Communicators. He currently serves on the board of the Mental Health Association of Tarrant County, the advisory board of the AIDS Outreach Center in Fort Worth and the advisory board of Goodwill Industries. He also is Professional in Residence in the Journalism Department of Texas Christian University, where he teaches the course, “Race, Gender and Mass Media”.
Sanders has received some of journalism’s most prestigious awards, among them: five awards from the Houston, New York and Chicago film festivals, five Dallas Press Club KATIE Awards, three Corporation for Public Broadcasting Awards; a regional Emmy; a National Association of Black Journalists award for Best TV Sports Feature, and a National Headliner Award for outstanding investigative reporting.
Other honors include: Ethics Award from the TCU Journalism Department; Distinguished Alumni Award, Fort Worth Independent School District; induction into the “Hall of Honor”, University of North Texas Journalism Department; and the Thomas Jefferson Liberty Award from the Dallas Civil Liberties Union.
Q. Are you a native Texan or did you get here as soon as you could?
A. I was born in Fort Worth. Not only am I a native Texan, but my family goes back 150 years in Tarrant County. So, my roots are deep in this native soil.
Q. How did you end up in journalism?
A. As a journalist, I’ve long considered myself a recorder of history. Except for a few plays, I’ve never really written fiction. The book for which I did the text, Calvin Littlejohn: Portrait of a Community in Black and White, was a mini-history of black people in Fort Worth from the 1930s forward. I came to that project when TCU Press asked me to get involved and the University of Texas (where Littlejohn’s works are archived) and the Littlejohn family signed off on it.
Q. What book marketing activities have contributed to your book’s success?
A. Our marketing technique is to make as many public appearances as possible, show photographs from the book, and talk about a place and time in Fort Worth history that many of its residents knew nothing about. We also involved several non-profit organizations who bought books at a discount and sold them at retail as fundraisers for their groups.
Q. What’s next for you?
A. No other book project is in the works, but I continue to write two columns a week for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Q. Where can we pay you a virtual visit?
A. Check out my book at TCU Press
and sample my columns at the Star-Telegram.