Everett Parker died last Thursday at the age of 102. The New York Times has a lovely obituary. The Rev. Parker founded the McGannon Center in 1986.
Parker was a media reform activist. In his capacity as communication director of the United Church of Christ during the Civil Rights movement, he was committed to the ideal that media ownership, production, employment, and decision-making be available to all people, including women, people of color and low-income individuals. The Reverend Jesse Jackson said, “Dr. Parkerʼs core idea was so simple: The airwaves belong to the people, so the people should have considerable say about how they’re used and managed.” Parker was a vocal advocate of diversity, fairness, and social responsibility in broadcasting.
“All we’ve ever wanted to do is make it possible for people to express themselves through the system of broadcasting,” he told The New York Times when he retired in 1983. “If broadcasters are to serve the public interest, they need to be reminded that they serve all the publics.”
Today, the McGannon Center is honored to continue Reverend Parker’s work by sponsoring and promoting research on the ethical and social justice implications of communication technologies. We celebrate his life and his legacy.