Detroit Museum honors history of Black journalists

WGPR-TV broadcast museum is a hidden jewel

If you’ve driven down East Jefferson near Chene, chances are you’ve seen the WGPR sign. Well, what you may not know is beyond that sign, in the back of the building, lies a hidden jewel.

“Many people don’t know it but WGPR was the very first Black owned and operated television station in the entire nation right here in Detroit,” Joe Spencer, President of the WGPR Historical Society tells Live in the D’s April Morton.

In 1973 the FCC granted Modern Masons led by Dr. William V Banks, a permit to operate UHF TV Channel 62. That moment and the 20 years of broadcasting that followed, are all displayed in the William V. Banks WGPR Broadcast Museum.

Years of hard work collecting records, tapes, memorabilia and all kinds of stuff paid off says Joe, and in 2017 the museum opened, in the very same location of the original WGPR studios.

Visitors to the museum can learn about this historic station, all it’s programing and how the station helped launch some big time news broadcasters.

The WGPR Historical Society is hoping to raise funds to build a functioning news studio.

The space would be used by young students looking to learn the ins and outs of the news biz.

Students will also be able to create an actual newscast that would be put on a thumb drive for them to have and share.

To watch the full interview, click the video above.