Sam Ford, WJLA-TV News' D.C. Bureau Chief, retired from the Washington, D.C. station at the end of 2023. Ford had been with WJLA for 36 years, a broadcaster for 50 years, and contributed to Port of Harlem several articles.
The Coffeyville, Kansas native started in radio in Kansas and Minnesota before spending time at WCCO-TV in Minneapolis/St. Paul and a decade as a correspondent with CBS News. Ford is a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists and a voting member of the Cherokee Nation.
I first saw Ford on TV as a news reporter and later met him at a gathering of people interested in the African diaspora living in Central and South America. He was inspiring in that he was the most visible person there, but not engrossed in his celebrity.
Upon meeting him at the international gathering, he proudly said he was from “Coffeyville,” population 8,847. Having gone to Iowa State University with other Black mid-Westerners, I imagined him not being like “us Blacks” from Kansas City, Missouri; Detroit, “Great” Gary, Chicago, St. Louis, or East St Louis, but more like the Blacks from Des Moines, Waterloo, Omaha, and Lincoln.
Instead, he expanded my notion of Blackness with stories of African-Native Americans. His Nigerian stories broke the stereotype that many Africans, at home and abroad, have of the world’s largest African country. Then, he opened our doors to environmental racism.
Thanks Sam for making Port of Harlem more inclusive, more diverse, and more African with these stories: