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Benjamin Starks founded the Beacon Journal in Charleston in 1957. Starks ran the newspaper business from his home with the help of his family. He published the Beacon Journal every other month and distributed it free of charge. In its first year, circulation was approximately 500. Funds for operation were solicited from local businesses.

After Starks became ill in 1983, his son and daughter-in-law, Stephen R. and Deborah S. Starks, continued publication under the new name Beacon Digest. To increase readership and attract new advertisers, the newspaper went to paid subscriptions. In 2005, the Beacon Digest was a weekly publication with a circulation of 30,000 subscribers throughout West Virginia and across the nation. When it ceased publication in 2006, it was West Virginia’s last surviving Black newspaper.

In 2020, Crystal Good began publishing Black by God, a statewide print and digital newspaper that focuses primarily on issues affecting the Black community in West Virginia and throughout Appalachia.

This Article was written by Connie Park Rice

Last Revised on August 31, 2023


Hart, Betty L. Powell. "The Black Press in West Virginia: A Brief History," in Joe W. Trotter & Ancella R. Bickley, eds, Honoring our Past: Proceedings of the First Two Conferences on West Virginia's Black History. Charleston: Alliance for the Collection, Preservation & Dissemination of West Virginia's Black History, 1991.

Cite This Article

Rice, Connie Park "West Virginia Beacon Digest." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 31 August 2023. Web. 29 May 2024.


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