Houstonians are remembering Lenora “Doll” Carter, the pioneering publisher of The Forward Times newspaper, who worked tirelessly, not only to tell the African-American story, but for economic development, community prosperity and youth development.Carter, a former National Newspaper Association Publisher of the Year, was found dead of an apparent heart attack in her home on April 10. She was 69.

Defender Publisher, Sonceria Messiah Jiles remembers Carter as more than just a colleague.

“Doll Carter was a friend. She gave me my first job in the newspaper industry,” Jiles said. “We often saw each other at the post office on Almeda and usually talked for about 30 or 40 minutes, covering everything from Houston issues and personalities to opportunities and challenges of the business. Doll was a down-to-earth person, who loved her family especially her grandchildren – her pride and joy. She will be truly missed. The community has lost a strong voice, a pioneering entrepreneur, a spiritual woman and a good friend of mine.”

For the past seven years, Carter served as treasurer of the NNPA, and at one time worked on the executive board with Messiah Jiles.

“During my chairmanship of NNPA, Doll served as the Treasurer and we worked hand-in-hand for the Black Press of America,” Messiah Jiles said. “Her years of service on the board proved her loyalty to Black newspapers and the Black community.”

NNPA Chairman Danny Bakewell Sr. said Carter always made it a priority to bring the news from a Black perspective. Bakewell recently spoke with her family by phone.

“I spoke with Doll’s daughter, Karen and gave her my sincere condolences and offered any help we could provide to both she and her family on behalf of all NNPA Publishers,” added Bakewell. “As was the case with her mother, Karen is proving to be a very strong and poised Black woman during this time of sadness and challenge to her family.”

The Houston Forward Times Newspaper, one of the South’s largest independently owned and published African-American newspapers was founded in January 1960, by Carter’s late husband, Julius Carter. Lenora Carter served as General Manager and Advertising Director. After Julius’ death, Mrs. Carter became Publisher and CEO of the company.

Over the years, she has had a “profound impact” on everyone from ministers to educators to civic leaders to politicians.

“Doll represented all ages,” said Manson Johnson, senior pastor at Holman Street Baptist Church. “She was a talented individual. She juggled her roles of motherhood, businesswoman, first lady, and community activist and did them well. I think Houston and Harris County is certainly going to have a gap. She was a consistent voice for the people and had an uncanny way of seeing and telling if a person was doing good or bad. We will miss her voice.”

“Doll Carter was a friend to many and respected by the nation of pioneers who pioneered Black media. She carried the world on her shoulders, making sure the world’s stories came to our community. She was a charitable, loving champion for our civility. She may have been a publisher in print media, but she’ll be remembered as an iconic leader in our community. She was a tough woman with a big heart. She was my friend,” added Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.

“With Doll Carter’s passing, we have lost a community icon and leader,” added State Rep. Garnet Coleman. “She was a second generation publisher/journalist, and under her stewardship the Forward Times and the Black press as a whole have succeeded in moving our city, our state and our nation forward. As a family friend, mentor and a visionary community activist she will be missed.”

Womack says Carter took great pride in bringing the African-American experience to life, and despite the many obstacles she faced, she was able to take the paper to new heights.

“People read and look at print media to see not only other people, but our own people. For 60 years, the Forward Times has been able to serve as that source for our community,” he said. “Considering an African-American woman leading such a hard business, where you have to sell advertising, she had one of the largest printers in the south. Being able to have the equipment and have a business with employees and then being able to nurture that business with family members and take it to the next level is really outstanding.”

Under Carter’s leadership, the Forward Times filled a vital role in the African-American community, covering politics, social events and community news that often were given short shrift in the mainstream daily press, said Coleman.

“I think these newspapers are still very important and integral to change for Black people in America,” he said. “The Forward Times, the Black print press, are woven into the history of Black Houston and also into the fabric of contemporary Black Houston as well.”

And Carter was more than just a steward of the African-American story. She was an entrepreneur who reinvested her money into her community, Womack added.

Carter was born in Corrigan, Texas. She is currently married to James McDaniel and is the mother of two daughters, Constance Carter and Karen Carter Richards. She has three grandchildren – Jesse Frazier, II, Chelsea White, and Nykayla Richards. She graduated from McNary High School in McNary, Arizona and attended Arizona State University majoring in Business Administration.

A member of Eta Phi Beta Sorority-XI Chapter, she also belonged to the National Association of Market Developers, National Women of Achievement, National Newspaper Publishers Association, Texas Press Association, Greater Houston Partnership, and serves on the Board of Directors of Amalgamated Publishers, Inc.

Carter’s viewing will take place April 16, starting at noon at Holman Street Baptist Church, 3501 Holman Street, with a celebration to be held Friday evening from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. The funeral will be held on Saturday, April 17th at Holman Street Baptist Church at 10:00 a.m.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Julius and Lenora Carter Scholarship and Youth Fund at Wells Fargo bank.

ReShonda Tate Billingsley


NNPA contributed to this report.

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