Ben Thomas - 2019
Ben Thomas was the founder, editor and do-everything guy at the St. Louis Evening Whirl. He left his job as entertainment editor at the St. Louis Argus in 1937 to start his own weekly entertainment paper for the Black community, the Night Whirl. As promotion for that paper, he initiated the Colored Mayors’ Association, hosted beauty pageants and interviewed visiting celebrities. When he broke a local crime story that the town’s other papers wouldn’t print, he sold over 50,000 copies and immediately changed the name to the Evening Whirl, concentrating on creatively written, sensational crime stories.