Giving Flowers: The Villager has Served the Austin Community for over 50 Years

2023 marked 50 years of service for The Villager, one of Austin’s oldest news publications still in existence and the second African American newspaper in the capital city, only preceded by Freeman’s Press (July 1868 – October 1868). Now celebrating year 51 in May of 2024, this family-run business has certainly earned its place as part of Austin’s history.

Thomas “T.L.” Wyatt, the creator and publisher of The Villager, was born to be a trailblazer. Whenever he saw an opportunity to better serve the Black Austin community, he took the initiative to do it himself or to join others in creating the opportunities. When starting this publication, Wyatt was a one-man show, wearing the hat of journalist, photographer, editor, and publisher.

Since then, the paper became a family affair, with his son, Tommy Wyatt as the Senior Editor, webmaster, and distribution manager; and his granddaughter, Angela D. Wyatt, as the Executive Business Operations Manager, columnist, and photographer. Unfortunately, Angela passed away in 2021, but she is still listed as a staff member as an honor to her memory. Also on the staff is John Harris, Jr., the sports columnist.

T.L. Wyatt, Founder of The Villager and Black Registry Publishing Company

T.L. Wyatt was also a founding member of the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce, then named the Capital City African American Chamber of Commerce (CCAACC). He and ten other prominent Black leaders in Austin formed the Chamber to bring awareness to the enormous amount of dollars generated from Black consumers in the form of travel and tourism with the goal of providing economic prosperity for African-American businesses and the general Greater Austin region.

This perfectly aligned with the work being done by The Villager, whose goal was to shed light on the positive press of Black Austin, as opposed to the negative information being spread by other news outlets. Birthed from Wyatt’s Black Registry, an annual directory listing Black owned businesses in Austin, The Villager came to be because of the registry recipients demanding more frequent publication.

Having covered stories like the Trayvon Martin case and the local protests following the murder of George Floyd, The Villager not only shares the good news of Black Austin, but also the national news that Black Austin needs to know. Also, because of the success and popularity of the publication, many politicians seeking the Black vote often seek endorsements from the newspaper.

To this day, The Villager remains the longest running Black community newspaper in Austin and one of the top advertising opportunities for local Black owned businesses, being distributed in local H-E-B stores, churches, and businesses in Austin and its surrounding cities. Plus, with the publications being available online now as well, the growth opportunities are limitless for this historic newspaper. soulciti enjoyed celebrating The Villager’s 45th anniversary in 2018. We congratulate and thank The Villager for paving the way for Black news outlets like us and can’t wait to celebrate their 100 year anniversary in the future.

For more information on The Villager and its history, visit their website.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *