The word “LEGACY” is defined as:
Something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.
As the historic Forward Times newspaper celebrates the 64th Anniversary since it published its first edition on January 30, 1960, it is important to recognize the rich legacy that was passed on from the original Founder/Publisher—Mr. Julius P. Carter, and his wife—Lenora “Doll” Carter.
Karen Carter Richards is not only the current Publisher/CEO of Forward Times Publishing Co., but she also has the distinction of being the daughter of the late Julius P. Carter and Lenora “Doll” Carter. After having worked for more than thirty (30) years in their family business, in various administrative and managerial positions, Karen was thrust into the leadership role and has faithfully continued the iconic legacy of her parents for over 13 years.
Since taking the reins, Karen has embraced her family’s legacy by growing and transitioning Forward Times Publishing Company into one of the nation’s leading multimedia companies.
As a second-generation publisher, Karen has creatively expanded the mission of the Forward Times by incorporating technology and developing a strong digital footprint in the market.
Karen continues to build upon her family’s rich publishing legacy, with a primary focus on ensuring the nationally award-winning newspaper—Forward Times—remains the strongest information vehicle and most trusted voice for African Americans in the city of Houston, throughout the southern region, and across the country.
Karen states that she is working every day to honor the legacy of her parents.
“Forward Times was the vision of my father Julius Carter,” said Carter Richards. “He launched that vision January 30, 1960, in his garage. He led the business until his death January 18, 1971. My mother Lenora Carter succeeded him until her death in April 2010. My father, the visionary, has been gone 53 years and by God’s grace we are still here celebrating 64 years in business. I am grateful for our Forward Times family and to all of those who have worked at Forward Times throughout these 64 years.”
Yes, it is because of the innovative outlook and bold vision of the late Julius P. Carter, and the tenacity and leadership of Lenora “Doll’ Carter, that the Forward Times has been able to sustain and celebrate 64 years in business. Without that solid foundation, given to her by two trailblazing parents and mentors, Karen would not be able to continue her family’s legacy of NEVER missing a week of print and being a six-decades old, sustainable Black business in this country.
Julius P. Carter believed that Houston needed a newspaper that positively reflected the African American community, so in 1955, he started cultivating his vision.
After sharing his vision to a group of friends in 1955, Julius P. Carter chose to invest all of his available dollars from his successful cigarette vending business and put it towards purchasing the equipment he needed to print his first tabloid-sized publication.
Julius P. Carter had a plan to print a publication that featured only photos and positive stories about Black Houstonians in his first edition, while also planning to report the hard truths about what was happening in our communities on the local, state, and national level.
Julius P. Carter successfully ran the Forward Times from 1960 to 1971, and periodically offered hard-hitting, in-your face editorials and commentary in his publication.
In 1971, Julius P. Carter died of a massive heart attack, and upon his death, Mr. Carter’s wife—Lenora “Doll” Carter took over the family business and focused on expanding the family legacy. Lenora “Doll” Carter was more than ready to lead, as she was prepared in her role as General Manager and Advertising Director to become the successor of Julius P. Carter.
Affectionately known as “Doll” Carter, Lenora “Doll” Carter took the helm as Publisher and Editor of the Forward Times newspaper at the age of 29. She also became the CEO of Forward Times Publishing Company, while raising two little girls (9 and 11) as a widow.
Lenora “Doll” Carter was responsible for helping the parent company—Forward Times Publishing Co.—make major strides in the publishing industry across the country, as she purchased an 8-Unit Goss press with the capability of printing two color newspaper jobs at one time, giving the Forward Times Publishing Company a significant edge in the regional market.
“Doll” Carter was responsible for the day-to-day operations, as well as establishing the Forward Times as one of the only publishing companies in the country to own its own printing press. Not only that, but she was also responsible for maintaining and securing clients who owned other major newspapers and magazines in the region, with one of those clients being the University of Houston Daily Cougar, to which Forward Times Publishing Co. printed their newspaper every single day for over 28 years. Forward Times celebrated over 50 years in business under Lenora “Doll” Carter’s stellar vision and leadership from 1971 until her untimely death in April of 2010.
Now, Karen is continuing the Forward Times family legacy, and is including her children as part of that valiant effort.
Chelsea Lenora White, granddaughter of Julius P. Carter and Lenora Carter, was recently named the Associate Publisher of Forward Times—making her a third-generational publisher.
Chelsea Lenora truly understands the importance of the Black Press and has been consistently onboarding fresh talent across Forward Times’ Editorial and digital spaces. Through her musical career (she is also a recording artist) and insight from her mother, Karen Carter Richards, she is dedicated to the continued legacy and evolution of Forward Times.
As a part of that evolution, this year, Forward Times welcomes a partnership with The Eli Group—a Black woman-owned communications firm based in Houston, TX—and looks forward to propelling its digital presence to new heights. With the recent Eli Group alliance, they hope to serve an even broader audience through innovative storytelling and community engagement.
The Forward Times has authorized the Gregory School to pursue grants to fund the digitization of the Forward Times archives so the articles, photos, and content that have been published in the Forward Times over the past six decades will soon be accessible at The African American Library at The Gregory School.
The rest, as they say, is history. A legacy continued.
Please join us in wishing the historic Forward Times newspaper a joyous and extremely happy 64th Anniversary, and a fun-filled journey on its way to a 65-year celebration in 2025.