- Earl "Skip" Cooper II
Legacy of the Los Angeles Sentinel
The Los Angeles Sentinel has been published by Black families since being founded in 1933. In
2023, the most influential African American-owned publication on the West Coast will celebrate
its 90th anniversary.
Throughout its existence, the Los Angeles Sentinel has been one of the most outstanding
African American publications in the nation and has done exactly what its name implies; stood as
a watchful guardian and fierce defender for the rights and freedoms of the African American
When Col. Leon H. Washington established the Sentinel, he created a weekly paper that etched
its place in the annals of African American history by serving as the drumbeat and media voice
of the Allied Organization Against Discrimination in Defense Industries, a coalition working to
force the industries to accept "Negro" workers following WWII.
The Sentinel, along with churches, spread the word about the slogan-of-a-movement and word-
of-the-day, "Don't Shop Where You Can't Work." The resultant protest movement led to breaking down walls of economic discrimination in the mass transit and telecommunications
industries in Los Angeles. Decades later, the L.A. Sentinel remains on the front lines of
advocating for freedom, justice and all things promised by the America that African Americans
did more than their share to build.
The venerable publication has maintained and grown thanks to the stewardship of owners
following the death of Col. Washington in 1974. His wife Ruth published the Sentinel until her
passing in 1990. Attorney Kenneth R. Thomas and his wife, Jennifer Thomas, purchased the
newspaper in 1983. In 2004, Mrs. Thomas asked Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. to purchase the
newspaper and he accepted.
Bakewell, Sr., is a successful real estate developer, businessman, philanthropist, community
leader, and civil rights activist. Under his nearly two decades of leadership, the Sentinel brand
has expanded to include the Taste of Soul Family Festival, now in its 18th year, and the second
annual “Power, Leadership and Influence of the Black Woman” awards. Bakewell also brokered
the purchase of the L.A. Watts Times newspaper in 2008.
As the executive publisher, chairman, and chief executive officer, Bakewell has led the Sentinel
through the tough transition from paper to digital online, while stabilizing, retaining, and
increasing a consumer base. It is an institution that African Americans have continued to benefit
from the great vision and leadership of Mr. Danny J. Bakewell, Sr.
The Earl Skip Cooper Foundation salutes Mr. Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., for his outstanding life
commitment, leadership, vision, and entrepreneurial success.
Earl ‘Skip’ Cooper, II
Founder, Earl Skip Cooper Foundation