Serving Tennessee State University and the Nashville Community Since 1950

The Meter Began With Yette

The Meter Began With Yette


Sam Yette was a journalist, author and educator
Sam Yette was a journalist, author and educator

By Taylor Powell
Meter Managing Editor

Samuel F. Yette was born July 2, 1929 and held many titles under his belt. Yette was the first black Washington correspondent for Newsweek. In 1995, he attended journalism school at Indiana University, being only one of two black students. He was also inducted into Sigma Delta Chi, the national journalism society.

During Yette’s career, he was not only a journalist, but an author and educator who was influential to many. He covered numerous of events such as the civil rights movement, the bus boycott, the 1957 March on Washington and many others.

But before he made it to Washington, Yette attended Tennessee State University. It was here that he founded the student newspaper The Meter in 1950. This newspaper was able to educate and provide practical journalism experience to thousands of TSU students.

Yette graduated top of his class from the U.S Air Force’s fixed wire in communications. When Yette graduated, he later took his talents into many directions including teaching high school English, coaching and becoming a sportswriter for the Chattanooga Times. After two years of teaching, Yette received his first journalism assignment at Life magazine in 1956. In 1971, Yette also wrote a book which is well known “The Choice: The Issue of Black Survival in America.” He wrote the controversial book during the Vietnam era. The book was so well known and made many headlines that more than 50 colleges used the book for class reading.

“The book dealt with things they did not want people to know about at the time,” Yette told the Tennessee Tribune, which he joined as a columnist, in 1996.

On January 21, 2011, Yette passed away. In an article about his death, Michael Yette said, “He was a natural teacher, and he wanted to spread knowledge and wisdom to particularly his people to help them advance the lives of his people, and journalism was his tool of preference in doing that.”

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