Last Wednesday, January 23rd, San Antonio lost another icon. Eugene E. Coleman; Publisher of THE SNAP, would of turned 98 next month. SNAP and The Register are the oldest African-American papers on the city’s east side that covered news not being picked up by mainstream San Antonio dailies. Though there have been several format shifts over the years, SNAP continued to be a weekly publication that covers San Antonio politics, social events, and current events from an African-American perspective. Alongside Mr. Eugene Coleman in the early years of publication were fellow civil rights activists G.J. Sutton and Rev. Claude W. Black.
In the early years, the publication experienced backlash due to their critical coverage of police brutality and segregation in San Antonio businesses and public facilities. When advertisers began boycotting, the magazine reached out to the community, hosting fundraising activities and supplementing sales with selling competitions among local school children. When problems arose with printers, SNAP purchased their own printing press to ensure continued publication. Threats of violence were even received by some employees, leading Coleman to employ a personal bodyguard.
Eugene Coleman, a Civil Rights and community activist, began his career as a photographer during his World War II service in the Air Force. At the time of SNAP‘s founding, Coleman was running the only black photography studio in San Antonio located in St. Paul Square. Coleman served as SNAP‘s editor, contributing articles and photographs to the publication for many years. Not only did we lose a friend but also a colleague in the continued fight for equality and justice.
On behalf of the Observer family, we extend our prayers and condolences to both the Coleman and SNAP families.