John William Templeton is an independent publisher, producer, curator, archivist and innovator devoted to the legacy of the black press -- "We wish to plead our own cause" -- as the backbone of the global fight for freedom. Descended from a free family in western North Carolina which has continuously owned property since the 1780 Census, he was mentored at home, as a college student at Howard University and in his career by dedicated advocates for liberty and justice. In 1967, he was senior patrol leader of Boy Scout Troop 362 from St. John's Baptist Church which desegregated Camp Schiele, S.C. As a graduate research associate at UNC-Chapel Hill, he conducted oral history interviews with editors of historic black newspapers in five states. Templeton was the first editor of the Winston-Salem Chronicle, first black newspaper to win the general excellence award from the N.C. Press Association. John was the third African-American to lead a chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists at the Piedmont N.C. chapter. Pulitzer juror Raymond H. Boone selected Templeton to succeed him as editor/general manager of the Richmond AFRO-AMERICAN and Richmond Planet for its centennial in 1983. Templeton won four First Prize Merit Awards from the National Newspaper Publishers Association at the Richmond AFRO and an American Newspaper Publishers Association Research Institute Minority Fellowship. He was also selected Outstanding Alumnus of the Howard University School of Communications.
After helping L. Douglas Wilder win election as lieutenant governor of Virginia, Templeton became managing editor of the Richmond Business Journal and was promoted by American City Business Journal to make more history as editor of the San Jose Business Journal in 1987. For three decades since he has been an expert on technology enterprises and an analyst cited in such publications as the New York Society of Security Analysts newsletter; Advertising Age and AdWeek's Technology Marketing along with the IEEE-USA Today's Engineer.
He launched eAccess Corp. in 1988 to pursue content aggregation and publishing, merging the company into Zenviba Group Inc. in 2010. In 1991, Our Roots Run Deep: the Black Experience in California, Vols. 1, 1500-1900 transformed the history of the West with the sensational account of how Cortes named the area for a fictional island populated solely by black women. The ASPIRE imprint published authors Sylvia Wynter, founder of Black Studies at Stanford University; and Annalee Walker, a fifth-generation black educator, to define culturally-responsive pedagogy in collaboration with Dr. Joyce King, a member of the California state textbook adoption committee, and her husband, Dr. Hassimi O. Maiga, research professor emeritus at the University of Bamako.
Success Secrets of Black Executives in 1992 was the first book to tell the accomplishments of African-American technologists in Silicon Valley, based on monthly Black Executive Forum programs Templeton organized. Grampa Jacks Secret in 1994 was Templeton's first novel, a semi autobiographical look at nine generations of his family back to Mali in the 15th century.
The exhibition Our Roots Run Deep; the Black Experience in California shared Queen Calafia with visitors to the Historic State Capitol Museum in 1995. The exhibit travelled to the Los Angeles Central Library and the San Francisco Main Library. A follow-up exhibition California: A State of Natural Diversity was presented at the California Academy of Sciences in 1998-99.
In 1996, Templeton worked with several generations of publishers to complete Volume 2 of Our Roots Run Deep covering the period from 1900 to 1950. He reclaimed with Amy Holloway and Max Millard the morgue and personal effects of the late Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett and produced the exhibit Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett: Physician, Publisher, Politician, Prophet at the Sargent Johnson Gallery of the African-American Art & Culture Complex. With Agin Shaheed, grandson of C.C. Flint, the leader of black Los Angeles in the 19th century, he interpreted newspaper columns and other artifacts from the 1890s for volume 2. The files of the Oakland Post, founded by Thomas L. Berkeley in 1960, were an additional rich resource.
Volume 3 of Our Roots, from 1950 to the present, was researched with the help of a grant from the California Council for the :Humanities, used to conduct The Black Queen workshops at UC-Berkeley Bancroft library with David Hilliard and Ericka Huggins of the Black Panthers.
From 1994, Templeton's books were used as core curriculum materials for San Francisco Unified School's IRISE Initiative in 20 schools and in the Timbuktu Learning Center in San Diego City Schools. Using that experience, Volume 4, The Black Queen How African-Americans Put California on the Map was developed with lesson plans, bibliographies and finding aids to primary sources.
In 1998, Templeton formed the Coalition for Fair Employment in Silicon Valley with leaders of African-American professional organizations in response to the San Francisco Chronicle's Digital Divide series..The Coalition testified before the Senate and House Judiciary Committees and halted increases in guest worker visas by expanding the coalition to include the AFL-CIO, National Urban League and NAACP.
At the request of Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame members Roy Clay Sr. and Dr. Frank S. Greene, Templeton compiled Silicon Ceiling: Solutions for Closing the Digital Divide with EEO-1 forms from 300 northern California tech employers through a Freedom of information Act request from the Dept. of Labor. He also presented an exhibit Turning the Century: African-American Innovators of the Industrial Age and the New Millenium at the Tech Museum of Innovation. It led to the first 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology at the California African-American Museum in Los Angeles. The Silicon Ceiling annual report and the 50 Most Important have continued as annual events since then, providing a critically important longitudinal view of policy and equal opportunity.
With Frederick E. Jordan, then board chair of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, Templeton developed Loaded Dice: the State of Black Business, the first ever national economic study of the sector, and recommended creation of Black Business Month in August to change the brand identity. The first National Black Business Month began the tradition in August 2004. He has published 12 annual State of Black Business reports since, developing the 10 Key Factors for Black Business Success and creating the environment for black businesses to grow to 2.6 million in 2012, nine percent of all American businesses.
As an author, Templeton received the Sesquicentennial Commendation from the California Sesquicentennial Commission in 1998 and the Library Laureate in 2002 from the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, along with the Circle 7 Profile of Excellence from KGO-ABC7 in 2011 and the Human Rights Award from Church Women United in 2013 and lifetime achievement award from the Black Employees of the City and County of San Francisco in 2015.
In 2013, he was featured by the Washington Post as the first person to witness the Emancipation Proclamation on its 150th anniversary at the National Archives. The instructional television network ReUNION: Education-Arts-Heritage distills his research on pedagogy and psycho-social intervention to counteract the effects of societal racism for African-American youth since its first broadcasts in February 2012. He presented scholarly papers in 2013 on personal authencity and perceived chance of success and in 2015 on belonging as a prerequisite for success to the American Educational Research Association. He also presented peer reviewed research to the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History in 2006 and was commissioned by the Oxford University Press to write "African-Americans in The West" for the Oxford Encyclopedia of African-American History.
With San Francisco Travel, he designed the African-American Freedom Trail brochure for tourists in 2014, distributing it through the Visitor Information Center at the Powell Street Plaza and winning recogntion from the Western Area Convention and Visitors Bureaus.
A native of Statesville, N.C., where his mother Mary Elizabeth McLelland Templeton was first valedictorian of Unity High School and his father Clarence M. Templeton Jr. a Navy submariner during World War Ii, Templeton won a National Achievement Scholarship and Who's Who Among American High School Students at Statesville Senior High School. At Howard University, he entered as one of eight honors freshmen in the College of Liberal Arts, transferred to study journalism in the new School of Communications, competed in cross-country and debate, was an editor of the Hilltop newspaper, a page in the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, research assistant to the Journal of Religious Thought in the School of Religion and resident assistant at Cook Hall while graduating in three and one half years cum laude. As a copy boy at the Washington Post, he had a birds eye seat for Watergate and interned with the Center for National Security Studies under John Marks, an author of CIA and the Cult of Intelligence. His other internships included WHUR-FM and WBTV in Charlotte, N.C.
In his first job out of college, he was White House and Capitol Hill correspondent for the AFRO-AMERICAN Newspapers, covering the first proclamation of Black History Month by President Gerald Ford, uncovering a black recruiting quota by the Marine Corps and investigating the New York Public Library to cause it to build a new facility for the Schomberg Center for the Study of Black Life and Culture.
Ordained a Presbyterian ruling elder in 1982 at First United Presbyterian in Richmond, VA, he is a member of Session at St. John's Presbyterian in San Francisco and completed a three-year term as Commissioner to the Synod of the Pacific representing the Presbytery of San Francisco. The Grand Lodge of California and the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of California selected him to give the 150th anniversary sermon for the late Rev. Thomas Starr King at First :Unitarian Universalist Church to mark the abolitionist credited with keeping California in the Union during the Civil War.