Keeping the tradition vibrant!

JAAH’s Current Proftability

The sell outs like to give the impression that the Journal of African American History is in a financial crisis, that it is unprofitable.  And people are always ready to assume this about Negro institutions so it is never challenged.  Amazingly, no effort has been made–even on the board–to substantiate the case by looking at the financial reports of the JAAH over recent years.  Indeed, at the 101st Annual Meeting, Gilbert Smith our CPA treasurer, simply reported that the Journal only made $242.00.  He did not provide anyone with an expense-revenue report.  He mentioned only a one-time accounting change, but did not say how it affected the 2015 profitability versus previous years or what the 2016 projection of profit or loss would be.  Of course that could have been easily done by a CPA, but alas it was not.  I will post the records as I locate them.


  • Revenue versus Expenses for 2012 and 2013
    • Even after paying editorial office expenses totaling roughly $79,000 each year, the JAAH made $22k and 14k respectively.  We charged an entire office person’s time to the journal because it was doing that well.  Had we not done that we might have been forced to cut staff to save $45,000.  In which case we would have posted profits of $60,000 or more.
    • Note that the cost of “printing” which includes all of the fees from Tapestry drops by $13,000.  This is function of page count.  The thinker the journal, the more it costs, period.


  • Revenue versus Expense for 2013-2014
    • The amount of staff expenses in this final version of 2013 revenue – expense report was reduced to a more reason amount, resulting in a profit of $57,000 for 2013.
    • The revenue drop for 2014 was significant, but note that using the same percentages of staff salaries as in 2013, the profit for 2014 was reported as $33,000.
    • Given that 2015 was reported by Gilbert in 2016 as being adjusted to be $242.00 and it was a once time change in assigning revenue in a new way, then we have every reason to believe that the revenue versus expense report for 2016 should be more in line with 2016 even though there is a new assistant for the journal who makes $10K.


  • Revenue versus Expenses for 2014-2015
    • I have not received a copy of this report that should have been produced by January of 2016, the month after my presidency.
    • If anyone has a copy of the overall expense revenue report for 2015, I can easily generate it.
    • I asked Gilbert Smith for the information about how the auditors directed changes about how we assign revenue and staff salaries, but he has not cooperated.
    • Given that this effort to send the Journal of African American History to the University of Chicago, a report like the ones above are critical.  Every Executive Council member should have one and so should all the members who attend the Business Session of the annual meetings.
  • Revenue versus Expenses for 2015-2016
    • This is the report–if shared–would be the proof in the pudding about the profitability of the Journal of African American History after the accounting changes have worked their way through the reports.  Has anyone seen them?  I think not, but it should be finished by now and part of the package of documents for the February meeting.
    • The pattern is clear, as the new regime came in power and have decided to take the journal to a university press, information is not shared.