Natural Soul Brother - I came across this new site dedicated to the story of the original black DJs. Here's what they have to say:
Natural Soul Brother tells the story of a handful of African Americans who broke a longstanding racial barrier, and in the process invented a new cultural role: the “Dee-Jay.” These pioneers waged a tireless fight to stake out space on the airwaves, eventually rising to power as cultural heroes within black society. Bringing their culture out of the margins and into the mainstream, they defined the DJ as an evangelist with the power to carry the masses using music, words, and above all, personality.
Jive-talk, rhyme, innuendo and metaphor were the tools of their trade. These new emcees’ mastery of language set entirely new standards in radio, as evidenced by universal emulation from white and black DJs alike. Unearthing what were then known as “race records” (soon to be known as R&B), they introduced the broader society to new kinds of music that would eventually enthrall the nation. As talent agents they searched out the music for their shows, recruiting and managing new bands from their own neighborhoods. The ascendancy of black music into the mainstream is due largely to the efforts of these early DJ’s, and their influence over another until then marginalized group—the American teenager. The rest is rock n’ roll history and popular culture has never been the same.