I was a columnist at a major American newspaper nine years before three black East Coast columnists brought "the idea that a group of black columnists would come together to share our common experience and probe the soft underbelly of our craft" to fruition in 1992.
By the time these three men had formed The Trotter Group, I was no longer writing a signed, op-ed column for the Chicago Tribune but had moved on to a post as a department head at WBBM-TV and the executive director and host of Common Ground, a public affairs TV talk show.
Five years ago, I was back in print, writing a signed, op-ed page column for the Chicago Sun-Times. It was during that time that I became a member of The Trotter Group.
I've gone into my ancient history because of current events that are still unfolding.
Ten members of The Trotter Group met in the White House with President Barack Obama and other key staff a few days ago. I only learned of the meeting after fellow Trotter, Robin Washington, the editor and a columnist at the Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune--with whom Obama spent a better part of a day for an interview 20 years ago, even cutting class at Harvard Law--sent me an angry Facebook message questioning how certain Trotters were selected to attend the meeting and others were not. While I didn't receive an invitation at all, other Trotters were invited then dis-invited. As a result, travel plans had to be changed and there was considerable explaining to do to the editors who had signed off on the trips to the White House.
So far, the aftermath has fallen just short of that old axiom: Hell has no fury like a columnist scorned. But just barely.
There has been a flurry of emails between Trotters criticizing the selection process. Trotter member Faye Anderson (no relation), didn't write about it on her blog, Anderson@Large but did discuss it on her Facebook page. Under the headline, Did White House Decide Who Represents Trotter Group?, Trotter member Richard Prince brought the controversy to light in his Journal-isms column.
And, of course, I've just written about it, here, on my political blog. This may be the end of the story. Then again, it may not be.