African American Press

Topics: African American, African American newspapers, American Civil War Pages: 4 (1604 words) Published: September 23, 2013
“We wish to plead our own cause. Too long have others spoken for us. Too long has the public been deceived by misrepresentation of things which concerns us dearly,” written on the front page of the first African-American owned newspaper, Freedom’s Journal. Freedom’s Journal was published on March 16, 1827 by a group of free African-American men in New York City. Freedom’s Journal was published the same year slavery was abolished in New York and was used to counter racist commentary published in the mainstream press. Samuel E. Cornish and John B. Russwurm served, respectively, as its senior and junior editors where they worked together to publish four-page, four-column weekly newspapers. Though The Freedom’s Journal was not the first African-American paper published, it was the first Africa-American owned newspaper. Freedom’s Journal consisted of news on current events, anecdotes, editorials and used to address contemporary issues such as denouncing slavery, advocating for black people’s political rights, the right to vote, and speaking out about lynching. Cornish and Russwurm desire were to give African-Americans the freedom to voice their thoughts, ideas and opinions. They sought to improve conditions for more than 300,000 newly freed men and women living in the North. They fulfilled this desire, by employing 14 to 44 agents each year to collect subscriptions. Each agent was paid $3 a year for their work. To encourage black achievements Freedom’s Journal featured biographies of celebrated black figures and continued to promote better living conditions by printing schools that were open to blacks, job offering and housing listings. Freedom’s Journal, eventually, circulated 11 states, the District of Columbia, Haiti, Europe and Canada before ceasing publications in 1829. During that time, Russwurm became the sole editor of Freedom’s Journal, after Cornish resigned in 1827. Russwurm began to promote the Colonization Movement which was frowned upon...
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