Elijah Lovejoy was the son of a Congregational minister. After graduating from Waterville College, he moved to St. Louis, Missouri where he started a school before attending the Princeton Theological Seminary.
With his father as a key religious influence in his life, he continued to steer his work toward more religious uses. Elijah soon became a pastor, and he started a religious newspaper called the St. Louis Observer that advocated the abolition of slavery. His full accounts of lynchings and harassments of African Americans angered local people. In response to his 1836 account of an African American lynching, and the trial of the mob leaders, angry locals destroyed his press.
Following these events Lovejoy moved to Alton, Illinois where he joined the Anti-Slavery Society and continued to publish his works that advocated the end of slavery through the Alton Observer.
Three times Lovejoy's presses were thrown into the Mississippi River by angry mobs. On the fourth time, Lovejoy was shot and killed.
Elijah Lovejoy was America's first martyr to freedom of the press. His religious background prompted his advocation of slavery and involvement in anti-slavery societies. As he began publishing his opinions, action against his publications pushed him to start new newspapers and publish more about the advocation and issues surrounding African Americans. He was motivated by each press destroyed to continue to publish more. His advocation of abolition was expressed through his freedom of press. Lovejoy's influence triggered the continuation of advocation of reform through press and publication. In 1952, the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award was established and it is given to a member of the newspaper profession who continues the Lovejoy heritage if fearlessness and freedom.
Cameron. "Distilled History." Distilled History. Distiller History, 2013. Web. 28 Oct. 2013. Gill, B. "Elijah Parish Lovejoy...
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