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Black Press: The advent of the first African American newspapers

In the decades preceding the Civil War, the free black community in the North struggled both for freedom from racial oppression and for the freedom of their enslaved southern brethren. Black newspapers reflected these twin struggles in their own fight for survival—a fight that most black newspapers in the antebellum era lost in a relatively short time. Northern black communities were too poor to give long-term support to black newspapers or magazines; and such enterprises had no chance of existing in the South, where the population of free, literate blacks was even smaller and any opinion challenging slavery and white supremacy was quickly suppressed. Nonetheless, black journalists in the years leading up to the Civil War strove against all odds to create viable newspapers that would serve their communities, with thirty black newspapers published between 1827 and 1861. Here is a brief history of some of those papers:

Featured image credit: Freedom’s Journal 23 March 1827 vol. 1 no. 3 by John Russwurm, editor, Freedom’s Journal. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons 

Recent Comments

  1. […] Read more: Black Press: The advent of the first African American newspapers – OUPblog […]

  2. Thomas Breivogel Jr.

    Good information on a very important topic. Thank you for posting.

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