On this day, March 16th in the year 1872, the first African-American owned and operated newspaper in the United States of America, Freedom’s Journal was published. It was founded by Rev. Peter Williams and some black men in New York City. This was the same year slavery was abolished in New York City.
The paper was published in Mainstream Press. Samuel E. Cornish and John B. Russwurm were the editors of the paper.
The Freedom’s Journal was first published every week as a four-page and four-column newspaper. The first issue that was discussed in it were the issues surrounding that day, March 16, 1872.
They distributed the newspaper in 11 states in America including Europe, Haiti, and Canada. it contained various topics of interest.
The pages comprised news of current events, chronicles, and editorials and were used to address concurrent issues such as slavery, a concept which was conceived by members of The American Colonization Society, to banish free black people to Africa. Freedom’s Journal denounced slavery and fought for black people’s political rights, the right to vote.
Freedom’s Journal provided its readers with both local and international news that could both entertain and educate. It desired to improve conditions for the over 300,000 newly freed black men and women living in the North. The newspaper widened readers’ knowledge of the world by showing articles on various countries. As a paper of record, Freedom’s Journal published records of births, deaths, and marriages in the African-American community in New York City.
To encourage blacks, it showed several biographies of prominent black persons like Paul Cuffee, Touissant L’Ouverture, and poet Phyllis Wheatley. the newspaper also featured various jobs.
The newspaper eventually employed from 40 to 44 people. One of its commissaries, David Walker, later became the writer of David Walker’s Appeal, which labelled for slaves to fight against their masters.
The majority of the newspaper’s readers did not support the paper’s drastic shift to support colonization.
In March 1829, Freedom’s Journal stopped publication. Freedom’s Journal existed for two years. However, this helped to originate other papers. By the start of the Civil War, over 40 black-owned newspapers were established all over the United States.