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The African-American Press Timeline: 1827 to 1895

The African-American Press has been a powerful vehicle in fighting social and racial injustice since its inception in 1827. 

John B. Russwurm and Samuel Cornish, freedmen in New York City, established Freedoms Journal in 1827 and began with these words We wish to plead our own cause. Although the paper was shortlived, its existence set the standard for African-American newspapers established before the 13th Amendment was passed: fight for the abolition of enslavement and fight for social reform.

Following the Civil War, this tone continued. This timeline is focused on newspapers established between 1827 and 1895 by African-American men and women. 

1827: John B. Russwurm and Samuel Cornish establish Freedom’s Journal, the first African-American newspaper.

1828: Abolitionist groups publish The African Journal in Philadelphia and the National Philanthropist in Boston. 

1839: The Palladium of Liberty is established in Columbus, Ohio. It is an African-American newspaper run by freed African-Americans.

1841: The Demosthenian Shield hits the printing press. The newspaper is the first African-American news publication in Philadelphia.

1847: Frederick Douglass and Martin Delaney establish The North Star. Published out of Rochester, NY, Douglass and Delaney serve as the editors of the newspaper which advocates for the abolition of enslavement.

1852: Following the passage of The Fugitive Slave Law in 1850, Mary Ann Shadd Cary established The Provincial Freeman.

The news publication encouraged African-Americans to emigrate to Canada.

The Christian Recorder, the African Methodist Episcopal’s newspaper, is established. To date, it is the oldest existing African-American publication in the United States. When Benjamin Tucker Tanner took over the newspaper in 1868, it became the largest African-American publication in the nation.

1855: The Mirror of the Times is published in San Francisco by Melvin Gibbs. It is the first African-American newspaper in California.

1859: Frederick Douglass establishes Douglass’ Monthly. The

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