History of African American Newspapers

February 17, 2015
Intro to Mass Comm
Written Assignment
African-American newspapers came into existence before the Civil War as an expression of abolitionist sentiment. Black newspapers were the central representation of communication of black culture. There were numerous of newspapers that operated as the channel through which black news moved at a time white America ignored everything concerning with Blacks. Once African-Americans migrated to urban areas, large cities with a significant African-American population had newspapers. Blacks problems and interests were similar but were difficult to obtain but because of such significant newspapers, they got to receive national news. According to the African-American newspapers, even though the purpose was to report news, their key motivation was to basically make a profit instead of reporting the news to people. The idea of an African-American newspaper was to give African- Americans something they can relate to. The main reason for the newspapers was to uplift the black community. Many blacks pursued to adapt to a larger society. The newspapers represented a sense of pride for the African-Americans to stick together and fight through the oppression they were under. With this being a factor, it was very beneficial for African-American newspapers to be inspired by uplifting and profiting. Because large newspapers often covered news that’s in interest to the public, it was easy to see why people of different race and ethnic groups would be interested in hearing about events from people who might see the world with the same perspective as them. Blacks ability to establish many environments and black neighborhoods in the North led to first gesture of publications.
The very first African-American newspaper was “Freedom’s Journal”. The editors were Samuel E. Cornish and John B. Russwurm. It was established the same year that slavery was abolished. The newspaper was intended to serve the African American community to pledge the racism that often appeared. Freedoms’ Journal criticized slavery and supported for black people’s political rights, the right to vote and spoke out against lynchings. This challenged racist attacks against African Americans. All the newspaper wanted to accomplish was to reach African Americans in the North and South to build a sense of black unity and pride. Freedoms’ Journal also pursued to raise African American consciousness by publishing news about the African culture. It was a powerful publication for racial uplift and distributing information about local, national and international news and with news that could serve to entertain and educate. The newspaper wanted to improve conditions for the thousands of freed black men and women. The newspaper widened readers’ knowledge of the world. Freedom’s Journal published birth and death rates, domestic news, wedding announcements and encouraged black figures accomplishments. Freedom’s Journal eventually dispersed in 11 states with advertisements starting a $.25 to $.75. Freedom’s Journal purpose was not only to defend African-Americans but it was to place great worth on the need for reading and to empower the black population and they hoped a black newspaper would be enough encouragement to intellect development among African Americans. Regardless of the newspapers two-year lifespan, Freedom’s Journal made a massive impact on African American communities. Three decades later, there were over 40 African American newspapers throughout the United States.
Another famous African American newspaper was “The North Star”. The North Star was established by Frederick Douglass in the 1800’s and developed into the most influential black antislavery paper published. His inspiration came from a reference to the directions to give runaway slaves to reach the Northern states and get them After Douglass escaped, he wanted to promote freedom for all slaves so that was his motive for creating his own newspaper. The paper got its name because slaves who escaped at night were following the North Star in the sky to be free. All the slaves aimed at one goal, which was to be free from oppression. The North Star was used not only to condemn slavery but also to fight for the freedom of women and other oppressed groups. Frederick Douglass goals were to abolish slavery in all its forms and aspects, to advance the moral and intellectual improvement of the colored people bring freedom to all enslaved people. His viewpoints toward political changed when he attended an antislavery convention.