Black History 365 – The first African-American… owned-and-operated newspaper

Volume 1, no.3, 23 March 1827

Volume 1, no.3, 23 March 1827

Rev. Peter Williams, Jr.

Rev. Peter Williams, Jr.

In 2016 for my Black History 365 series, I explore the obvious and not so obvious parts of American history that those called Black have taken part in. The things that we (Black people) have done other than be stolen from our homeland and made forced labor in a land foreign to us. I’m going to start this series by looking up the first time someone African-American did something and broke the color barrier in that activity or field. I’ll be starting with Wikipedia and working my way out:

I will be learning a lot of this as I go since I am a product of the standardized Euro/Anglo/Caucasian leaning public school system. I hope you enjoy learning with me. I’ll be going down the list chronologically as it appears in the Wikipedia article.

If you have any other sources or additional information for this topic, please share in the comments. I also welcome any and all comments and discussion. Thanks for reading!

For my tenth entry this year:

1827:  First African-American owned-and-operated newspaper: Freedom’s Journal

Freedom’s Journal was the first African-American owned and operated newspaper published in the United States. Founded by Rev. Peter Williams, Jr. and other free black men in New York City, it was published weekly starting with the 14 September 1827 issue. Freedom’s Journal was superseded in 1829 by The Rights of All, published between 1829 and 1830 by Samuel Cornish, the former senior editor of the Journal.

Peter Williams, Jr. (1786–1840) was an African-American Episcopal priest, the second ordained in the United States, and abolitionist in New York City. He supported free black emigration to Haiti, the black republic that achieved independence in 1804. Later in life he strongly opposed the American Colonization Society‘s efforts to relocate free blacks to a colony in Africa.

In 1808 he organized St. Philip’s African Church, the second black Episcopal church in the United States. In 1827 he was a co-founder of Freedom’s Journal,the first African-American owned and operated newspaper in the United States. In 1833 he founded the Phoenix Society, a mutual aid society for African Americans; that year he was also elected to the executive board of the interracial American Anti-Slavery Society.


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