"... TO PLEAD OUR OWN CAUSE..."

Clint C. Wilson II, Ph.D

 

The following description of the founding of the Black press is excerpted from A History of the Black Press, by Armistead S. Pride and Clint C. Wilson II

". . . to plead our own cause. . ."

     When the meeting of colored leaders broke up at the home of M. Boston Crummell, a momentous decision had been made.1 They would forthwith publish a weekly newspaper, the first ever to come solely from the hands of African Americans. It would be directed to as many of the country's free persons of color -- computed by the forthcoming census to be 300,000, but generously estimated by the founding editors at half a million -- as could be reached.2

     A newspaper, the conferees reasoned, would serve to establish a dialogue among free men of color. In the drive for racial and national unity of the Negro, the newspaper would help to bring free men together in convention at a propitious time (three years away yet) to discuss their needs and plan their course. Moreover, the newspaper would give a sizeable boost to the effort to enlighten and elevate the free people of color.

     It would, thus, be strictly a Negro newspaper. It would be the Negro speaking; it would be directed to the Negro's problems, and unlike abolitionist newspapers run by whites with Black assistance, it would be Negro-owned and Negro-controlled. That meant much to the men close to the struggle in l827. Moreover, there was urgent need for a mouthpiece in replying to mounting attacks on the colored population of seaboard cities. The newspaper would be called Freedom's Journal. It would be published in New York City, scene of this historic meeting.

 

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February 2000