The Black Press II: African American "Firsts" in Print

Russell L. Adams, Ph.D.

The individuals identified below as "firsts" focused on Black community education via the medium of print. This list stresses the role of women in the evolution of Black journalism.

  • First monthly literary magazine for young African Americans, Joy, appeared in the 1890’s under the editorship of Amelia E. Johnson

  • First Black female newspaper owner, Charlotta Bass, California Eagle, 1912

  • First Black Socialist magazine, The Messenger: The only Radical Negro Magazine in America, edited in New York by A. Philip Randolph and Chandler Owen, 1917-1922

  • First international Black newspaper, The Negro World, 200,000 copies per issue, published by Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association, 1919-1925

  • First Black female certified war correspondent in World War II, Elizabeth B. Murphy, 1944

  • First Black female international affairs reporter, Ethel Payne of the Chicago Defender, who covered six continents and thirty countries, 1940-1950

  • First Black female reporter to cover the U.S. State Department, Alice Dunnigan, 1948

  • First Black full-time female reporter, Marvel Jackson Cooke, Daily Compass, 1950

  • First Black female editor-in-chief of a national African American newspaper, Hazel G. Garland of the Pittsburgh Courier, 1974


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May 2000