Freedom’s Journal

Freedom’s Journal was the first African American owned and operated newspaper in the United States. It was first published on September 14, 1827. Peter Williams Jr. and other free African Americans in New York City founded the newspaper and their goal was to appeal to the other 300,000 African Americans in the Northern United States. The last slaves were not freed until 1827 which is when the paper was first published. Samuel Cornish and John B. Russwurm were selected as the junior and senior editors of this publication by the founders. Left: Samuel Cornish, Right: John B. Russwurm
Left: Samuel Cornish, Right: John B. Russwurm

It was important for these men to strengthen the common identity of African Americans in society with their new-found freedom. It provided the people with international, national and regional information regarding current events. The editorials opposed slavery and other injustices that African Americans regularly experienced. It was a great source of information for African Americans. It published biographies of prominent African Americans in society and listed their births, deaths and marriages. This helped to celebrate their achievements and allowed them to feel more like people instead of simply slaves who’s lives did not matter. In addition to the 11 states it reached, the newspaper also circulated to the District of Columbia, Haiti, Europe and Canada. In addition to celebrating the achievements of African Americans, it also employed 14-44 subscription agents.

This paper reflects the impact that news and media can have on a society, even as early as the 1800s. This publication allowed African Americans to have a sense of purpose after discovering their freedom. It allowed them to have an outlet to express their thoughts and feelings and celebrate each other as a community of free individuals. Read archives from this paper here.


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