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Early Black Newspapers

             Prior to the development and institution of the Declaration of Independence, there existed a slow yet simmering sentiment concerning slavery in the United States. Several small pockets of anti-slavery groups had been formed. These groups were very opinionated concerning slavery and lobbied on behalf of enslaved and free African Americans, for equality and abolishment of slavery. The first formal abolitionist newspaper published was called the Philanthropist. It was published and edited by Charles Osborn on August 29, 1817 in Mount Pleasant, Ohio.
             Nearly ten years later, on March 30, 1827, the first Black-owned newspaper, Freedom's Journal, was established in New York City. Samuel E. Cornish, a Presbyterian preacher, and John B. Russwurm, a college graduate and abolitionist, owned the newspaper. The paper was designed to counteract anti-black sentiment, which was espoused by another local paper, The New York Enquirer. Freedom's Journal sought to instill positive images of African Americans as well as to acknowledge Black achievement. The target audience was primarily free Blacks in the North. It also sought a White audience as well, which was felt to have more influence on moral principles concerning slavery. Sadly, the Freedom's Journal (which subsequently been renamed The Rights of All) went out of business on October 9, 1829.
             William Lloyd Garrison and Isaac Knapp in Boston, Massachusetts, founded the Liberator, an abolitionist newspaper, in 1831. It ran for nearly 34 years (until December 29, 1865). Garrison was very vocal (through his newspaper) in his sentiment regarding slavery and how it affected the country. The Liberator was seen as an inflammatory medium, however it was read only by a small portion of White readers. Most if its readers were African American. Garrison continually pressed for abolition through his writings in the paper, as well as rallying boycotts against products of slavery.

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