The First Step Towards a Collective Black Consciousness
This article examines the first newspaper operated, published, and distributed by free blacks in the United States during the first half of the nineteenth century, Freedom’s Journal. Despite being active for merely two years, the New York-based periodical managed to unite African Americans across different states by becoming their mouthpiece. The first part of the article examines well-established historical facts including information about the editors, the readership, and the methods of distribution. The second part examines changes brought to the journalistic field by African Americans, while part three analyzes excerpts from a debate between proponents of the colonization movement, and their African American opponents. The final part discusses why the periodical ceased publishing, the importance of the method of distribution, and how the paper may have impacted subsequent black rights movements. Finally, an assessment is given as to how periodicals like Freedom’s Journal may influence the present and the future.
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