​March 16, 1827: Freedom’s Journal Is Founded

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Freedom’s Journal which was the 1st African American-owned and operated newspaper in the United States, was founded on this date.

Freedom’s Journal was the 1st African-American owned and operated newspaper published in the United States. Founded by Peter Williams, Jr. and other free black men, it was published weekly in New York City gh the September 14, 1827 issue. Freedom’s Journal was superseded by The Rights of All, published between 1829 and 1830 by Cornish.

The newspaper was founded by Peter Williams, Jr. and other leading free blacks in New York City. They intended to appeal to the 300,000 free blacks in the United States, many freed after the American Revolutionary War. In New York State, for instance, the last slaves were not freed until 1827, although a gradual emancipation law was passed in 1799.

The founders selected Cornish and Russwurm as editors. Both men were activists: Cornish was the first to establish an African-American Presbyterian church and Russwurm was a member of the Haytian Emigration Society, to organize free blacks to emigrate to Haiti after its achieving independence in 1804.

According to the nineteenth-century African-American journalist, Garland Penn, Cornish and Russwurm’s objective with Freedom’s Journal was to oppose New York newspapers that attacked African Americans and encouraged slavery. For example, Mordecai Noah wrote articles that degraded African Americans; other editors also wrote articles that mocked blacks and supported slavery. The New York economy was influenced by the South and slavery; in 1822 half of its exports were cotton shipments.

Read more about the impact of the newspaper at: Daily Black History Facts

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