Christopher J. Perry Sr. founded the Philadelphia Tribune in 1884 the nation’s oldest and continuously published newspaper that reflects on the African American experience.
Perry was born in Baltimore, Maryland on September 11, 1854, to parents who were free. He attended school there despite sub-standard conditions in the local segregated schools. While still very young, his family moved to Philadelphia. With a desire to continue his education Perry took night classes in the city.
At the age of fourteen, Perry discovered his love for writing. He began submitting writings for local newspapers. His articles were published and praised by educated men of the city. By 1881, he began writing for the Northern Daily, a Philadelphia newspaper and later went on to become the editor of the Colored Department for The Sunday Mercury, which was also a newspaper in Philadelphia.
In 1884, the newspaper went bankrupt, and Perry lost his job. However, that did not stop him from turning his unfortunate circumstance into something positive. He decided to open his own newspaper, the Philadelphia Tribune, which quickly took off and became one of the leading African American papers in the country. Although Perry died in 1920, ten years after his death, the Tribune had a circulation of over 20,000 and was noted as being a vehicle for social change.