The Complicated History of African-American Newspapers
Newspapers are a crucial source of information on a daily basis. They were a convenient form of communication before the advancement of technology newspaper. It provided tangible information, and one can store them for references as they were printed. The African-American newspapers were established in 1827. The anticipated civil war prompted the formation of the newspaper as a platform to air views on abolitionist sentiments. The newspapers specifically were meant to serve the African-American communities. The paper will focus on the historical establishment of African American newspapers and their core impact on African American communities.
John Russwurm and Samuel Cornish established the first periodical for African Americans called freedom’s journal. This paved the way for other newspapers like The North Star to be established. Frederick Douglas formed it. The basis of the formations also illustrated the need for African American to know their rights and fight for liberation. The meeting between Samuel and John was the birth of the freedom of expression as they wanted to have the African-American views heard they claimed: ‘Too long have others spoken for us… We wish to plead our cause.’ In the pasts, the African American communities would only use social gathering like churches in enhancing dialogue (Simmons, 2006). The mainstream media put them on blackout as they only covered their content and made the African-American communities be left behind. In fact, they would question their character and race. The publication for African-American showed the need to ”plead the cause” as they made their community counterparts aware of their freedom and fought to end enslavement and promote social equality. Additionally, it sought to be the informer to African American communities on daily occurrences that impact their lives. The news was tailored to meet the expectations of the African American citizens (Schneider, 1996).
The historical development of the African American communities saw the meetings held in 1941 on the verge to go for the standard purpose. John Sengstacke, the owner of Chicago Defender, led the black publishers in harmonizing their contents. In this way, they agreed to form one association uniting them the formation of National Negro Publishers Association which was later renamed National Newspaper Publishers Association in 1956. Current the NNP has over 200 collective newspapers in Virgin Island and the US. They have a total of over 15 million readerships. They have even diversified into digital content production. The various agencies provide real-time news using their website (Ganster, 2015).
The growth of the newspapers led to the formation of newspapers to different African American communities as they migrated to larger cities. However, the circulation of these newspapers was inconsistent. Other publications that offered general news took center stage. Arguably, the economic aspect of the newspaper meant for African Americans were solely for profit-making instead of being informative. As expressed by Simmons, (2006), the motivation behind the various newspapers for African Americans, for example, the emergence of the Pittsburgh Courier, Chicago Defender, and Detroit Tribune among other publications was established by proprietors to make profits (Simmons, 2006). Advertisements were put on the newspapers bring good revenue to the owners. Similarly, the social perspective for the establishment of the newspapers concerns the need to put the community to be united, to be proud of them, and have a firm voice in airing their views. However, the reception of the newspapers outside the African American communities increased. Nonetheless, the growth on the internet use has seen a diminished number of the readers of the newspapers. The internet tends to offer a cheaper alternative for news and advertisement slots. The publishers had the interest of the African Americans at the hearth; they felt that the southern blacks required additional information regarding their liberation. They wanted to assimilate them into the larger African American community. Additionally, during the gold rush in the 1960s, Elevator and the Pacific Appeal newspapers were founded as channels of information on liberation. The articles published only referenced African-American community. Reconstruction of the newspapers gained momentum globally, promoting the call for freedom for African-American communities as they were deemed to be oppressed by the majority communities. Further, the struggle for better pay arose. African-American wanted to be freed from oppression as they were subjected to forced labor or work under deplorable conditions (Dennis, n.d.).
Primarily, the development of mass communication as the technology advanced, more sources of news emerged. However, the newspapers are still dominant. The African American newspapers still exist despite the switch to the digital world. Ideally, it is considered professional to have newspapers as an alternative form of accessing specific content other than general content. People desire news that gives varied opinions sharing similar taught like their lens (Washburn & Medill School of Journalism, 2006). It is common in American to see various newspapers printed and purposely meant for a particular race or ethnicity. Despite the urge to receive information from different viewpoints, people desire own sources. The African-American have constricted information to meet the demands of its people. The shared culture makes them comfortable and can easily believe the printed data regardless of what other newspapers say.
Interestingly, the African-American newspapers are rich in information. The first-hand information informs the community about the history of the 1800s and their cultural life. Further, issues of the day are highlighted in a broader context. The report includes close up of congressman address, busies markets, religion, world travel and presidential address among other exciting topics of the day. Seemingly, the access to this information has seen African American rise in the political arena (Schneider, 1996). This shows consistency in undertaking the need for equality and the need to end racial discrimination. The political ideologies are often shared amongst the African-American as they believe in community values. Additionally, the newspapers informed them of their struggles in ending discrimination and fighting for liberation. The newspapers provide historical information which has been incorporated into the American education system. Notable periodicals of 1825-1995 feature significant journals that were over 170. These reviews were published in 26 states which showed the widespread use of the newspapers. The newspapers have shaped the thinking to the African-American as they make newer discoveries (Schneider, 1996).
The newspapers stood firm as they reported news not covered by other news agencies. Similarly, they celebrated the hidden contents. For example, Pittsburgh Courier helped in advancing the double ‘V” campaign in seeking blacks’ support during the WW II. Also, the “100 Facts About the Negro” done by Joel Rogers in the fight for civil and immigration rights (Schneider, 1996). The publication of the fact helped the African-Americans know more about their culture and universal values that unite them. The spirit has been passed on to future generations. It is evident that the African Americans rally behind each other whenever there is an infringement against them. The various pressing issues overwhelmed the African-American during the Missouri crisis (1819-1821). This was because of the illegal slave trade that threatened the existence of the African-Americans. It let to hatred as some whites wanted to send the Africans back t Africa despite America being their ancestral home. They tried to avoid the unholy war that was anticipated to happen (Ganster, 2015). Frequent reprints were witnessed as the African-American enjoyed other likeminded editors in ensuring newspaper was used to inform the people of the real-time happenings. The unveiling of the ‘Freedom’s Journal’ by Bacon during the winter 2003 edition showed the whites also contributed, although they were restricted to only provided content appealing to the African-American.
A broad-based approach was utilized in the publication of ‘‘Freedom Journal”. They identified discrimination against the African American population. They highlighted discrimination as a major concern due to the misleading representation of the African-American people (Dennis, n.d.). The ‘ freedom Journal’ sought to correct the wrong information fed to the African-American population as the whites had lodged immigration of the blacks. In this way, they ensured they give the maximum representation of the blacks’ affairs as the subsequent editors followed suit whenever they wrote about the African-American. According to the American National Biography Online, Campbell provided a list of the significant topics that the journal often addressed. They included legislation, job openings, notification on slaveholding states, explorers going to Africa and poetry among other issues (Ganster, 2015).
African-American showed fierce coverage of matters that affect the blacks. Recently in 2008, The Root online newspaper was launched by Donna Byrd and other editors in honoring the work of the past African-American editors. They adopted their style of writing by covering content from historical, cultural and political perspective. Additionally, the African-American community is covered majorly by airing their views and sentiments (Washburn & Medill School of Journalism, 2006). The conversation has been trending seeing how the media freedom have been on the struggle, and up to date, it has received significant support for being informative and reporting issues that affect the people. The process of the newspapers saw the increase in reporting of unbiased news illuminating the intended course. The increased specialization in creating newspaper content helps the African-American to be accepted in the society. Struggles by Johnson John and Marcus Garvey specialized on black content. This helped increase awareness of the discrimination and abuse of the African-American when accessing jobs and social amenities. Fleming Alexander published in Roanoke Tribune the essence to respect the minority groups as they are the legitimate citizens of America (Schneider, 1996).
Conclusively, the historical development of the African-American newspapers portrays the struggles the editors underwent. The fight for fairness and equality saw the need for media freedom in educating and rebuking action that was against humanity. Historical African-American newspapers are credited for their consistent coverage of content and highlighting the plights of the African-Americans who were the minority groups. Despite the absence of such publications in the modern America, they are still accessible online while others are still available. The newspapers also have helped promote culture and social values that target specific groups. The illumination of the past editors by modern editions shows the impact their work had on the lives of African-Americans and in shaping the modern media industry. The current editors have also adopted their style of writing hence making their news relevant and resourceful.
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