Controlling Your Own Narrative: The Story of America’s First Black Newspaper

Allowing others to control our narrative has been a huge problem in the Black community. However, that wasn’t an issue for John Russwurm and Samuel Cornish, two free black men who took matters into their own hands. In 1827, they established the first ever African American newspaper “Freedom’s Journal”. Creating the newspaper was a response to the white publications at the time who openly supported slavery and racial bias.


The newspaper included domestic news, editorials, births, and deaths in the African American community, advertisements, biographies and more. The newspaper finally came to an end when both owners began to have disagreements about the direction of the newspaper. Even though the freedom Journal only lasted until 1829, the effects of the newspaper sent ripples through the black community. Three decades later there were over 40 black-owned and operated newspapers throughout the United States. Even today you can find remanence of that era with publications such as the Los Angelos Sentinal, Chicago Defender, The Washington Afro, and many others.






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