Note: This is the sixth installment of WCBS 880’s Black History Month series. For other articles, click here.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — From broadsheets to blogs, the black press has a long history — and it all began on the island of Manhattan.

Freedom’s Journal, the first black-owned newspaper in the United States, was founded in 1827 in New York City by two free blacks, John Russwurm and Samuel Cornish, WCBS 880’s Jane Tillman Irving noted.

“We wish to plead our own cause,” the first issue read. “Too long have others spoken for us.”

Russworm was one of the first black graduates of an American college — Bowdoin College in Maine, where one of his classmates was Nathaniel Hawthorne.

While New York had the nation’s largest free black population, it also had some of the most virulent pro-slavery newspapers and attitudes.

Freedom’s Journal established the mission of the black press, which continues to today’s publications.


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