"Most Powerful Pages on the Planet"
Black History Special Edition
FEB 16, 2009
Volume 2 - No. 5
Darwin Campbell, Executive Publisher
A Weekly Publication
Saluting The Heroes of Free Black Press
LoneStarPowerPages Connects To The Powers From Our Past
"The people must know before they can act, and there is no educator to compare with the (Black) press." - Ida B. Wells
Freedom of Speech is one of the most disrespected, ignored and unsung elements that has shaped Black History in America.
It it the power of real Black press that has made the difference in the lives of Black people by providing a strong voice, challenging the powers that be to face the honest truth about issues and shining the light on injustices and abuses that have limited Black voice and freedoms.
None of these great heroes of old were scared of lost revenues, none sold out and neither bent to the pressures, whims and political correctness of the age.
The success of President Barak Obama could not have been possible in our age without the indomitable sprit and persistence of real Black journalists who persisted in their messages and demands for equality, freedom and justice and fought to ensure that the powers that be respected African-American heritage and changed the way White America looked at Black Americans.
No one is responsible for being keepers of our own history except us. Historic Black newspapers did not focus exhaustively on entertainment, celebrities and material wealth.
These heroes laid the groundwork for showing us what news is in the Black community, how to focus on what is important to Black people and the community and demonstrated the value of keeping Black history alive from generation to generation.
Today that focus must not be forgotten because many of the same challenges of justice, fairness, equality and abuses remain constant obstacles to Blacks in America.
True Black journalists and Black press must not lose the vigor, spirit, courage and desire to report present the truth through Black eyes, share the plight and struggles of Black America and demand the kind of changes that bring true benefits the total Black community.
True Black press continues to be the most vital element to change in America and as a black journalist and publisher I too bring attention to the need to continue to fight that fight and repeat and echo the same ageless words of these great journalistic giants.
"We wish to plead our own cause. Too long have others spoken for us."
The Freedom's Journal was the first African American owned and operated newspaper published in the United States and helped blacks become more aware of the world.
It stood tall and this group of free black men in New York City used the publication to counter attack the racist commentary published by the mainstream press of the day.
Published weekly in New York City from 16 March 1827 to 28 March 1829, the journal was edited by John Russwurm and co-editor, Samuel Cornish who contributed only through the 14 September 1827 issue. Freedom's Journal was superseded by The Rights of All, published between 1829 and 1830 by Cornish.
It sought to improve conditions by addressing Black issues for the over 300,000 newly freed black men and women living in the North.
The newspaper broadened readers' knowledge of the world by featuring articles on such countries as Haiti and Sierra Leone Freedom's Journal provided international, national, and regional information on current - events and contained cutting edge editorials declaiming slavery, lynching, and other injustices.
The Journal also published biographies of prominent African Americans and listings of births, deaths, and marriages in the African American community in New York. Freedom's Journal circulated in 11 states, the District of Columbia, Haiti, Europe, and Canada. Freedom's Journal had many articles on information such as world wide news, and many job listings, and announcements on housing, weddings, and funerals.
It provided readers with regional, national, and international news and with news that could serve to both entertain and educate.
To encourage black achievement it featured biographies of renowned black figures such as Paul Cuffee, a black Bostonian who owned a trading ship staffed by free black people, Touissant L'Ouverture and poet Phyllis Wheatley. The paper also printed school, job and housing listings.
Freedom's Journal's two-year existence, however, helped spawn other papers. By the start of the Civil War over 40 black-owned and operated papers had been established throughout the United States.
NEGRO WORLD -
"We need crusaders in journalism who will not seek to enrich themselves off the crimes and ignorance of our race, but men and women who will risk everything for the promotion of pride, self respect, love and integrity... Situated as we are, in a civilization of prejudice and contempt, it is not for us to inspire and advertise the vices of our people, but, by proper leadership, to form characters that would reflect the highest credit upon us and win the highest opinion of an observant and critical world."
- Marcus Garvey- Founder & 1st President-General UNIA-ACL, Creator & 1st Managing Editor: NEGRO WORLD
On August 17th 1918, Marcus Garvey founded The Negro World, a newspaper devoted solely to the interests of the Negro race .
Two years later he incorporated the first steamship company founded by Africans in America to be traded publicly, under the name of the Black Star.
It was to be his greatest undertaking in a most radical attempt to revolutionize the world economy with the creation of an independently viable and commercially competitive African based market The Negro World, based in Harlem New York City became the instrument of communication for this revolution.
It was a vital artery carrying a stream of consciousness to the minds and souls of Africans throughout the diasopra, at home and abroad.
Motivated by the lack of Black Press leadership and numerous negative stereotypes promoted in the media about Blacks, Garvey said.
"...In 1916, I discovered that the Negro press had no constructive policy. The news published were of all the kind that reflected the worst of the race's character in murder, adultery, robbery, etc. These crimes were announced in the papers on front pages by glaring and catchy headlines; other features played up by the papers were dancing and parlor socials of questionable intent... In 1918-19 I started the Negro World to preserve the term Negro to the race as against the desperate desire of other newspapermen to substitute the term 'colored' for the race. Nearly all the newspapers of the race had enetered into a conspiracy to taboo the term 'Negro' and popularize the term 'colored' as the proper race term. To augment this they also fostered the propaganda of bleaching out black skins to light complexions, and straightening out kinky or curly hair to meet the 'standard' of the new 'society' that was being promoted...These advertisements could also be found in any of the Negro papers published all over the country influencing the poor, unthinking masses to be dissatisified with their race and color, and to 'aspire' to look white so as to be in society. I attacked this vicious propaganda and brought down upon my head the damnation of the 'leaders' who sought to make a new race and a monkey out of the Negro."
The Negro World preached Garvey's philosophy of black consciousness, self-help, and economic independence. Each issue featured a front-page editorial penned by Garvey himself; news items covering current events, politics and the status of black people in the United States and abroad; and reports on U.N.I.A. enterprises such as the Black Star Line.
The activities of U.N.I.A. branches and divisions from Omaha, Nebraska, to Cuba, to South Africa were reported. And the paper refused all advertisements for skin lighteners and hair straighteners, which were a mainstay of the advertising pages of most African American newspapers.
Fearing the influence of Garvey's call for independence, European colonial powers banned The Negro World in many parts of Africa and the Caribbean; however, it continued to be distributed clandestinely by black seamen, students, and others.
The Negro World enjoyed a broad and influential distribution, reaching not only the entire United States but the Caribbean, Central America, Canada, Europe, and Africa.
At its peak, the publication had a circulation of 200,000 and was the most popular black newspaper in the United States.
MEMPHIS FREE SPEECH
"If this work can contribute in any way toward proving this, and at the same time arouse the conscience of the American people to a demand for justice to every citizen, and punishment by law for the lawless, I shall feel I have done my race a service."
Ida B. Wells
Ida B. Wells-Barnett (July 6, 1862-March 25, 1931) was a journalist, anti-lynching crusader and co-founder of the NAACP.
She was educated at Rust University, a high school and industrial school for former slaves established in Holly Springs in 1866, and went on to study at Fisk University.
Her earliest jobs were in the teaching field. In 1889, she became co-owner and editor of The Memphis Free Speech, an anti-segregationist newspaper based in Memphis on Beale Street where she gained gained a reputation for writing about the race issues in the United States and about racial injustice.
She took on tough issues and challenged White society with her investigative savvy and will to tell the truth and force a stubborn White society to look itself in the mirror.
Wells was not afraid to speak out against what she perceived as injustices against African Americans, especially in the school system where she worked
In 1891, she wrote a particularly poignant article for Free Speech regarding the Memphis schools. Ida knew that by law facilities for whites and blacks, though set apart by segregation, were supposed to be equal.
However, in reality, this simply was not the case. Ida berated the ill-equipped public schools for the black children and pointed out that some of the novel teachers had "little to recommend them save an illicit friendship with members of the school board." In essence, the black schools were grossly inferior to the white ones, and nothing was being done about it.
In 1892, tensions rose between the whites and the African Americans of Memphis. A grocery store owned by African Americans Thomas Moss, Calvin McDowell, and Henry Stewart, were taking a substantial amount of business away from the grocery store owned by white residents of the town.
One night, while Wells was out of town, an attack broke out ending in three white men being shot and injuried. A two sided story emerged: One stating the African Americans raped a local white women and one, less heard story, of unjust acts on the black men by the whites. Without trial, Moss, McDowell, and Stewart, were brutally murdered based on the accusations of the white residents of Memphis.
Wells was appalled by the accusations because she was friends with the three men who were lynched and knew they would not rape a woman. The three men were wrongfully killed that night as they were taken from jail by a mob of white men who proceeded to take them to an open field.
Her courage and willingness to unveil the lies told in mainstream media gave birth to investigations that revealed that most lynchings were motivated by economics and greed.
Because of the racism and injustices posed in the South, she encouraged blacks to leave Memphis, saying, "there is... only one thing left to do; save our money and leave a town which will neither protect our lives and property, nor give us a fair trial in the courts, but takes us out and murders us in cold blood when accused by white persons."
Her emphasis in the article was on the public spectacle the attacks were made, people stood around to watch as if watching a show. Many African-Americans did leave, and others organized boycotts of white-owned businesses.
As Wells had hoped for, the emigration of African Americans out of Memphis took a toll on the economic status of the city. Because of her constant complaining and nagging about the lynchings, things became very dangerous for her and her business partner.
An angry mob of whites broke into her newspaper office, broke up her presses, and vowed to kill her if she returned to Tennessee.
"I still see before me a life of toil and trials..., but, justice must be done, the truth must be told...I will not be silent." Frederick Douglass, Publisher, Abolitionist, Statesman
The North Star was an abolitionist newspaper founded in 1847 by Frederick Douglass in Rochester, New York.
The publication of the North Star was a considerable step in giving African Americans a voice in the abolitionist movement by providing an open forum for African American leaders in the community.
Douglass, a former slave and a prominent antislavery speaker and writer, gained a circulation of over 4,000 readers in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean.
Taking as its motto "Right is of no Sex — Truth is of no Color — God is the Father of us all, and we are all brethren," the North Star served as a forum not only for abolitionist views, but it also supported the feminist movement and the emancipation of other oppressed groups.
Frederick Douglass’s thoughts toward political inaction changed when he attended the National Convention of Colored Citizens, an antislavery convention in Buffalo, New York in August of 1843. One of the many speakers present at the convention was Henry Highland Garnet.
Formerly a slave in Maryland, Garnet was a Presbyterian minister in support of violent action against slaveholders. Garnets demands of independent action addressed to the American slaves would remain one of the leading issues of change for Douglass.
During the two year stay in Britain and Ireland, several of Douglass’s supporters bought his freedom and assisted with the purchase of a printing press.
With this assistance Douglass was determined to begin an African American newspaper that would engage the anti-slavery movement politically. Upon his return to the United States in March of 1847 Douglass shared his ideas of the North Star with his mentors. Ignoring the advice of the American Anti-Slavery Society, Douglass moved to Rochester, New York to publish the first edition
Douglass published the North Star until June of 1851, when Douglass and Gerrit Smith agreed to merge the North Star with the Liberty Party Paper (based out of Syracuse, New York) to form Frederick Douglass's Paper.
Douglass was able to achieve an unconstrained independence to write freely on topics that covered his analysis of the Constitution as an antislavery document, his desires for political action necessary to bring emancipation, and the support of the women’s rights’ movement.
The significance of the North Star can be viewed as a key moment in African American history in the struggle for emancipation.
Ira Berlin, an American historian, known for his research on slave history, relates the Emancipation Proclamation as the combined effort of many to end slavery, in which the slaves played the principal role.
A Record of The Darker Races (The Crisis)
"The object of this publication is to set forth those facts and arguments which show the danger of race prejudice, particularly as manifested today toward colored people. It takes its name from the fact that the editors believe that this is a critical time in the history of the advancement of men. … Finally, its editorial page will stand for the rights of men, irrespective of color or race, for the highest ideals of American democracy, and for reasonable but earnest and persistent attempts to gain these rights and realize these ideals."
The Crisis is the official magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and was founded by W.E.B. Du Bois in 1910.
For 25 years, W.E.B Du Bois worked as editor-in-chief of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) publication called " The Crisis", then subtitled A Record of the Darker Races.
The publication was a powerful political voice and boldly commented openly and freely on current events and set the agenda for the growing civil rights organization.
It addressed current affairs and also included poems, reviews, and essays on culture and history.
The journal's circulation soared from 1,000 in 1910 to more than 100,000 by 1920.
Du Bois' initial position as editor was in line with the NAACP's liberal programme of social reform and racial equality, but by the 1930s, advocated a form of black separatism.
The LoneStarPowerPages mission is to be in step with Ida B. Wells, Frederick Douglass, Marcus Garvey and W.E. B. Dubois. Russwarm, Cornish and other great Black journalism ancestors and keep alive the great traditions by maintaining this true focus and making sure we tell the truth and survive, even if we have to stand alone without support.
Black newspapers and media who are not loyal and do not stick to the traditions of the ancestors must face the reality that they no longer represent the real true issues and interests of the Black community.
The next generation will not be denied education or truth because we walked the path of many Black newspapers today who pursue selfish interests and do not seek to preserve or look out for the best interests of the Black community.
LoneStarPowerPages is committed to and will be one who will proudly carry that torch...