The Power of the Press
The first African American newspaper, Freedom’s Journal, was published in 1827. Ever since, African Americans have used the press to establish an independent voice for Black communities and advance the struggle for freedom and equality. Publishers and journalists challenged racism by exposing injustice, reporting on civil rights activism, and presenting positive images of Black identity and achievement. Black newspapers served local as well as regional and national audiences, helping to foster a sense of community and shared interests among African Americans living in different areas of the country. Publications also reflected the diversity of Black people in the United States and throughout the diaspora. Through a wide range of subjects—political issues, society news, arts and culture, religion, business, travel, and more—the Black press captured and reflected the aspirations, struggles, triumphs, and everyday experiences of Black America.
We wish to plead our own cause. Too long have others spoken for us.
Samuel Cornish and John Russwurm
Johnson Publishing Company: Image Power
From Ebony and Jet magazines to advertising and fashion, John H. Johnson’s company revolutionized how Black Americans saw themselves.