African-American Press

What has been the focus of the black press in the United States?

The black press in America began in 1827; from then until the Civil War, it was one of many leaders against racial injustice. Black journalism has demonstrated from the outset a near total commitment to the cause of racial equality. Some claim that the early black press was not exclusively aimed at black audiences. If this is true, it follows that the older press was protest-oriented with a focus on slavery, lynching, and the overall brutal treatment of African-American men, women, and children. Much later the black press, particularly newspapers, focused on local news. Discrimination in housing and employment, and police brutality were among the common themes discussed. In time, however, the black press carried information of national interest. The national newspapers began to resemble large urban dailies more than the urban weeklies that they were. Like mainstream papers today, black newspapers and magazines have had a high mortality rate.


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