What was Chicago’s first black newspaper?

The Conservator was the first black newspaper published in Chicago, in 1878. Richard H. De Baptiste (1831–1901), who was pastor of Chicago’s Olivet Baptist Church, assumed editorial control later that year. In the year that he headed the paper, he expanded circulation to reach the masses. He also became corresponding editor of the Western Herald, the short-lived Saint Louis Monitor, and the Brooklyn Monitor. De Baptiste was born into a prominent family in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Before joining the ministry, he was a bricklayer and plasterer. He moved to Detroit and later taught in Ohio. He was ordained in Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Ohio in the late 1850s. From 1863 to 1882 he headed Olivet Baptist Church in Chicago. He later was elected president of the American Baptist Association, the first national black Baptist association in the country. He was elected president of the white Baptist Free Mission Society in 1870.


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