Journalism

Newspapers

Who was the only early black journalist to serve a major daily?

In 1864 Thomas Morris Chester (1834–1892) became the first and only black correspondent for a major daily, the Philadelphia Press, during the Civil War. His dispatches covered the period from August 1864 through June 1865. He was previously editor of the Star of Liberia. For eight months he reported on black troop activity around Petersburg, Florida, and the Confederate capital, both before and after Richmond, Virginia, was taken. Chester was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to abolitionist parents. He studied first at Alexander High School in Monrovia, Liberia, and later at the Thetford Academy in Vermont. He read law under a Liberian lawyer, then spent three years at Middle Temple in London, England. In April 1870 he became the first black American barrister admitted to practice before English courts.



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