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Russwurm, John Brown  

Born John Brown to a slave mother and a white American merchant father in Jamaica, he became John Russwurm when his stepmother demanded that his father acknowledge by name his paternity. Sent to Quebec for schooling, Russwurm was taken by his father to Portland, Maine, in 1812. He attended Hebron Academy in Hebron, Maine, and graduated in 1826 from Bowdoin College, one of the first black graduates of an American college. In his graduation speech he advocated the resettlement of American blacks to Haiti.

Moving to New York, New York, in 1827, Russwurm helped found Freedom's Journal with Samuel E(li) Cornish. It was the first black-owned and black-printed newspaper in the United States. The paper employed itinerant black abolitionists and urged an end to Southern slavery and Northern inequality. In February of 1829 he stopped publishing the paper and accepted a position ...

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Russwurm, John Brown  

Diane L. Barnes

John Brown Russwurm was born in Port Antonio, Jamaica, to a white merchant, John Russwurm, and an unidentified black woman. John Brown Russwurm spent his early years in Jamaica and was sent to Canada in 1807 or 1808 to obtain a formal education. In 1813 his father remarried and brought Russwurm to Maine to join his new extended family. Russwurm remained in the care of his stepmother, Susan Blanchard, even after his father's untimely death in 1815, when he began a series of short appointments as an instructor at schools in Philadelphia, Boston, and New York.

In 1826 Russwurm earned a bachelor of arts degree from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. Among his classmates were Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the future president Franklin Pierce had graduated the year before In such illustrious company Russwurm was designated to give the graduation oration In a commencement ...

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Russwurm, John Browne  

William L. Andrews

Born a slave in Jamaica, John Browne Russwurm was sent by his white father to Quebec in 1807 to go to school. In his early teens Russwurm rejoined his father in Portland, Maine, where he was given an opportunity to continue his intellectual development. In 1824, Russwurm enrolled in Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, from which he graduated in 1826 with one of the first bachelor's degrees earned by an African American in the United States.

Migrating to New York, Russwurm formed a partnership with Samuel Cornish, a black Presbyterian minister, to found a newspaper. The result of their partnership was Freedom's Journal, the first African American newspaper in the United States, launched on 16 March 1827. Freedom's Journal was offered for sale in the United States, Canada, England, and Haiti. David Walker, one of the newspaper's agents, first published his powerful Appeal in Freedom ...