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date: 20 February 2020

Black Presslocked

  • Hayward Woody Farrar


The oppressed black communities of the antebellum North produced a variety of published materials. Benjamin Banneker's almanac was one of the earliest black periodicals. In the years preceding the advent in 1827 of the first black newspaper, Freedom's Journal, African American activists and orators published pamphlets protesting slavery and racial segregation, exclusion, and disfranchisement. Black pamphlets were prototypical media platforms for the public protest that black newspapers would later embody.

Among the most important pamphlets of the era was A Narrative of the Proceedings of the Black People, during the Late Awful Calamity in Philadelphia, published by Absalom Jones and Richard Allen in 1794. In the pamphlet Jones and Allen, prominent African American community leaders and the founders of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, praised the conduct of Philadelphia's black community during a cholera epidemic and thus countered charges of looting and pilfering. Prince Hall ...

A version of this article originally appeared in The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619–1895.

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