Tag Archives: African American Newspapers

Advice for People of Moderate Fortune

Lydia Maria ChildIf you are about to furnish a house, do not spend all your money, be it much or little. Do not let the beauty of this thing, and the cheapness of that, tempt you to buy unnecessary articles. Dr. Franklin’s maxim was a wise one, “Nothing is cheap which you do not want.”

Buy merely what is absolutely necessary, and let experience of your wants and your means dictate what shall be afterwards obtained. If you spend all at first, you will find you have bought many things you do not want, and omitted many you do want. Begin cautiously. As riches increase, increase in hospitality and splendor; but it is always painful and inconvenient to decrease.
After all, these things are viewed in their proper light by the judicious and respectable. Neatness, tastefulness and good sense, may be shown in the management of a small household, and the arrangement of a little furniture, as well as upon a large scale. The consideration gained by living beyond one’s income, is not actually worth the trouble it costs. The glare there is about such false, wicked parade, is deceptive; it does not, in fact, procure valuable friends or extensive influence. More than that, it is wrong, morally wrong, so far as the individual is concerned; and injurious, beyond calculation, to the interests of our country. – To what are the increasing beggary and discouraged exertions of the present day owing? A multitude of causes no doubt tend to increase the evils, but the root of the whole matter is the extravagance of all classes of people!

We never shall be prosperous, till we have sufficient moral courage to make pride and vanity yield to the dictates of honesty and prudence. We never shall be free from embarrassment till we cease to be ashamed of industry and economy! Let woman aid in the needful reformation. Let their husbands and fathers see them happy without finery; and if their friends have, as is often the case, a foolish pride in seeing them decorated, let them silently and gradually check this felling, by showing that they have better means of commanding respect. Let the exercise of ingenuity, economy and neatness prove that good taste and gentility are attainable without great expense.

– Mrs. Lydia Maria Child

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.

Source: The North Star, June 16, 1848
Photo:  Historic American Buildings Survey Arthur C. Haskell, Photographer Oct. 17, 1935 (e) INT.- WEST WALL & FIREPLACE, SITTING ROOM – Timothy Wood House, Halifax, Plymouth County, MA


Drought and Rain – Environmentalism 1866

On this subject the Boston Journal makes the following interesting remarks:

It seems to have been ascertained historically, that in countries like France, Italy, Spain, and Palestine, which have been largely cleared of woods, the annual fall of rain is less now than it was formerly. On the other hand, extensive tree planting in Egypt and Scotland have been followed by more rain yearly than was previously known in those sections.

These are certainly curious results if truly reported. They are attributed in part to the attraction of upright masses of trees for the rain clouds and to other influences not well understood. But however this may be, it is clear to the common sense of every observing man, that a country abounding in woods will retain its average fall of rain longer, and turn it to better account, than a country that is bare. In the latter the wind has a clean sweep over the whole surface, drying up and baking the soil, exhausting the springs and water courses. When the snow melts in the spring , or heavy rains fall, there is nothing to detain the water, but rushes off in sudden, destructive freshets, gullying the land and bearing away its richness.


Group of Negro women at revival meeting, La Forge, Missouri

Ladies Should Read Newspapers (1861)

This appeared in an 1861 issue of The Christian Recorder.  It is important to note that this publication was produced and sold primarily within African American society and this issue came out while it was still illegal in some places for black slaves in the south to be taught to read at all.

It is a great mistake in female education to keep a young lady’ s time and attention devoted to only the fashionable literature of the day. If you would qualify her for conversation you must give her something to talk about, give her education with the actual world and its transpiring events.

Urge her to read newspapers and become familiar with the present character and improvements of our race. History is of some importance, but the past world is dead, and we have little comparatively to do with it. Our thoughts and our concerns should be for the present world, to know what it is and improve its condition.

Let her have an intelligent conversation concerning the mental, political, and religious improvements of our time. Let the gilded annuals and poems on the centre table be kept a part of the time covered with journals. Let the family – men, women a children – read the newspapers.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.

Source:  The Christian Recorder, May 4, 1861
Image Details:  Group of women at a 1938 revival meeting, La Forge, Missouri (LOC)

Frederick Douglass

Problems with New York’s Personal Liberty Bill of 1859

Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, February 1818 – February 20, 1895) was an American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. He was editor and publisher of the Frederick Douglass Paper and Douglass’ Monthly.

This commentary appeared in the April 1859 issue of Douglass’ Monthly.

The Personal Liberty Bill

Nearly nine years after the passage by Congress of the Fugitive Slave Bill, nine years of insulting triumph on the part of the South, and shame-faced, puling submission on the part of the North, three of the free States, Vermont,Massachusetts and New York, have been roused by abolition appeals to take op the consideration of the subject whether their soil is their own, and whether their souls are their own, whether the State has eminent domain over the territory thereof, and the right to determine the status of all persons who may be within said territory.

These are grand, stirring questions. The stern Nemesis which watches over our commonwealth,is arousing the public sense to a consciousness of the fact, “for as much as ye did it unto the least of these, ye did it also unto me.” “Poor, and black, and friendless,as were the victims aimed at by the Act of Sept. 18th, 1850, yet that act pierced the heart of State sovereignty, and crushed thefree States beneath the iron heel of slavery.”

Vermont has passed her Liberty Bill, New York has under discussion, and Massachusetts will soon report and pass her Act. We have already printed the Bill now before our State Legislature. It is the same as that of Vermont down to the 6th section; we propose to examine this bill and see whether it be equal to the object it aims to compass.

“Sec. 6. Every person who may have been held as a slave, who shall come, or He brought, or be in this State with the consent of his or her alleged master or mistress, or who shall come or be brought or be in this State, shall be free.”

“Sec. 3. Whenever any person in this State shall be deprived of liberty, arrested or detained,on the ground that such person owes service or labor to another person, NOT AN INHABITANT OF THIS STATE, either party may claim a trial by jury,” &c.


Fugitive Slave Act

The Colored Man’s Perils (1837)

The following shows up to the light some of the doings and devices of wicked men, which surround people of color in northern cities. Not only slave agents and kidnappers, but black-legs in desperate circumstances, prowl about to plot our ruin.

It will be recollected, that not long since, two colored men were arrested at Utica, on a claim of being fugitive Slaves, but who afterwards effected their escape. The Rev. Geo. Storrs, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, recently met with them, in his going about, and received the story of their difficulties from their own lips. He learned various interesting facts from them – and found them to be very simple, honest-hearted persons. The following is a copy of a part of his written memorandum of their conversation, as we find it in a Union paper. The soul-catcher alluded to, passed as a “Virginia gentleman!” at the time of the investigation at Utica.

Southern Jewels

“Jewels” found at Alexandria – engraved by Samuel Curtis Upham, 1819-1885

“Harry’s own story of the matter,” says Mr. Storrs, as he told it to me was, “that the soul-catcher had tried to persuade him to get his mistress’ consent to be sold, saying – ‘Harry, if you will be sold to me, I will give you $20, and will make you rich. I go to New York sometimes, and when there, I gamble, and sometimes lose $1000 or $1500, and then I go out and kidnap some of the colored people, and then go and gamble again, and get all my money back again, and win too.”

“He wanted,” adds the paper alluded to, “to see Harry as a decoy or stool-pigeon to entice others into his snares.”

The same paper further states – “It is proper to mention, that the colored men did not runaway on the solicitations of this gentleman soul-catcher. They were left by their deceased master to his widow, during her life, and afterwards, to younger heirs. The old lady being aware that they would be sold into Louisiana as soon as she died, and not expecting to live long, as they had been favorite servants, advised them to runaway.” These facts were disclosed, by the colored men, to their counsel in Utica. So that, in truth, they came into this State with the consent of their mistress, and hence could not, legally, be pursued or retained as slaves.

Learn more about this era in our free copy of Twelve Years A Slave.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.

Source: Weekly Advocate, February 25, 1837
Top Image Source: Practical illustration of the Fugitive Slave Law