Tag Archives: African American Newspapers
George_P.A._Healy_-_John_Quincy_Adams_-_Google_Art_Project

John Quincy Adams and the Winnebagoes

Although Freedom’s Journal lived a relatively short life, it is important in that it was the first American newspaper written by blacks for blacks. From the beginning the editors felt, “…that a paper devoted to the dissemination of useful knowledge among our brethren, and to their moral and religious improvement, must meet with the cordial approbation of every friend to humanity…“.

Freedom’s Journal often included reprints from other newspapers like the one shown here.

The Winnebagoes at the Capital

The interview between the Winnebagoes and President John Quincy Adams is described very handsomely by a correspondent of the National Intelligencer. The address of the old Chief to the President is highly poetical. We copy as much of the article as our columns will admit.

An old chief stepped forth into the centre of the room, with a long uncouth pipe in his hand, which after a brief ceremonial not precisely intelligible, he brought near the President and waved over his head. It was the calumet of peace. Holding it then before him, and pointing to it, he began an harangue in low guttural tones, accompanied with much earnest gesture. He spoke in short paragraphs an Indian half blood reporting them in French, and a second interpreter conveying them in English.

“Father, I am glad to see you. I hold out the pipe, and I take your hand in friendship.

“Father, a cloud has been between us. It was thick and black. I thought once it would never be removed. But now I see your face. It looks upon me pleasantly.

“Father, a long way stretched between us. – There were these who told me it was blocked up. – They said the Red Men could not pass it. I attempted it. It is like the plain path which conducts to the Great Spirit.

“Father, when I came in sight of your home, it looked white and beautiful. My heart rejoiced. – I thought now I should talk with you.

“Father, the Great Spirit gave to his children, the Winnebagoes, a pleasant plant. It is good to smoke. I have it here,” – touching with his finger the bowl of the pipe – ‘I give it you in peace.’

“Father I am as old as you. My heart is true. They told me your heart was black. It is not so. We salute in friendship.

“Father, I say no more. My talk is little. I am a chief among my people. But one is here who will speak to you soon, and tell you better our thoughts.”

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.

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January Webinars

January Webinar Registration is Open

Learn how our databases can help your organization by attending a free webinar presentation. Learn about the latest content developments in our collections of 18th and 19th century books, periodicals, and newspapers.

This month we are hosting four thirty-minute webinars on two topics:

American County Histories

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2016 at 10am EST
Thursday, Jan 21, 2016 at 1pm EST

Black History/Abolition Collections

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2016 at 10am EST
Thursday, Jan 28, 2016 at 1pm EST

It’s a great idea to have multiple attendees participate so they can experience it first-hand and discuss next steps as a team.

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L0030517 Ephemera Collection, promoting temperance

The Danger of Drunkenness

On March 16, 1827 Samuel E. Cornish (1795-1858) and John Brown Russwurm (1799-1851), both well-educated clergymen, began to edit and publish Freedom’s Journal in New York City. Although Freedom’s Journal lived a relatively short life, it is important in that it was the first American newspaper written by blacks for blacks.

Remarkable Facts

It appears from an official statement, that of the 623 adult persons admitted into the Baltimore Almshouse during the year ending April, 1826, five hundred and fifty four were positively ascertained to have been reduced to the necessity of being placed there by DRUNKENNESS; and it is believed that a considerable portion of the remaining 69, were likewise reduced to the same necessity, either remotely of directly by the same cause; in addition to which it could be further remarked, that of the great number of children who are always in the House, scarce an instance occurs of one being placed there, who has not been reduced to that necessity, by the intemperance either of one or both of its parents.

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: Freedom’s Journal, March 23, 1827


Christiana-Tragedy

A Slave’s Allegiance to America

In discussing the indictment of colored men involved in the fatal conflict between escaped slaves and slave hunters at Christiana, the Frederick Douglass Paper said:

The basis of allegiance is protection. We owe allegiance to the government that protects us, but to the government that destroys us, we owe no allegiance. The only law which the alleged slave has a right to know anything about, is the law of nature. This is his only law.

The enactments of this government do not recognize him as a citizen, but as a thing. In the light of the law, a slave can no more commit treason than a horse or an ox can commit treason. A horse kicks out the brains of his master. Do you try the horse for treason? Then why the slave who does the same thing? You answer, because the slave is a man, and he is therefore responsible for his acts. The answer is sound.

The slave is a man, and ought not to be treated like a horse, but like a man, and his manhood is his justification for shooting down any creature who shall attempt to reduce him to the condition of a brute.

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: Frederick Douglass Paper, September 25, 1851, “Freedom’s Battle at Christiana

Image Details: African-Americans firing on slave-catchers at the home of William Parker, near Christiana, Pa., 11 Sept. 1851; slave-hunters Edward Gorsuch and his son Dickerson, of Baltimore Co., Md., were killed and wounded. Illustration from William Stiles  Underground Railroad, published in 1872.


Bibliotheca_Ulpia_04

A Short History of Libraries

This 1827 article on the value and history of libraries appeared in Washington DC’s Freedom’s Journal.  Although Freedom’s Journal lived a relatively short life, it is important in that it was the first American newspaper written by blacks for blacks. From the beginning the editors felt, “… that a paper devoted to the dissemination of useful knowledge among our brethren, and to their moral and religious improvement, must meet with the cordial approbation of every friend to humanity…“.

Libraries

Constantine crowned by Constantinople

Constantine crowned by Constantinople

Of the many efforts made by the friends of learning in different parts of the Globe, none have met with more success, nor been attended with more benefits to the community at large, than the establishment, in different cities, towns, and villages, of libraries : whether we consider them as public, social, or private. All nations appear to have been sensible of their value, whether we recall to the reader’s mind, the papyrus of the Egyptians; the parchment of the Romans; the pictures of the Peruvians, or the palm leaves of Sandwich Islanders. Many of the wealthy Romans had private libraries . Libraries were also established by several of the Emperors as Augustus, Tiberius, Vespasian, Trajan, and others. Even the cruel Domitian sent to foreign courts for the purpose of collecting and enlarging his library . In the reign of Constantine, there were no less than thirty public libraries in Rome. The most magnificent of all, was the Ulpian library, founded by Trajan.

We know little about the middle ages; between the destruction and revival of literature in Europe. It is highly probable, however, that very few were preserved by the rude tribes of Goths and Vandals, who, at that period began to overrun Europe, sparing neither age, sex nor condition. For what value could men, rude and uncultivated “as the beasts that perish” and are not, set upon the classic authors of Greece and Rome? – Plunder was all their aim, and little cared they for the most valuable manuscript of former times.

But former efforts, in former times, when books were scarce and dear, were nothing compared to the great principles now in action by the moderns. It is true, we read of the Alexandrian library, containing at the time of its accidental destruction, five hundred thousand volumes; but whether they were sheets of parchment, each composing a separate volume, is left uncertain. Of the advantages to be derived from the perusal of interesting and instructive books, we need not enlarge: we need not assure those aspiring after knowledge, that the path to Minerva’s Temple, though still with many inequalities in the road, is as open as it ever was, to those self-taught men of this and former ages, who have been the pride, not only of their native countries, but of the age in which they lived.

The extent of a library is indefinite: and rules for its formation must depend chiefly on the purpose for which it is designed. Its real and nominal value consists not in the number of the volumes, but in the goodness of the selection. An ancient sage is said to have possessed only four volumes.

But though, we, who live in the present enlightened era, need not expect such difficulties in the way in procuring books, or acquiring knowledge; we contend, that every facility should be placed before our youth, that the many moments now spent in idleness and dissipation may be employed in storing their minds with all kinds of useful knowledge, and preparing themselves for future usefulness. “Knowledge is power,” we are assured; and I need not inform our readers that were we as a community, to be judged by that standard, we should be exactly in our present condition, were not the present circumstances, beyond our control in a measure, really in the way.

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