Tag Archives: Freedoms Journal
John Brown Russwurm

Freedom’s Journal News Summary for February 8, 1828

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…”.

This news summary was published in the February 8, 1828 edition.

SCHOOLS — The bill making an annual State appropriation of 10,000 dollars for the Free Schools, and providing a fund for accumulation, to be devoted to the same object, has been passed by the House of Representatives of the Legislature of Rhode Island with only two dissecting votes.

DROWNED — Mr. Benjamin Ellis and his son Sewall were drowned at Plymouth, Mass. lately, by falling through the ice. The bodies were recovered a few hours after the accident occurred. Mr. Ellis has left a wife and a large number of children.

DEAF AND DUMB — An institution for the instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, has been commenced in N. Carolina; and an application has been made to congress for a grant of land.

AFRICAN SCHOOL — During the last summer an African School was kept in Portsmouth N.H. the expense of which was principally defrayed for the first time by the town. Nearly all the coloured children amounting to about 30, attended the school.

EDUCATION — Four scholarships of 1000 dollars each, are founded at Danville College. A farm is attached, to reduce by labour the expense of living. The indigent will be supported and educated without charge. Those who are able, will never pay above 20 dollars per annum.

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The Case of Somersett from Freedom’s Journal

Somerset (Somersett), a black slave, had been brought to England, in November, 1769, by his master, Mr. Charles Stewart, and in process of time left him. Stewart found an opportunity of seizing him unawares; and he was conveyed on board the Ann and Mary, Captain Knowles, in order to be carried to Jamaica, and there to be sold for a slave.

Mr. Serjeant Davy brought the case into court before Lord Mansfield on the 24th of January, but professed the cause to be of so high importance, that he requested it might be deferred till another term in order to give him time to prepare fully for its support.

This request Lord Mansfield declined granting, but fixed the hearing for that day fortnight, apprising Serjeant Davy at the same time, that “if it should come fairly to the general question, whatever the opinion of the court might be, even if they were all agreed on one side or the other, the subject was of so general and extensive concern, that, from the nature of the question, he should certainly take the opinion of all the judges upon it.

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New Slave Laws in Freedom’s Journal in 1827

Freedom’s Journal was the first African-American owned and operated newspaper published in the United States. Founded by Peter Williams, Jr. and other free black men, it was published weekly in New York City from 16 March 1827 to 28 March 1829. The journal was edited by John Russwurm and co-editor Samuel Cornish.

Freedom’s Journal provided international, national, and regional information on current events. Its editorials opposed slavery and other injustices, and also discussed current issues, such as the proposal by the American Colonization Society to resettle free blacks in Liberia, a colony established for that purpose in West Africa.

The Journal published biographies of prominent blacks, and listings of the births, deaths, and marriages in the African-American community in New York. It circulated in 11 states, the District of Columbia, Haiti, Europe, and Canada.

Happiness Of Being Flogged

The following is extracted from the Trinidad Gazette:

“We did and do declare the whip to be essential to the West Indian discipline. The COMFORT, WELFARE, and HAPPINESS of our labouring classes cannot subsist without it.”
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Pulpit Flattery and King George III

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…“.

Pulpit Flattery

One of the first acts performed by George III. after his accession to the throne, was to issue an order, prohibiting any of the clergy who should be called to preach before him from paying him any compliment in their discourses.

His Majesty was led to this from the fulsome adulation which Dr. Thomas Wilson, prebendary of Westminster, thought proper to deliver in the chapel royal; and for which, instead of thanks, he received from his royal auditor a pointed reprimand, his Majesty observing, “that he came to chapel to hear the praises of God, and not his own.”

The circumstance operated wonderfully on the reverent orator, as from that moment he became a flaming patriot.

Source

Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication: Freedom’s Journal
Date: May 30, 1828
Title: Pulpit Flattery
Location: New York, New York

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John Brown Russwurm

Changes in Chinese Geographic Views in Freedom’s Journal

Till very lately the Chinese in their maps of the earth, set down the Celestial Empire in the middle of a large square, and dotted round it the other kingdoms of the world, supposed to be 72 in number, assigning to the latter ridiculous or contemptuous names.

One of these, for example, was Siaogin que or the Kingdom of Dwarfs, whose inhabitants they imagined to be so small as to be under the necessity of tying themselves together in bunches, to prevent their being carried away by the kites.

In 1668 the Viceroy of Canton, in a memorial to the Emperor, on the subject of the Portuguese embassy, says, ‘We find very plainly that Europe is only two little islands in the middle of the sea. With such ideas of other nations, it is not wonderful that they should consider the embassies and presents sent to them as marks of submission, and hasten to write down the donors in their maps, as tributaries of the Chinese Empire.

Published March 28, 1829
Freedom’s Journal 

The Da Ming Hun Yi Tu (Great Ming Dynasty Amalagamated Map)

The Da Ming Hun Yi Tu (Great Ming Dynasty Amalagamated Map)

Notes about Freedom’s Journal

Freedom’s Journal was the first African American owned and operated newspaper published in the United States. Published weekly in New York City from 16 March 1827 to 28 March 1829, the journal was edited by John Russwurm and co-editor, Samuel Cornish who contributed only through the 14 September 1827 issue.

Chinese Geography in Freedom's Journal

Chinese Geography in Freedom's Journal

The editors Cornish and Russwurn used Freedom’s Journal to oppose the other racist newspapers in New York City and in order to publicly protest their current treatment. They believed that these mass accounts inaccurately represented blacks in New York City and that their newspaper would be a response to the mass newspapers in NYC that distorted African-Americans. People were ignorant of the truth and they thought Freedom’s Journal might change the perception of Black’s in society. Cornish and Russwurm argued in the first issue of the freedom journal that, “Too long have others spoken for us, too long has the public been deceived by misrepresentations…”

However, Cornish and Russwurm’s objective for Freedom’s Journal did not only concern racism against African-Americans but also involved the autonomy and identity of African-Americans in society.

We have Freedom’s Journal as a complete collection covering March 16, 1827 — March 28, 1829.

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