Tag Archives: The Colored American

Tips on Building a Household Library (1838)

In order to obtain a good library, which every family ought to have, the following directions may be observed with advantage:

  • Select a room, or at least a corner of some room, where the Bible and other books, together with inkstand and paper, shall be kept. Every house ought to have a room for retirement, prayer and study.
  • Obtain a good, convenient book case, and writing table or desk, or both. Let the dust be brushed off, daily used, and kept constantly neat and clean.
  • Whenever a book has been taken into another room for use, let it always be returned to the library for safe keeping.
  • Avoid subscribing for books, unless you feel that the book cannot be published without a subscription, and you do it either as an act of benevolence to the author, or for the purpose of doing good to the world.
  • Lay out your money carefully. Buy no books but good ones. Select the best. Seek to make, from month to month, some increase to the library. Teach your children, servants and friends, to use the books with care.
  • Admit no novels.
  • Select, in addition to religious works, books of reference, school books, scientific works, and philosophical, etc. – a few of the best productions of the best poets.
  • In all departments, get works of established and solid reputation.

By pursuing this course a few years, every farmer and mechanic can have a library which will be of great value to his children, when he is gone, as well as to himself while living.

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.


Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication: The Colored American
Date: July 7, 1838
Title: Household Libraries
Location: New York, New York


Summary of the 1840 Census in the Colored American

We have received from Washington an epitome of the census of the United States. For want of room, the insertion of the tables must be deferred – for the present we insert the following summary. Unwilling to make statements founded upon the incorrect returns of the marshals various calculations which have appeared in the newspapers from time to time, based upon them, have not been inserted. Having now the correct returns, in our future numbers, we shall proceed to make our own calculations from them so far as it respects the population – the returns of the products of the States not yet being completed.


The Bottle

A Victim and his Child in The Colored American

We occasionally find a capital police report in the St. Louis Bulletin. On a recent occasion a bloated being, named Johnson, by profession an actor, was found drunk in the streets by a good hearted sailor, who in vain attempted to win him from his vile ways and evil companions. Johnson continued to drink, until he fell to the ground like a beast, when the following scene ensued;

“Just as they were about removing the miserable wretch to prison, a little girl about eight years old, barefooted and extremely ragged, came into the room sobbing and crying most bitterly. No sooner did she see her father than she ran to him, knelt down by his side, and motioning the officer away, cried – “Don’t take away papa while he sleeps! By and by he will wake up once more and kiss me.”

The Colored AmericanIt was a sight to wring the heart of more than man to see that pure and innocent creature, with her little head bare and her white shoulder peeping out from her tattered frock, leaning with fond affection over her drunken father, as if her affection strengthened with the unworthiness of its object. At length the sailor came forward, and speaking kindly to the little girl, took her away in his arms, and wrapped her little feet carefully in the skirts of his coat. The brutish father, by this time snoring in complete and disgusting insensibility, was then taken to the guard house for the purpose of sobering him.

This morning, after manifesting some symptoms of that most dreadful of diseases – mania [ ], he seemed to regain his senses in a measure, and confessed having been drunk, “I was not,” said he, “always the miserable wretch to which drunkenness has reduced me. I once was respected by friends, and beloved by my family. But I contracted bad habits, which got so strong and old upon my nervous temperament as to make a beast of me. My business was neglected, and my wife died, I do believe of a broken heart. Since that time I have wandered around the world without end or aim, except to procure whiskey! I have yet a daughter – at least I had yesterday – a beautiful, tender creature, who still loves me, despite my unworthiness.”

At this moment the benevolent sailor entered the room, leading the little girl by the hand. He had dressed her with new and comfortable clothes, and she looked really very pretty and interesting. After learning that a small fine had been imposed upon Johnson, he immediately paid it, and leading the little girl forward, placed her in her father’s arms. The poor man wept and sobbed over her as if he had been an infant: and for our part, we do not believe there was dry eye in the room. The three left the room together, and we sincerely hope that this lesson will work a thorough reformation upon the unhappy and degraded man.”

Now, my youthful readers, was not this an affectionate, good little girl? And do you not, while you read about her love her? And will you not try to be like her, although, we presume and hope, you have not a drunken father as this little girl had?

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.

Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication: The Colored American
Date: April 11, 1840
Title: A Victim and his Child
Location: New York, New York

Son reading the Bible to his parents

The Blessing of Books

Many, who have not the advantage of wealth or high standing in society, are apt to repine at their situation; to regret that they are debarred from much refined and intellectual intercourse. But this deprivation, is, in a great measure, ideal; there is an intercourse more intelligent than of any living society whatever, the great commonwealth of letters, which knows no distinction of persons, admits of no adventitious superiority, where everything is rated at its real value, and reduced to its legitimate standard.

Whatever may have been the rank of authors, the wealth or consequence attaching to their living persons, they exact no further homage; they are entertained without expense, dismissed without ceremony; they are at once our preceptors, masters, servants; they come or go at our bidding: they speak or are dumb at our pleasure.


James W.C. Pennington

A Text Book of the Origin and History of the Colored People

This work, which we announced some time since as forth coming, is now from the press, making a volume of about 100 pages, 16 mo.

We have given the work but a hasty perusal, though an entire one, yet have been both instructed and interested in a review of it.

The work is divided into 8 chapters, each treating upon a distinct subject showing the origin of the colored people – their history – what nations famous in the history were Africans – the cause of the degradation of the Africans – that slavery on this continent did not originate in the condition of the Africans – establishing the equality of intellect among the races of men – prejudice against color, its nature, tendencies, and cure – the causes of the complexion of the colored people &c, &c.


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