In March of 1827 the nation's first black newspaper appeared in New York City--to counter attacks on blacks by the city's other papers. From this signal event, The African American Newspaper traces the evolution of the black newspaper--and its ultimate decline--for more than 160 years until the end of the twentieth century.
The book chronicles the growth of the black press into a powerful and effective national voice for African Americans during the period from 1910 to 1950--a period that proved critical to the formation and gathering strength of the civil rights movement that emerged so forcefully in the following decades. In particular, author Patrick S. Washburn explores how the Pittsburgh Courier and the Chicago Defender led the way as the two most influential black newspapers in U.S. history, effectively setting the stage for the civil rights movement's successes. Washburn also examines the numerous reasons for the enormous decline of black newspapers in influence and circulation in the decades immediately following World War II. His book documents as never before how the press's singular accomplishments provide a unique record of all areas of black history and a significant and shaping affect on the black experience in America.
Freedom's Champion: Elijah Lovejoy
Elijah Lovejoy. Revised by Paul Simon. Foreword by Clarence Page Southern Illinois University Press, 1994 Library of Congress F549.A4L72 1994 | Dewey Decimal 973.5092
In this revised edition of his earlier biography, Paul Simon provides an inspiring account of the life and work of Elijah Lovejoy, an avid abolitionist in the 1830s and the first martyr to freedom of the press in the United States.
Lovejoy was a native New Englander, the son of a Congregational minister. He came to the Midwest in 1827 in pursuit of a teaching career and succeeded in running his own school for two years in St. Louis. Teaching failed to challenge Lovejoy, however, so he bought a half interest in the St. Louis Times and became its editor. In 1832, after experiencing a religious conversion, he returned east to study for the ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary. After his graduation, Lovejoy was called back to St. Louis by a group of Christian businessmen to serve as the editor of a new religious newspaper, the Observer, promoting religion, morality, and education. It was through this forum that Lovejoy took an ever stronger stance against slavery.
In the slave state of Missouri, such a view was not onlyunpopular, but in the eyes of many, criminal. As a result, Lovejoy and his family suffered repeated persecution and acts of violence from angry mobs. In July 1836, in hopes of finding a more tolerant community in a "free" state, he moved both his printing press and his family across the Mississippi River to Alton, Illinois.
The move to Alton was a fateful one. Lovejoy’s press was dismantled and thrown into the river by a mob on the night of its arrival. Lovejoy ordered a new printing press, and it, too, was destroyed eleven months later. A determined and dedicated man, Lovejoy ordered a third press, and city officials took special precautions to ensure its safety after delivery. Nevertheless, an organized and angry mob rolled this third press, still in its crate, into the river exactly one month after Lovejoy’s second press had been destroyed. A fourth press, housed in a large stone warehouse and guarded by Lovejoy and his supporters, met the same fate but only after a drunken mob had killed Lovejoy himself. He was buried two days later, 9 November 1837, on his thirty-fifth birthday. No one was ever convicted of his murder.
Rather than suppressing the abolitionist movement, Lovejoy’s death caused an eruption of antislavery activity throughout the nation. At a protest meeting in Ohio, John Brown dedicated his life to fighting slavery, and Wendell Phillips emerged from a Lovejoy protest meeting in Boston to become a leader in the antislavery fight.
Simon defines Lovejoy’s fight as a struggle for human dignity and the oppressed. He distinguishes Lovejoy as a courageous and admirable individual and his story as an important and enduring one for both the cause of freedom for the slaves and the cause of freedom of the press.
Winner, 2006 The American Lawyer Lifetime Achievement Award
On his thirty-ninth birthday in 1966, Alexander Polikoff, a volunteer ACLU attorney and partner in a Chicago law firm, met some friends to discuss a pro bono case. Over lunch, the four talked about the Chicago Housing Authority construction program. All the new public housing, it seemed, was going into black neighborhoods. If discrimination was prohibited in public schools, wasn't it also prohibited in public housing?
And so began Gautreaux v. CHA and HUD, a case that from its rocky beginnings would roll on year after year, decade after decade, carrying Polikoff and his colleagues to the nation's Supreme Court (to face then-solicitor general Robert Bork); establishing precedents for suits against the discriminatory policies of local housing authorities, often abetted by HUD; and setting the stage for a nationwide experiment aimed at ending the concentration--and racialization--of poverty through public housing. Sometimes Kafkaesque, sometimes simply inspiring, and never less than absorbing, the story of Gautreaux, told by its principal lawyer, moves with ease through local and national civil rights history, legal details, political matters, and the personal costs--and rewards--of a commitment to fairness, equality, and justice. Both the memoir of a dedicated lawyer, and the narrative of a tenacious pursuit of equality, this story--itself a critical, still-unfolding chapter in recent American history--urges us to take an essential step in ending the racial inequality that Alexis de Toqueville prophetically named America's "most formidable evil."