Governor John Brown Russwurm (1799-1851) and pioneering Journalist Samuel Cornish (1795-1858) are the fathers and the sole creators of, ‘African American Journalism,’ which first began on March 16, 1827.

Now if you recall from your history books, and from my, ‘Black Dispatches And The American Civil War,’ news articles; 1827 was a time when slavery was still the law of the United States of America since slavery did not end in America until Confederate General Robert E. Lee decided to surrender to Republican General Ulysses S. Grant, which is what effectively ended the American Civil War on May 9, 1865 while simultaneously giving birth to the 1865 Galveston, Texas, ‘Juneteenth Independence Day Celebration,’ that’s still being actively observed by the African American communities within the United States of America and worldwide since African Americans in Texas were intentionally kept in slavery and forced to work for free, and beyond the January 1, 1863 signing of the, ‘Emancipation Proclamation,’ which is also known as the, ‘Proclamation 95 Executive Order,’ that effectively freed the Southern slaves prior to the passage of the 13th Amendment by the Senate on April 8, 1864, and by the House on January 31, 1865.

The signing of ‘Proclamation 95’ by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, also freed the Southern slaves prior to the ratification of the 13th Amendment by the required number of states on December 6, 1865.

The signing of the ‘Emancipation Proclamation’ by the Republican President Abraham Lincoln, who was also the undisputed leader of the Union on January 1, 1863, also freed the Southern slaves prior to the proclamation of adoption, which was made by Secretary of State William H. Seward on December 18, 1865.   

But, what was life like for some African Americans in the year 1795, and prior to the signing of ‘Proclamation 95’ and the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, and why isn’t this particular subject required reading for all American schools of journalism?

Samuel Cornish was a, ‘Free Born Black,’ and an Abolitionist, and a Presbyterian minister, and a pioneering Journalist, and an Editor, and a Business Owner, who was born to two free born black parents in Sussex County, Delaware in the year 1795, and prior to being raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and also in New York City, New York, which had been the unrivaled domain of the popular white journalist Mordecai Noah, who had been writing news articles for the ‘New York Enquirer’ in the year 1827.

Mordecai Noah had made it his business to denigrate the free born blacks that he had been writing about in his news articles even though a great percentage of the free born blacks in his immediate area, and throughout the country, were indeed descended from the ‘Black Jews’ or ‘Israelites’ that had been stolen from the soil of Western Africa where they had been worshipping their Hebrew God ‘Jehovah’ prior to the start of Chattel Slavery, and the atrocious American Slave System, that President Abraham Lincoln, and the United States Congress, and the states would eventually abolish with the presidential signing on February 1, 1865, and with the April 8, 1864, and the January 31, 1865 passage, and with the December 6, 1865 ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

But, what was life like for some African Americans prior to the advent of, ‘African American Journalism,’ in the year 1827, and prior to the signing of ‘Proclamation 95’ and the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, and why isn’t this particular subject  required reading for all American schools of journalism?

The ‘Antebellum South’ continued to enslave and to murder and to torture and to rape the human beings from Africa while the white journalists continued to cover for them by normalizing their repugnant behavior, which had often manifested itself on Sundays, and prior to Governor John Brown Russwurm being born into the world as a, ‘Free Born Black.’

The free born status of Governor John Brown Russwurm would serve to open the eyes of thousands of Americans since he was not born in the United States of America, but would eventually become the second African American to earn a college degree from a prestigious American institution while his fellow African Americans were still being brutalized and raped and murdered and tortured and enslaved in certain parts of the United States of America while he was graduating from college in the year 1826.

But, what was life like for some African Americans in the year 1799, and prior to the signing of ‘Proclamation 95’ and the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, and why isn’t this particular subject required reading for all American schools of journalism?

The United States was experiencing an ongoing runaway slave issue as well as a number of spontaneous slave revolts while recovering from the societal and structural damage that had come to America as a direct result of the, ‘1775 to 1783 American Revolution,’ when Governor John Brown Russwurm was born in Jamaica in the year 1799, and prior to moving to Quebec, Canada as a child where he had remained up until he decided to move to the state of Maine where he had enrolled in, ‘Bowdoin College.’

Governor Russwurm’s enrollment in classes at Bowdoin College took place shortly before he began to write term papers about the leader of the Haitian Revolution, Toussaint L’Ouverture.

The thought provoking term papers had served to stimulate many meaningful discussions amongst the students and staff prior to Governor Russwurm’s 1826 graduation speech, which had also centered on the Haitian Revolution since the Haitian Revolution is the epicenter of black resistance, as well as the birthplace for black independence from slavery.

Governor Russwurm’s passion for the truth and subsequent 1826 graduation from Bowdoin College would change the world of journalism forever since he would decide to move to New York City, New York where he would meet Samuel Cornish, who had already been living under the racially charged, and crushing arm of the ‘American Press’ which had been led in part by Mordecai Noah and the other white journalists, who had been practicing a cruel form of ‘Editorial Racism’ that can still be found in today’s journalistic climate.

The one sided world of editorial racism would soon meet its match since Governor John Brown Russwurm had long understood the role that media plays within a functioning society, and how it had already been used by the rich and by the powerful to create and to sustain a series of destructive and crushing stereotypes that were being used against the power-less, who in this case were the free born blacks that were being written about by Mordecai Noah, who had already demonstrated his overt racial bias towards the blacks in his widely read news articles that were also being read by the religious people of the day and also by law enforcement.  

The fight to bring truth and balance and justice to the existing world of journalism in 1827 would not be an easy one, however, Governor John Brown Russwurm, who was also a pioneering journalist, and Samuel Cornish were equally insightful men when they decided to take up the fight for truth and balance and justice in journalism, and having the indisputable confidence that comes along with being born free, they founded the very first owned and operated black newspaper in the United States of America on March 16, 1827.

The newspaper was called, ‘Freedom’s Journal,’ and its very first issue was a direct response to Mordecai Noah, and to the other white journalists that had also been openly practicing editorial racism in their news articles.

The rebuke and statement of ‘Journalistic Independence’ and declaration of freedom in print simply started off with the eternal words, “We wish to plead our own case.”

The ‘Independent News Media’ was created on March 16, 1827 when pioneering journalists John Brown Russwurm and Samuel Cornish wrote in an unmistakable language that could be understood by all, “Too long have others spoken for us. Too long has the publick been deceived by misrepresentation in things which concern us dearly.”

The immortal words, “We wish to plead our own case,” effectively created the world of, ‘Black Journalism’ or ‘African American Journalism’ when they were published in New York City, New York for the very first time on March 16, 1827.

The publishing of the words, “Too long have others spoken for us. Too long has the publick been deceived by misrepresentation in things which concern us dearly,” on March 16, 1827, has caused many to argue in recent days that the official ‘War On Fake News’ had actually begun on March 16, 1827, and with John Brown Russwurm and Samuel Cornish since black Americans had finally received a voice in print, and could therefore fully express themselves in a world of widely accepted ‘Journalistic Racism.’

The world at large and the world of ‘American Journalism’ would never be the same again since Freedom’s Journal was indeed an entirely ‘New’ form of media that would forever be known as , ‘Black Journalism’ or as ‘African American Journalism.’

The world of journalism was made whole on March 16, 1827 since Freedom’s Journal was an abolitionist minded four column periodical that had helped to change the debate about race, as well as the social construction of race itself, since everything that had been taught and said about race had come through the lens of the rich and the powerful, and also through the lens of white men like Mordecai Noah, who had known next to nothing about the free born blacks that he had been writing about since his great, great grandparents and his great grandparents had not been stolen from their homes in Africa and enslaved in America and forced to call ‘Jesus’ their God instead of ‘Yahweh’ who they had known from birth.

The lens of the victims of racism had been completely ignored by most news outlets, however, that would soon change in 1827 since Freedom’s Journal was printed every Friday, and had sought to instill a sense of pride within the affected African American communities that had also been reading Mordecai Noah’s editorial racism by publishing short biographies that were about the prominent blacks that wouldn’t be allowed to appear in Mordecai Noah’s news articles.

Samuel Cornish and Governor John Brown Russwurm also published black poets, and various sermons, and the births and the deaths of the blacks that were located within the local African American Communities. They also published marriage announcements and foreign and domestic news stories, and advertisements, as well as editorials that rightfully condemned slavery, and racial discrimination, and the other outlandish injustices that were being endured by African Americans while many of the white owned and operated newspapers in New York City were openly embracing and supporting slavery and racial bias against black people by being ‘Editorially Complicit’ in this crime against humanity.

The brand new form of media that Samuel Eli Cornish and Governor John Brown Russwurm had effectively created in New York City, New York on March 16, 1827, had hit the ground running since there was nothing else like it in all of the United States of America. However, in September of 1827 John Brown Russwurm became the sole editor of Freedom’s Journal shortly after Samuel Cornish unexpectedly resigned from the paper over a series of disputes that were related to the African American colonization of Africa effort, which is something that John Brown Russwurm had been promoting due to his support for, ‘The Colonization Movement,’ that was being led by the, ‘American Colonization Society,’ who had wanted to free the African American slaves while offering them the opportunity to move back to Africa after they had already been forced to build a paradise for their white slave masers, who had already raped and tortured their sons and their daughters.

The idea of leaving America to the very same whites that had already enslaved millions of black people did not sit well with the readers, who had previously remained loyal to Russwurm after Cornish abruptly left the paper due to their irreconcilable disputes over colonizing Africa.

The loyalty had come to an end and Freedom’s Journal’s support for the colonization of Africa effort would prove to be extremely unpopular with its readers, and with the unforeseen loss of subscriptions, and circulation in March of 1829, Freedom’s Journal was forced to cease operations shortly before John Brown Russwurm decided to move to Liberia, Africa, which is the area in Western Africa that was established by the American Colonization Society for the blacks that they were able to recruit in America prior to the move back to Africa, and far away from the country that had wronged them.

The new arrivals eventually settled in and began their new lives while John Brown Russwurm went on to become the Governor of Liberia’s Maryland Colony while his former business partner Samuel Cornish returned to publishing in 1829 and tried to re-establish Freedom’s Journal under the new name, ‘The Rights of All.’

However, the new newspaper only lasted less than a year since the readers were still upset over the colonization of Africa effort that John Brown Russwurm had championed while he was the sole editor of Freedom’s Journal.                                               

 Nathaniel Armstrong, Jr.

Cerritos, CA –

 

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