Freedom's Journal, the First U.S. African-American Owned Newspaper | Wisconsin Historical Society

Freedom's Journal, the First U.S. African-American Owned Newspaper

Freedom's Journal was the first African-American owned and operated newspaper published in the United States. Founded by Rev. Peter Williams, Jr. and other free black men in New York City, it was published weekly as a four-page, four-column newspaper, starting with the March 16, 1827 issue. Freedom's Journal circulated in 11 states, the District of Columbia, Haiti, Europe, and Canada.

Subjects contained in the journal:

  • current events of the day, with regional, national and international information
  • editorials declaiming slavery, lynching and other injustices
  • biographies of prominent African-Americans
  • vital record listings of births, deaths and marriages in the African-American New York community

Freedom's Journal Online Archive

All 103 issues of the Freedom's Journal have been digitized and posted on our website. You'll find these documents in PDF format.

Please note that our digital copies are almost illegible in many places. If we can conveniently replace our defective scans with higher quality scans in the future, we may consider posting new versions.

A much better digital version is available in Newsbank's African American Newspapers, a commercial online newspaper product available from many university libraries across the country. If you do not have access to the commercial online newspaper product, you may access our version of Freedom's Journal PDFs at these links:

Volume 1 - Freedom's Journal

Volume 1, Number 1March 16, 1827
Volume 1, Number 2March 23, 1827
Volume 1, Number 3March 30, 1827
Volume 1, Number 4April 6, 1827
Volume 1, Number 5April 18, 1827
Volume 1, Number 6April 20, 1827
Volume 1, Number 7April 27, 1827
Volume 1, Number 8May 4, 1827
Volume 1, Number 9May 11, 1827
Volume 1, Number 10May 18, 1827
Volume 1, Number 11May 25, 1827
Volume 1, Number 12June 1, 1827
Volume 1, Number 13June 8, 1827
Volume 1, Number 14June 15, 1827
Volume 1, Number 15June 22, 1827
Volume 1, Number 16June 29, 1827
Volume 1, Number 17July 6, 1827
Volume 1, Number 18July 13, 1827
Volume 1, Number 19July 20, 1827
Volume 1, Number 20July 27, 1827
Volume 1, Number 21August 3, 1827
Volume 1, Number 22August 10, 1827
Volume 1, Number 23August 17, 1827
Volume 1, Number 24August 24, 1827
Volume 1, Number 25August 31, 1827
Volume 1, Number 26September 7, 1827
Volume 1, Number 27September 14, 1827
Volume 1, Number 28September 21, 1827
Volume 1, Number 29September 28, 1827
Volume 1, Number 30October 5, 1827
Volume 1, Number 31October 12, 1827
Volume 1, Number 32October 19, 1827
Volume 1, Number 33October 26, 1827
Volume 1, Number 34November 2, 1827
Volume 1, Number 35November 9, 1827
Volume 1, Number 36November 16, 1827
Volume 1, Number 37November 23, 1827
Volume 1, Number 38November 30, 1827
Volume 1, Number 39December 7, 1827
Volume 1, Number 40December 14, 1827
Volume 1, Number 41December 21, 1827
Volume 1, Number 42January 11, 1828
Volume 1, Number 43January 18, 1828
Volume 1, Number 44January 26, 1828
Volume 1, Number 45February 1, 1828
Volume l 1, Number 46February 8, 1828
Volume 1, Number 47February 15, 1828
Volume 1, Number 48February 22, 1828
Volume 1, Number 49February 29, 1828
Volume 1, Number 50March 7, 1828
Volume 1, Number 51March 14, 1828
Volume 1, Number 52March 21, 1828
Volume 2 - Freedom's Journal
Volume 2, Number 2April 4, 1828
Volume 2, Number 3April 11, 1828
Volume 2, Number 4April 18, 1828
Volume 2, Number 5April 25, 1828
Volume 2, Number 6May 2, 1828
Volume 2, Number 7May 9, 1828
Volume 2, Number 8May 16, 1828
Volume 2, Number 9May 23, 1828
Volume 2, Number 10May 30, 1828
Volume 2, Number 11June 6, 1828
Volume 2, Number 12June 13, 1828
Volume 2, Number 13June 20, 1828
Volume 2, Number 14June 27, 1828
Volume 2, Number 15July 4, 1828
Volume 2, Number 16July 11, 1828
Volume 2, Number 17July 18, 1828
Volume 2, Number 18July 25, 1828
Volume 2, Number 19August 1, 1828
Volume 2, Number 20August 8, 1828
Volume 2, Number 21August 15, 1828
Volume 2, Number 22August 22, 1828
Volume 2, Number 23August 29, 1828
Volume 2, Number 24September 5, 1828
Volume 2, Number 25September 12, 1828
Volume 2, Number 26September 19, 1828
Volume 2, Number 27September 26, 1828
Volume 2, Number 28October 3, 1828
Volume 2, Number 29October 10, 1828
Volume 2, Number 30October 17, 1828
Volume 2, Number 31October 24, 1828
Volume 2, Number 32October 31, 1828
Volume 2, Number 33November 7, 1828
Volume 2, Number 34November 14, 1828
Volume 2, Number 35November 21, 1828
Volume 2, Number 36December 5, 1828
Volume 2, Number 37December 12, 1828
Volume 2, Number 38December 19, 1828
Volume 2, Number 39December 25, 1828
Volume 2, Number 40January 2, 1829
Volume 2, Number 41January 9, 1829
Volume 2, Number 42January 16, 1829
Volume 2, Number 43January 24, 1829
Volume 2, Number 44January 31, 1829
Volume 2, Number 45February 7, 1829
Volume 2, Number 46February 14, 1829
Volume 2, Number 47February 21, 1829
Volume 2, Number 48February 28, 1829
Volume 2, Number 49March 7, 1829
Volume 2, Number 50March 14, 1829
Volume 2, Number 51March 21, 1829
Volume 2, Number 52March 28, 1829

More About Freedom's Journal

OCLC#: 1570144
LC card #: sn83-30455

We wish to plead our own cause. Too long have others spoken for us.

Samuel Cornish and John B. Russwurm, co-editors of Freedom's Journal

Freedom's Journal, the first African-American owned and operated newspaper published in the United States, was published weekly in New York City from 1827 to 1829.

Samuel Cornish served as co-editor with John B. Russwurm between March 16, 1827 and September 14, 1827. Russwurm became sole editor of the Journal following the resignation of Cornish in September 1827.

Freedom's Journal was superseded by The Rights of All, published between 1829 and 1830 by S. E. Cornish. Learn more about history of the Journal and its editors on the PBS website.

Freedom's Journal provided international, national, and regional information on current events and contained editorials declaiming slavery, lynching, and other injustices. The Journal also published biographies of prominent African-Americans and listings of births, deaths, and marriages in the African-American New York community. Freedom's Journal circulated in 11 states, the District of Columbia, Haiti, Europe, and Canada.

The newspaper employed subscription agents. One of these, David Walker, in 1829 published the first of four articles that called for rebellion. Walker's Appeal stated that "It is no more harm for you to kill the man who is trying to kill you than it is for you to take a drink of water." This bold attack was widely read, and Walker distributed copies of his pamphlet into the South, where it was widely banned.

Learn More

Explore these organizations and resources for more information on African-American periodicals.

Have Questions?

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