Songs Without Words

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Benjamin Pelham was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1862. While working as messenger for the Detroit Post in the early 1880s, he edited and wrote articles for an amateur newspaper called The Venture. In 1883 he and his older brother, Robert Pelham, Jr.,…

Edited jointly by Benjamin Pelham and his brother, Robert Pelham, Jr., along with William H. Anderson, Walter H. Stowers, and later Byron G. Redmond, the Plaindealer began publication in 1883. The editors sought to foster trust and promote civil…

Henry J. Lewis was born in slavery in Mississippi, sometime in the late 1830s (the exact year of his birth is unknown). He was severely burned as a child, which left him blind in one eye and crippled in his left hand. He lived much of his life in…

Moses L. Tucker was an engraver, illustrator and caricaturist from Atlanta, Georgia. Little is known of his history, but in the late 1880s and early 1890s, he produced a range of satirical cartoons for the Indianapolis Freeman. The editor, Edward E…

The Northwestern Recorder (also known as the Wisconsin Afro-American) was a short-lived monthly newspaper published in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Its first issue appeared in December 1892, and it ceased publication in March 1893.

Harry C. Smith founded the Cleveland Gazette in 1883, a year after he graduated from high school. Under his editorial control, the Gazette was a staunch advocate of African American civil rights. Smith was elected to the Ohio state legislature in…

The Cleveland Gazette was founded by journalist Harry C. Smith in 1883. Smith was a supporter of the Republican Party in Ohio, and the paper reflected his unrelenting advocacy of African American civil rights. The paper’s success was largely…

George L. Knox purchased the Indianapolis Freeman from Edward E. Cooper in 1892 and transformed the newspaper from a Democratic-leaning, independent paper into a loyal Republican Party press. Knox was well connected with the state party leadership,…

The Indianapolis Freeman was a weekly newspaper first published in 1888 by editor Edward E. Cooper. As the nation’s first illustrated African American newspaper, it was considered by the Indianapolis Journal to be the “best paper…

Edward E. Cooper was born in Florida in 1859. He founded short-lived Colored World in Indianapolis in 1878, which was later revived as the Indianapolis World. He founded the Indianapolis Freeman in July 1888 as a politically independent, national…
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