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., along with William H. Anderson, Walter H. Stowers and later Byron G. Redmond, founded the Detroit Plaindealer, to promote African American economic interests and political rights. After the paper ceased publication in 1894, Benjamin Pelham went on to hold a number of appointed government positions, and was elected auditor of Wayne Country in 1906. He was known as one of the most influential African-American leaders in Detroit during these years .