Volume 1, no.3, 23 March 1827
|Publisher||Cornish & Russwurm|
|Editor||John B. Russwurm
|Founded||16 March 1827|
|Ceased publication||28 March 1829|
Freedom's Journal was the first African-American owned and operated newspaper published in the United States. Founded by Peter Williams, Jr. and other free black men, it was published weekly in New York City gh the 14 September 1827 issue. Freedom's Journal was superseded by The Rights of All, published between 1829 and 1830 by Cornish.
The newspaper was founded by Peter Williams, Jr. and other leading free blacks in New York City. They intended to appeal to the 300,000 free blacks in the United States, many freed after the American Revolutionary War. In New York State, for instance, the last slaves were not freed until 1827, although a gradual emancipation law was passed in 1799.
The founders selected Cornish and Russwurm as editors. Both men were activists: Cornish was the first to establish an African-American Presbyterian church and Russwurm was a member of the Haytian Emigration Society, to organize free blacks to emigrate to Haiti after its achieving independence in 1804.
According to the nineteenth-century African-American journalist, Garland Penn, Cornish and Russwurm's objective with Freedom's Journal was to oppose New York newspapers that attacked African Americans and encouraged slavery. For example, Mordecai Noah wrote articles that degraded African Americans; other editors also wrote articles that mocked blacks and supported slavery. The New York economy was influenced by the South and slavery; in 1822 half of its exports were cotton shipments.
The abolitionist press had focused its attention on opposing the paternalistic defense of slavery and the culture's reliance on racist stereotypes. These typically portrayed slaves as children who needed the support of whites to survive or who were ignorant and happy as slaves. The stereotypes depicted blacks as inferior to whites and a threat to society if free.
Cornish and Russwurm argued in their first issue: "Too long have others spoken for us, too long has the public been deceived by misrepresentations…."  They wanted the newspaper to strengthen the autonomy and common identity of African Americans in society. "We deem it expedient to establish a paper," they remarked, "and bring into operation all the means with which out benevolent creator has endowed us, for the moral, religious, civil and literary improvement of our race…."
Freedom's Journal provided international, national, and regional information on current events. Its editorials opposed slavery and other injustices, and also discussed current issues, such as the proposal by the American Colonization Society to resettle free blacks in Liberia, a colony established for that purpose in West Africa. The Journal published biographies of prominent blacks, and listings of the births, deaths, and marriages in the African-American community in New York. It circulated in 11 states, the District of Columbia, Haiti, Europe, and Canada.
The newspaper employed 14 to 44 subscription agents, such as David Walker in Boston. In 1829 he published the first of four articles that called for rebellion. The pamphlet "Walker's Appeal" stated, "...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 statement was widely read, with Walker distributing copies of his pamphlet into the Southern United States, where it was widely banned.
See also 
- "Freedom's Journal", Black Press, PBS, n.d., accessed 30 May 2012
- Bacon, Jacqueline. The First African-American Newspaper: Freedom's Journal, Lexington Books, 2007, pp. 43-45
- Bacon (2007), Freedom's Journal, pp. 38-39
- "King Cotton: Dramatic Growth of the Cotton Trade", New York Divided: Slavery and the Civil War, 2007, New-York Historical Society, accessed 12 May 2012
- Rhodes, Jane. "The Visibility of Race and Media History," Critical Studies in Mass Communication. Routledge, 1993, p. 186.
- Rhodes (1993), "The Visibility of Race", p. 187
- Bacon (2007), Freedom's Journal, p. 43.
- Rhodes (1993), "The Visibility of Race" p. 187.
- Bacon (2007), Freedom's Journal, p. 42
- Freedom's Journal, Wisconsin History
Further reading 
- Dann, Martin. The Black Press, 1827-1890: The Quest for National Identity. New York: G.P. Putnam Sons, 1971.
- Penn, I. Garland. The Afro-American Press and its Editors. Salem, New Hampshire: Ayer Company, Publishers, Inc., 1891.
- Vogel, Todd, ed. "The Black Press: New Literary and Historical Essays." Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2001.
- Freedom's Journal, Wisconsin History, includes digitized facsimiles of all 103 issues.
- "Freedom's Journal", Black Press, PBS, n.d.
- Freedom's Journal Magazine, "the modern-day [online] journal inspired by the 1827 African American newspaper,of the same name, is a tribute to the courage and foresight of Samuel E. Cornish and John B. Russwurm, co-founders of America’s Black Press."