The Colored American

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This article is about the newspaper. For the magazine that started publication in 1900, see The Colored American Magazine.
The Colored American
Type Weekly newspaper
Format Tabloid
Owner(s) Phillip Bell
Samuel Cornish
Charles Bennett Ray
Publisher Charles Bennett Ray
Founded 1837
Language English
Ceased publication 1842
Headquarters New York City
OCLC number 9858717

The Colored American was a name used by two 19th-century weekly African-American newspapers: one that was published in New York City from 1836 to 1842 by Samuel Cornish, Phillip Bell, and Charles Bennett Ray, and one that was published in Washington, D.C., from 1893 to 1904 by Edward Elder Cooper.[1]

Front page of the November 25, 1899 edition of the Washington, D.C.-based paper.

New York paper[edit]

Initially published under the name The Weekly Advocate,[2] New York's Colored American was a weekly newspaper whose length was four to six pages. It circulated in free black communities up and down the northern seaboard.

This is the cover of the newspaper The Colored American, dated March 4, 1837.

The main focus of The Colored American was the moral, social, and political elevation of free colored people as well as the peaceful emancipation of slaves. The newspaper had a wide spread of subscribers, and employed agents in various cities, as well as abolitionists, for its marketing needs. The paper also received help from African-American churches and local abolition societies by way of fund drives and donations. Occasionally, the newspaper received cash infusions from prominent white allies. All of the donations, fund drives and supplements helped the paper to publish 38 articles and survive through 1841. Thanks to the subscribers, the interesting articles and the extra funding sources, The Colored American became an important paper of its time.

This is an announcement published in the newspaper "The Colored American."


  • January 1837 - Samuel Cornish, Philip Bell, and Charles Bennett Ray launched The Weekly Advocate.
  • March 4, 1837 - Publisher Robert Sears changes the name to The Colored American.
  • 1839 - Charles Bennett Ray became the sole owner of The Colored American.
  • 1840 - The Colored American declared in favor of Liberty Party candidate James G. Birney.
  • 1841 - The last edition of the paper was published on Christmas Day.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "More About This Newspaper: The colored American. (Washington, D.C.) 1893-19??". Library of Congress. 
  2. ^ Penn, Irvine G. (1891). The Afro-American Press and its Editors. The Arno Press and The New York Times.