Long Island University C.W. Post Campus
C.W. Post Campus B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library

Negro Periodicals in the United States
Series I, 1840-1960 Series II, 1827-1950
An Annotated Bibliography by Professor Melvin R. Sylvester

The Negro Periodicals In the United States was published in 1970. It is one of the few identifiable collections dealing exclusively with early serialized publications on the African American as a subject. This collection of primary source materials surfaced during the 1960's due to the demand for more broad based supportive resources in the area of African American Studies for college and university Black Studies departments.

The Negro Universities Press became the publisher of this collected series. The Negro Periodicals In the United States as a collection was selected and reprinted under thirty-five different titles, which included a mixture of journals, magazines, newspapers, documents, speeches, narratives, papers, essays, letters, records and tracts. Each individual volume was published as a specific title and covered topics ranging from slavery to recent achievements of African Americans for those years in print.

Many of the documents and essays were written by Blacks, with others written by sympathizers of the causes for Blacks as they struggled and sought justice, freedom, and human dignity in America.

The earliest volume in the series dates back to 1827, and the latest volume was published in 1960. Except for the Crisis, all of the other publications are no longer being printed. In the past, publications such as these were known only by a select group due to their limited circulation amongst a small audience. The black churches, colleges, and professional institutions were aware of these publications, but to many they were considered "unknowns." Because the majority of the information featured in each publication is not indexed in any guide or index, the entire series could act as a valuable resource with unique possibilities for the interested historian, student, scholar, and especially the African American history enthusiast.

Professor Melvin Sylvester
B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library
C. W. Post Campus of Long Island University

Negro Periodicals in the United States

African Observer: A Monthly Journal, ... Illustrative of the General Character, and Moral and Political Effects of Negro Slavery.   Nos. 1-12, 1827-1828. Philadelphia.
For the person interested in the historical ramifications of Negro slavery this is an excellent source. The essays and documents seek to trace the early origin of the African slave trade from the continent of Africa to the coastline of America. There is no specific design or organization to the collected essays and documents. The editor, Enoch Lewis, collected his source materials and published the African Observer in an effort to diplomatically and objectively show those of that period ways of eliminating the evil institution of slavery. Among the essays and documents are specials such as "Tornado Season at Cape Mesurado" which add color to this collected work.


Alexander's Magazine.   Vol. 1-7, 1905-1909. Boston.
If you are interested in the achievements of Blacks during the early 1900's, this source could provide that information. The articles are designed to uplift and inspire those who read them. They feature Blacks at their best - achieving in the arts, education, business, law, medicine etc. The photographs themselves tell a fascinating story of those persons and places presented during that era. There are essays, poems, and feature stories. The emphasis is strictly on advancement, including the educational, social, and economic aspects involved in African American achievement. This magazine definitely shows how some Blacks, even during this period, could indeed progress with a degree of dignity in America.


American Anti-Slavery Reporter.   Nos. 1-8, l834. New York.
This collection of essays, letters and narratives is aimed at exposing the moral issues of slavery. With the use of Christian ethics and doctrines, all slaveholders were preached at for not obeying God's laws and commandments. The thrust of this monthly publication was an appeal to the slaveholders' conscience and a solicitation of support from non-slaveholders to abolish the system. It was with confirmed conviction and religious fervor that the American Anti-Slavery Society became advocates and missionaries in an effort to save the slave from oppression - and the slaveholder from his sin of oppression. The religious overtones on the issues of slavery during this period could be of interest to historians, scholars and clerics even in today's society.


American Jubilee.   Nos. 1-12, 1854-1855. New York.
American Jubilee, a monthly newspaper, set out to fight slavery by exposing its illegal and unconstitutional implications. The idea behind the publication was to keep persons posted on the pros and cons of slavery as it developed into an American stateside issue. The Federal Government, the Constitution and States Rights are some of the major discussions in many of the commentaries and essays dealing with slavery. The political consequences of slavery are thoroughly discussed in such territorial issues as the Kansas-Nebraska Bill and the Missouri Compromise. For those interested in the events developing within the States while slavery was a "burning" issue, the American Jubilee should act as an excellent source.


Anti-Slavery Examiner.   Nos. 1-14, 1836-1845. New York.
This forthright publication came out as a strong voice of dissent on the slavery issue. The thrust of this monthly periodical was an appeal to the minds and conscience of the Nation. Slavery was not only the issue involved, but the freedom to oppose such conditions. The Anti-Slavery Examiner brought out the politics involved. Believing that the sentiments of the majority were against slavery in the States, the Examiner brought the issue before the Nation. The printed pages of lengthy essays are addressed to the citizens. For those persons interested in what tactics the anti-slavers used to fight the spread of slavery in the States, the Examiner provides excellent details. This two volume source also holds a record of special accounts of slavery documentation in essays, narratives, letters and speeches. Some worthy examples for historians are: "Bible Against Slavery," "The Constitution, A Pro-Slavery Compact," and "American Slavery as it is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses."


Anti-Slavery Record.   Vol. 1-3, 1835-1837. New York.
This small publication contains a collection of thematic essays, poems and documents. Each month between six and ten pages of text were published with a captivating front page woodblock print depicting the cruel plight and treatment of slaves in the story featured. This little magazine set out to dispel the beneficence of slavery as an American institution. Accounts of the runaways, the conditions, the speeches and the treatment are all reported in letters and notes by actual slaves and persons witnessing those events. In an effort to awaken the consciousness of the reader, many of the essays and topics were developed around a series of rhetorical questions. The actual testimonies of the Grimke sisters, plus a host of slaveholders and non-slaveholders gave a vivid view of what motivated the actions of the citizenry during that period in American history.


Anti-Slavery Tracts.   Series 1 & 2, 1855-1861. New York.
The Anti-Slavery Tracts were published as an organ of appeal for the anti-slavery movement. Its contents included essays, letters, poems, news items, testimonies, newspaper editorials, and extracts of laws. The Tracts took up the legal, social, religious,and intellectual issues involved in slavery, and provided a platform for the fight to eliminate its existence. In the section, "The United States Constitution," the Tracts went into extensive detail to show how the Constitution, as it existed, condoned the perpetuation of slavery. With the use of other documented essays and reports such as "Slave Insurrections" and "The New Reign of Terror," the Tracts were able to show the upheaval and strife caused by maintaining a system of slavery. Among the special reports are: "The Testimonies of Capt. John Brown at Harper's Ferry" and "The Philosophy of the Abolition Movement" by Wendell Phillips.


Brown American.   Vol. 1-5, 1936-1945. Philadelphia.
If the 1950's and early 1960's represented a bland period for white Americans, then it was the late 1930's and early 1940's for the black Americans. A good example of this docile period is recorded in Brown American. Not being able to fit in totally with the greater white America, those "brown" Americans reflected a mood of self-recognition and expression which became evident to a few in this publication. To succeed against all odds was the thrust of the publication. Persons like W. E. B. DuBois, Roy Wilkins, Marian Anderson, James Weldon Johnson, and Mary McLeod Bethune were some of the up and coming brown Americans included. Brown American's mood was to focus on the "brown" people as they worked hard to prove themselves worthy of this land. Regular sections entitled "Negro Education in the United States," "The Working Front" and sample articles such as "Get Trained for America's Tomorrow," and "That Future Day Shall be Different" reflected a hope that was amply described in the pages of this small magazine.


Color Line: A Monthly Round-up of the Facts of Negro American Progress and of the Growth of American Democracy.   Vol. 1 & 2, 1946-1947. Mt. Vernon, New York.
Color Line brought together each month those highlights of news events concerning negro life which the editors felt needed some underscoring because of their importance. The flash bulletin type of format was designed to alert the Negro populace of what was happening on the local and national scene. The highlights were broken down into different catagories. Among them were:
  1. Labor and the Negro
  2. Trends in Interracial Cooperation
  3. Religion and the Negro
  4. Hero of the Month
  5. The Negro in Sports
  1. Negro in the Theater
  2. The Negro in Politics
  3. Achievements and Awards
  4. History
  5. Miscellany
Color Line wanted the black people of America to be aware of those democratic processes which were not working. The idea of such a publication was good, but because much of the underscored information was available in other sources, the Color Line ceased after the second volume published.


Colored American Magazine.   Vol. 1-17, 1900-1909. Boston, Mass. and New York.
Colored American Magazine did for nine years in the 1900's what Ebony Magazine is doing in the 1990's. The contents of the magazine took in all types of printed works pertaining to the "colored" American living in the States. Special articles also featured peoples of color living on other continents of the world. Some of the topics covered included articles of Negroes succeeding in business, the arts, education, medicine, politics etc. The magazine played a significant role in recording current news as well as retrospective historical events of the Negro. One ad in a copy of the magazine called the Colored American Magazine "the only high-class illustrated monthly in the world devoted exclusively to the interests of the Negro Race." With this statement in mind, the editors did indeed cater to the educated middle and upper class Blacks of the day. The articles, essays, poems, and countless photographs even today depict a certain air of dignity belonging to a people proud to have "made it." The nine volumes should provide some revealing facts for both white and black readers interested in black history and literature.


Competitor.   Vol. 1-3, 1920-1921. Pittsburgh.
If the 1920's reflected a certain amount of unrest and confusion for most Americans, then most assuredly these times of adjustment were hard for the black Americans. In order to express a means of securing a solid position in these trying times, the Competitor came on the scene. The magazine was aimed at showing how the Negro was able and ready to be fully accepted as an American in the truest sense of the word. The collection of essays, short stories, reports, news items, poems, etc. all centered around the importance of excellence for the Negro, in every field of endeavor. The magazine featured a select group of Blacks who represented the paragon in achievement. The magazine "painted" a miniscule picture of success in a time when hope and inspiration were needed for the majority of the black population. If you are interested in the black bourgeoisie of this period, then the Competitor can provide some help and insight.


Crisis: A Record of the Darker Races (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People).   Vol. 1-47, 1910-1940.
The only publication in the completed series still being published today is the Crisis. The Crisis has more of an appeal as a news agent for a sizeable portion of the black population. Its aim is to be right on top of the issues with its editorials, essays, reports, letters, poems and news. The magazine is the voice box of the NAACP having a special column in each issue pertaining to the actions and events of the Association. The Crisis reports on the good as well as the bad. It exists to publish the progress and the obstacles of a struggling people. Although the Crisis is decidedly middle class in its contents, the "importance" of the news to all persons of color contributes to its appeal and broadens its circulation. Each issue gives the reader a calendar of events and a record of local as well as wide spread happenings dealing with educational, social, political, religious and recreational topics.

As a retrospective source for black history, the Crisis provides a documented account of written essays, opinions, letters, poems and news about black people all over the world. The photographs, illustrations and advertisements tell a special story in themselves.


Douglass' Monthly.   Vol. 1-5, 1858-1863. New York.
Frederick Douglass, the distinguished black orator and anti-slavery leader used his journalistic ability to publish this newspaper. The original title was called the North Star and later Frederick Douglass' Paper. Since there is no complete file of the North Star or the Paper in existance today, it is hard to determine the beginning date of Douglass' Monthly. All of the papers were published somewhere between 1847 and 1863. Douglass' Monthly was published as a news organ for the abolition of slavery. Douglass, an ex-slave himself, knew about the experiences and evils of slavery as an institution. As editor of Douglass' Monthly, he solicited the documents, printed words, letters, conversations, statements, reports, records and eye-witness accounts of slavery and published them in a sixteen page, three column monthly without the inclusion of pictures or illustrations.

Topics on the Underground Railroad, slavery in the States, fugitive slave cases, and slave insurrections are some examples of stories included in the paper. As a point by point analysis of the workings of Frederick Douglass and the anti-slavery movement, this is an excellent source of documentation.


Education: A Journal of Reputation (Negro Needs Society).   Vol. 1-2 (#4), 1935-1936, New York.
Education was published with the idea of educating Blacks to the awareness of knowledge as a possible vehicle for economic, social and political change. The subject of education was featured in the broad context of the word. The articles, essays, poems, short stories, editorials and local notices were included in the publication so as to inform and inspire black Americans on the importance of learning. Although the publication cost only five cents a copy, it ceased in the second year of publication. For those persons interested in what Harlem, N.Y. and some of its residents were thinking and doing during the 1930's, there are ample essays and news articles printed. Other articles dealing with the situation of being black and coping with the hardships of this period in history are also reflected in the contents of this journal.


Fire!! : Devoted to Younger Negro Artists.   Vol. 1 (#1), 1926, New York.
In its first issue, The Board of Editors made an appeal for funds, "we would appreciate having fifty people subscribe ten dollars each, and fifty more subscribe five dollars each." It was too bad that this small publication did not get the necessary financial backing. It died after the first copy, leaving behind a beautiful edition with some talented young artists, as contributors. Fire brought together some exceptional talent at the height of what was later called the "Harlem or Negro Renaissance." This single edition had writers such as Countee Cullen, Zora Neale Hurston, Arna Bontemps, and Langston Hughes as contributers.

Fire was put together in a handsome arrangement which included some African-type wood block prints, some type-face typography and drawings by Richard Bruce. Not only was the periodical appealing in format, but the contents displayed the works of some outstanding black artists publishing their creations in one solitary resource.


Half-Century Magazine.   Vol. 1-18, 1916-1925, Chicago.
The Half-Century Magazine was published with a direct appeal to middle class "colored" America. It was designed with the intention of reaching those few Blacks who could afford to live up to its contents, but unknowingly, it only produced an illusion for the vast majority of its black readers. The emphasis was on how to make or be fashionable ladies and gentlemen of the times. In the subtitle, the magazine was referred to as "A Colored Monthly for the Businessman and the Homemaker." The contents listed topics such as "General Race News," "Classy Fiction," "Business," "Fashion," and "Fun." If you happened to be an educated tan or fair skinned Negro with some wealth or a viable business and living between 1916 and 1925 - the Half-Century Magazine would fit your bill. The special features of the magazine included a column, "What They Are Wearing" by Madame F. Madison and "Health Talks" by Dr. Julian Lewis. Essays and topics were included and covered hints from cooking through vacations. The pictures and advertisements for hair straightening combs, fashionable hair pieces, complexion clarifiers and "High Brown" soaps, perfumes and beauty aids were, in part, a means of seeking an acceptable connection to a larger white America. The importance of the magazine lies in the fact that here is a record of a black American minority group, whether by choice or force, practicing those extreme ideals found in a segment of the larger white middle and upper class American society.


Harlem Quarterly.   Nos. 1-4, 1949-1950, New York.
This small magazine was a potpourri of articles, essays, poems and short stories written by such well-known contributors as Langston Hughes, W.E.B. DuBois, Alain Leroy Locke, Shirley Graham and John Henrik Clarke. The magazine provided a place for the literary expressions of some creative black writers. The contents were geared to take in a broad cross section of views and opinions relating to American Blacks, West Indians, Africans and those Whites interested in the causes of people of color around the world. The stories and essays presented a glimpse at black culture as viewed by the authors during the late 1940's. The poems and feature articles provided humor and enlightenment as reflected in the history and everyday life of black people. A "Book Reviews" section and a spot for "Letters to the Editor" added to the comprehensiveness of this short-lived publication.


Messenger: World's Greatest Negro Monthly.   Vol. 1-10, 1917-1928, New York.
A. Phillip Randolph, a legend in the American labor movement, printed the Messenger as the "only radical Negro magazine in America." As the general organizer of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, Randolph knew of the need for organizing and informing the masses of Blacks in ways for fighting discrimination and racism on the labor front. Randolph also saw the need for a strong voice which could be used to expose the masses to the wide-spread racist practices in America's labor market. The Messenger acted as the reporter and disseminator of the ideas, developments, and changes taking place in all aspects of labor. Although the Messenger was there to publish information on the injustices in labor practices, it did not limit itself to that arena. The scope of the magazine took in all kinds of essays, short stories, critiques, editorials, poems, special feature articles, conference reports and book reviews. The contents reflected an array of widely chosen topics in the field of business, politics, philosophy, education, labor, athletics, women and the arts. The pages were filled with interesting accounts relating to the achievements and struggles of black Americans around the world. For its eleven years of existence, the Messenger produced a superb, well-rounded magazine, both in content and arrangement. Special features included material on Blacks and the States entitled "These 'Colored' United States," others on The Ku Klux Klan, Marcus Garvey, black theater and satire. Political cartoons, illustrations and ample photographs presented a unique story in themselves. Scholars, historians and laymen should find this fine magazine a helpful and enlightening addition whenever there is a shortage of good source materials in the area of Black Studies.


National Anti-Slavery Standard.   Vol. 1-30, 1840-1870, New York.
This weekly newspaper was the official publication of the American Anti-Slavery Society. The weekly published all the news, letters, reports, records, minutes, petitions, addresses, debates, essays, speeches, testimonies and documents relating to the question of slavery in the United States and other parts of the world. Most of the material published was addressed to or intended for the members of the Anti-Slavery Society and the unaccountable abolitionists living in this country and other foreign lands. The content of the material printed was usually in the form of a direct or indirect appeal for the abolition of slavery as an "evil" institution. Religion and politics were two of the underlying keys used to motivate action for the elimination of slavery. Persuasive ideals, rhetorical questions, exclamatory remarks were some of the examples aimed at arousing the conscience of the Nation on the slavery issue. The six-column paper solicited and published the random accounts of the news as they occurred throughout the United States and other parts of the world. The feelings, thoughts and moods of the Society's fervent cause to eradicate slavery were all captured within the pages of the Standard for thirty years. For the historian interested in the weekly accounts of the Society, including the dates, names and remarks of events for that period, the National Anti-Slavery Standard could provide ample documentation.


National Era.   Vol. 1-14, 1847-1860, Washington, D.C.
The National Era, also a weekly abolitionist newspaper, published a wider range of material which, unlike the National Anti-Slavery Standard, was not exclusively dedicated to the slavery issue. The Era was a mixture of anecdotes, poems, letters, short stories, bulletins, notations and transcripts collected and written by persons within the United States and foreign countries. The editor of the paper was interested in publishing literary ideas as well as developments and changes taking place during this period of history. Glancing across a typical page of the Era one might find a poem on nature; next to it an anecdote for "good wives;" under this a letter from a congressman; in another column a short essay on laughter and between these an article on the constitutional question of slavery. The issue of slavery was a major part of the newspaper but it also allowed the reader a moment of diversion only to be caught in the next column with some development on the "evils" of slavery. The National Era was also a paper for keeping abreast of important local events and happenings on a world-wide basis. Whether it was in the area of education, political science, economics, philosophy, literature or business, the Era provided news interspersed with entertaining essays for its readers. With transportation and communication between the major cities and ports still undeveloped, the National Era provided the reader with additional news in the form of excerpts and editorials from papers such as the Liberty Bell, New York Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Cincinnati Gazette, Boston Courier and London Daily News. Historians and men of letters should both find this newspaper useful for its historical documentation and literary content.


National Negro Health News. (United States Public Health Service).   Vol. 1-18, 1933-1950. Washington, D.C.
Back in the early 1900's diseases such as diphtheria, tuberculosis, pneumonia, smallpox, syphilis and malaria were spreading and taking the lives of many black Americans in all parts of the Nation. Around 1915, a movement was developed entitled the "National Negro Health Movement." The apparent purpose of the Movement was directed towards the prevention and eventual elimination of communicable and infectious diseases spreading among African Americans. In connection with the National Negro Health Movement, a yearly conference was developed for the observance of "National Negro Health Week" which took place in local communities throughout the country. As an outgrowth of these conferences, the information and data collected was later published as a journal entitled National Negro Health News. The first issue appeared in January of 1933 and the publication ceased in June, 1950.

The National Negro Health News was designed to inform local community agencies (i.e. American Red Cross) including the press, the radio, churches, health clinics, schools and even allied state and local governmental agencies, on the conditions and ways they could cooperate with the black communities in preventing or arresting the spread of communicable and infectious diseases. Successes by individuals, groups, or local organizations where work was done to improve the health of the black populace were publicized and encouraged by being awarded the "Certificate of Merit." The News captured the essence of how organized local health programs in the form of special clinics, school hygiene classes and outreach medical services worked together to eradicate diseases within the black communities. At times, the News tended to create a "picture" of Blacks as the only bearers of infectious and communicable diseases. On the better side of the "picture," the News became an important organ for the exclusive recognition of many great black doctors, nurses and social workers fighting to eliminate those dreadful diseases which effected all mankind. As a retrospective source of information in the field of Health Care, this compilation of news gives an excellent example of what can be done to improve the health of a nation's people.


National Negro Voice.   Nos. 1-11, 1941. Kingston, Jamaica.
As a nationalist newspaper written and published exclusively for and about black persons, the National Negro Voice appeared on the scene to spread the message of a cause. The origin of the paper was Kingston, Jamaica, and the cause was to continue the work of the black nationalist Marcus Garvey and to pay tribute to his memory. From a period starting in America in 1916 until the end of his life in London, England in 1940, Marcus Garvey fought for what he believed in - the inevitable establishment of a separate black Nation on the designated continent of Africa. Garvey's experiences and encounters with racism in America and abroad lead him to a deep conviction in his cause. His dream was interwoven with The Universal Negro Improvement Association, sometimes dubbed "the Back to Africa Movement" and the African Communities League. These two organizations, sometimes strong, sometimes weak, were the last vestiges left after Garvey's death.

Jamaica, the birthplace of Garvey, was a natural setting for the continuation of his ideals and the National Negro Voice acted as the reporter from July 19 through September 27, 1941 when it ceased publication. The Voice in many ways sought to clarify to the world the often misunderstood doctrines of separatism preached by Garvey. The Voice also generated Garvey's philosophy of being self-sufficient while seeking dignity and honor in being black. African history and news of Blacks achieving as a nation was also published. An example was the ample coverage of Ethiopia's struggle against the Axis Powers takeover during these war years. For the historian or person interested in the last tribute payed to the controversial Marcus Garvey through the eyes of his disciples, the National Negro Voice can provide a good overview.


National Principia.   Vol. 1-5, 1859-1866. New York.
On March 1, 1859 a group of concerned clergy got together at a convention assembled in the town of Worchester, Massachussets and formulated the Church Antislavery Society. The sole purpose of the Society was to bring together all churches, regardless of denomination, in an effort to fight the "evil" institution of slavery. The order of the organization was based on a set of "Declaration of Principles," and the vehicle for recording and disseminating those ideals was the paper entitled the National Principia.

The National Principia picked up the mood of the Society by going on record as totally against those persons or institutions indulging in slave holding, rum trafficking and crimes relating to kindred. The paper was a place for recording the speeches, addresses, letters, personal explanations, replies, essays, news reports, interviews, minutes of town meetings, sermons and sundry facts and comments for the members and sympathizers of the Society's causes. The Society's ammunition for their causes was based on the old-fashioned Orthodox or Evangelical church ministry. The Holy Bible was the weapon used for bringing about the change. Words like gradualism or conservatism on the issue of slavery were not acceptable according to God's law; therefore slavery was tantamount to sin. What was needed was a revival or change in moral principles. Thus, the National Principia became the organ for publishing the messages to help bring about immediate changes. Besides the fight to abolish slavery, the Society's fervent belief in religion was connected to all phases of life, including business, social, political, educational and human encounters. The Church, the State and the Nation were all held together by Christian principles and the Society existed to make all parties aware of those principles which were not adhered to. The National Principia captured the philosophy and religion of a deeply committed people. Although at times dogmatic in its religious zeal, the paper left behind some of the finest documented text on ideas and debates pertaining to the basic foundations of religion for this society of free Americans.


Negro Music Journal: A Monthly Devoted to the Educational Interest of the Negro in Music.   Vol. 1-2, 1902-1903. Washington, D.C.
The Negro Music Journal was published as a periodical of music for the enlightenment of teachers, students, scholars and music lovers. The thrust of the publication was mainly in the area of classical music, and the many ways Blacks could appreciate involvement in this field. News, essays, biographical sketches, short stories, helpful hints and demonstrations were all a part of the make-up of this publication. Instrumental and vocal music, featuring orchestral and choral works, are written about along with ample discussion on many of the composers. Other articles discussed Blacks as participants in recitals or musical orchestrations written by composers from Bach through Wagner. Other articles were approached topically, featuring such sections as "Piano Department," "Club Department," "Violin Department" and "The Child's Musical Life." Among the many blacks given exposure for their creative musical genius in this fine publication are Samuel Coleridge Taylor, Clarence Cameron White, Harry L. Freeman, Thomas "Blind Tom" Wiggins and the Fisk Jubilee Singers.

This excellent little volume is chock-full of handy methods for students and teachers of music. Although dated, there are many useful points and techniques which could help those musicologists who are presently interested in helping others appreciate music.


Negro Quarterly: A Review of Negro Life and Culture.   Nos. 1-4, 1942-1943. New York.
These were the war years and the thoughts and minds of most Americans were focused on the Axis Powers' threat to world peace. America's preparation and productiveness during this war-time period required the help of all persons, including the not-always-accepted black Americans. In an effort to broadcast the thoughts, opinions and aspirations of black Americans during this uneasy period in America, the Negro Quarterly was published.

The Negro Quarterly's major aim was to convince all Americans that Blacks were indeed able, ready and willing to serve this country whether at home in a defense plant or abroad on a battle field. Discrimination and Jim Crowism throughout the country was still the rule, rather than the exception. The Quarterly picked up this mood by publishing essays, poems, commentaries, reports and short articles pertaining to the life and problems of being black in America. It also provided the reader with words and meanings which expressed the need for whole-hearted black involvement in this country - not only in this time of war, but also in the peace to come. The Quarterly, in its short period of existence, served as a focal point for the written opinions and developments of ideas within the black community. Historical and general articles were contributed by such notables as Ralph Ellison, L.D. Reddick, Herbert Aptheker, Langston Hughes, and Richard Wright. A section on "Books" plus a brief index adds a special something to this short-lived publication.


Negro Story: A Magazine for All Americans.   Vol. 1-2, 1944-1946. Chicago.
The unique experience and situation of being black in America has been written about from many approaches. Some of these approaches were mere stereotypes which came across to many as a true "picture" of what Blacks were like as a people. In order to present a more accurate image, some publishers decided to create new sources for expressing better ideas about black folk. One of these publications was Negro Story.

Negro Story was developed as a magazine for short stories. The publication provided a place for the printing of fictionalized true-to-life events in the black experience. The magazine brought together a host of creative writers longing for a "home" market which would accept their written works. Among those notables who contributed their stories were Gwendolyn Brooks, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, and Chester Himes. Negro Story was there to record the sad and good times of black folks as they came alive via the expressions within these excellent short stories. Known and unknown writers (both black and white) helped to fill the contents of this bi-monthly magazine, but the price of forty cents an issue during this war time period forced the Negro Story to cease publication in May of 1946. Notes on the contributors, a small book review section, plus some poetry added to the scope of this literary magazine.


New Challenge.   Vol. 1-2, 1934-1937. Boston.
The word was out! Dorothy West wanted a revival of interest in the black writer as a contributor of material for a new magazine entitled New Challenge. As editor, Ms. West wanted a renewed spirit in writing - not just as an art, but as a trade developed through skills and hard work. The name, New Challenge, was chosen because of the dedication needed by those writers in their efforts to emerge with distinction. The magazine published short stories, articles, essays and poems covering the factual and fictionalized experiences of living as an African American. New Challenge provided a place for locating the literary ideas and expressions published by the established, the new, and the up-and-coming black writers. With this in mind, a host of contributors submitted their manuscripts and the New Challenge published the works of such notables as James Weldon Johnson, Langston Hughes, Arna Bontemps, Countee Cullen, Zora Neale Hurston, Frank Yerby, Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright and others. The sentiment of Ms. West, plus the contributors and supporters of this excellent magazine, worked hard to rejuvenate a continuance of what occurred in the the "Negro or Harlem Renaissance" of 1926-27. To the dismay of many, the New Challenge subsided after three years in print. The editorial comments, biographical notes in "voices" and the occasional book reviews gave additional literary information to those who read this magazine.


The Non-Slaveholder.   Series 1, vol. 1-5 1846-1850; Series 2, vol. 1-2, 1853-1854. Philadelphia.
A caption under the title of The Non-Slaveholder stated "Whoso gives the motive, makes his brother's sin his own." With this in mind, a new undertaking was introduced into the anti-slavery movement. It was not just the slavers who were guilty of upholding the system of slavery - but a host of others including the slave dealer, the planter, the shipper of slave-labor products, the merchant, the manufacturer and finally the consumer of these products. The whole approach behind the movement was to eradicate the entire slavery system and each facet contributing to its continuance. The organ for transmitting the news, strategies, and victories within this movement was The Non-Slaveholder.

The Non-Slaveholder published essays, news bulletins, letters, dialogues, reports, articles, poems, editorials, notices, appeals, and addresses aimed at enlightening the not-always-concerned non-slaveholder on his role in helping with the elimination of slavery. The publication printed the tactical ways in which the nonslaveholder could break the link in the existence of slavery and the slave trade. For years non-slaveholders were purchasing the goods produced by slaves, thus perpetuating and supporting the slave system. In order to annihilate the slave system, the anti-slavery movement found it necessary to arouse the conscience of those nonslaveholders consuming goods produced by slaves. Those persons who did not practice absolute abstinence in the use of goods produced by slaves were deemed sinful abettors and perpetuators of the slavery system. Only civilized men professing morality and Christianity engaged in a market developed through free trade. The Non-Slaveholder brought together a lengthy account of documented cases and reports involving the slave trade and slave-producing market as they existed in Brazil, Cuba, the West Indies and the southern United States. For a detailed account of how the American, British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Societies used moral persuasion and plain truth to fight for the elimination of slavery around the world, The Non-Slaveholder should provide excellent source material. A short index at the front of each volume can act as a key in locating many valuable research articles on this subject.


Quarterly Review of Higher Education among Negroes.   Vol. 1-28, 1933-1960. Charlotte, North Carolina.
For thirty-six years, Johnson C. Smith University, a predominately black university in Charlotte, North Carolina, undertook the job of publishing a quarterly magazine featuring important developments and news relating to higher education for Blacks in the United States. Under the name, Quarterly Review of Higher Education among Negroes, this solitary source started out by publishing the papers, conferences symposiums, essays, reports, articles and news items dealing mainly with the supervision and instruction taking place in the Black colleges of America. In later years the magazine ventured out and became a mixed collection of published items relating to the education of Black Americans in general. Up until it ceased publication in October, 1960, the Quarterly was still considered the exclusive source where black college teachers, counselors and administrators could publish, read and share their common ideas in print.

The Quarterly dealt with subjects on accreditation, testing, standards, policies, curriculum, enrollment and instruction relating to academic matters in American black colleges. In an effort to be eclectic, special articles on international and comparative education were included. Other topics covered information on freshmen English, college mathematics, sociology and even commencement news and practices. The Quarterly was also concerned with the dissemination of ideas dealing with the total education of Blacks as citizens of the United States. The magazine therefore published ample material involved in the history, politics and philosophy of education both in America and countries abroad.

For most academicians, the importance of the Quarterly during the vital years of its existence was in the amount of detailed, yet simplistic advice and helpful hints it provided in the field of education. The magazine was aimed at improving higher education by presenting ways and methods through observation and research so as to improve the educational system, including the administration, the teacher and the student involved in the total learning process. As a retrospective source on the history, development and structure of higher education for African Americans in the United States the twenty-eight volumes should provide some revealing facts.


Race: Devoted to Social, Political and Economic Equality.   Nos. 1-2, 1935-1936. New York.
For many years the social and legal implications of racial prejudice and discrimination seemed to be confined only to the black man's plight in America. Then came the 1930's and a new wave of racial and anti-semitic actions sprung up on the national and international scene. Mussolini's forces in Ethiopia, the Nazis in Germany, the Japanese in China and the treatment of Asians in California all reflected some form of racial strife during this period. Words like racial hatred, discrimination, segregration, anti-semitism, facism and imperialism were part of the growing vernacular in the news of the day. In order to publicize those views which were not amply synthesized by the news media, a new publication was launched called Race.

Race was devoted to bringing about equal justice, via the printed word, in the social, economic and political arena for all peoples regardless of race, color, or national origin. The contents of the magazine were designed to arouse the minds and consciences of people regarding the issue of race. The essays, themes and stories featured penetrating and thought-provoking accounts relating to the politics of race as a major issue needed for the co-existence and survival of mankind. Most of the articles tend to either explain, examine, or attack the reasons behind racial actions, theories and myths. The articles are written by such contributors as Lester Granger, Henry Lee Moon, E. Franklin Frazier, Ralph Bunche, Alain Locke and Langston Hughes.

Race was a small publication which ceased after its second issue, but it did manage to capture the fear and anxiety of living as a racial minority in the 1930's. Articles such as "Biologic Differences" by Mark Graubard, "In Search of Leadership" by George Streator, and "On the Meaning of Race" by Alexander Lesser, even after sixty years in print can provide some interesting accounts on the subject of race. A very descriptive book review section, plus some interspersed poetry and art reproductions were added attractions to this short-lived publication.


Race Relations: A Monthly Summary of Events and Trends.   Vol. 1-5, 1943-1948. Nashville, Tennessee.
Race Relations, sometimes referred to as A Monthly Summary of Events and Trends in Race Relations, came off the press in August of 1943. America, as part of the Allied Forces engaged in World War II, was waging a tremendous effort at this time, in circumventing the aggression of Germany and the Axis Power. The freedom of the world was at stake and America needed the collective faith and moral support from all its citizens. While meaningful gains were being made at home by supplying the military might and war supplies for the soldiers abroad - these great efforts were being marred because of outbreaks involving racial and ethnic strife. In an effort to publicize an objective point of view relating to these unfortunate events, Race Relations developed as the organ for collecting and distributing this news.

Race Relations comprised a capsulized summation of news reports taken from approximately 250 daily and weekly papers, some 200 magazines and weeklys, plus field reports and occasional special studies from different sections of the country. Besides the collected summaries, the conditions and situations leading to the causes of racial and ethnic strife were printed as topics of opinions in the paper. Regular topics included "The Industrial Front," "The Social Front" and "Programs of Action on the Democratic Front." In later issues regulars included "The Jewish Scene," "The American Indians," "The Japanese Americans" and "Housing and Racial Policy." Subject areas covering racial and ethnic conflicts were: Armed Forces, Civil Rights, Demonstrations, Discrimination, Education, Health, Housing, Industry and Labor, Juvenile Delinquency, Law Enforcement, Lynching, Interracial Committees and Personalities.

Race Relations was published for five important years. As a news agent of fact and opinion it showed three important things. First, it captured the mood of America when large segments of the American working class were shifting from the rural to urban centers for work in the war-related factories and industries. Secondly, it showed these ethnically and racially different working class Americans coming together, but unprepared to accept one another on a competitive basis for jobs, houses and other opportunities. Finally, it showed a period of how disfranchisement for many groups grew and what some exceptional people and the law did to eliminate some of these injustices.


Radical Abolitionist.   Vol. 1-4, 1855-1858. New York.
The Federal Constitution of the United States states that this Nation was formulated "to establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity." For the American abolitionist, these words opened the constitutional issue on the existence of slavery in the United States. According to the Central Abolition Committee, slavery never had a place in this society and the Constitution unequivocally forbade the maintenance of that system. With this belief firmly established, an assembly gathered at a convention under the name "Radical Political Abolitionists" in Syracuse, NY on June 26, 1855 for the purpose of proclaiming slavery as sinful, illegal and unconstitutional. A news organ was needed for presenting the news, ideas and platform of the assembled abolitionist, therefore the Radical Abolitionist was published. William Goodell, who later became editor and publisher of the National Principia (1859-1866) took on the editorship of the newspaper. The thrust of the paper centered around the legal and constitutional issues of maintaining slavery in the states belonging to the Federal Union. The main issue being raised was whether the Federal Constitution of the United States as written, upheld the rights of all U.S. inhabitants, including those bound in slavery. The American abolitionist took up the cause and the Radical Abolitionist published the affirmative reasons against the existence of slavery.

The astute reasoning and tactical platform of the Central Abolition Committee are all presented in the form of resolutions, letters, reports, documents, essays, petitions, statements, speeches, and correspondence in this one volume edition. For the scholar or student interested in such issues as "States Rights," "Fugitive Slave Bill," "Slavery and the Constitution," "Election of 1856" and "Free Soilers and the Territory of Kansas" ample material is presented. Finally for all persons interested in the religious and political issues behind the maintenance of slavery in America during this crucial developmental period in American history, the Radical Abolitionist can add some light.


Slavery in America.   Nos. 1-14, 1836-1837. London, England.
According to Reverend Thomas Price, a London cleric, America had no place for the institution of slavery. America was founded as a nation based on freedom and religious principles, therefore slavery was a threat to the moral fiber of this democratic country. In order to gather some support in his fight to eliminate slavery on the American continent, Rev. Price published a little newspaper entitled Slavery In America. This transatlantic organ was designed to arouse the conscience of those unconcerned British Christians as to their roles in helping abolish slavery in America and also other parts of the world. The paper published the accounts of conferences, meetings, letters, notes, resolutions, reports and speeches which documented the tactics of the British movement as it reached out to America and other slave ports around the world. Most of the influence and backbone of the movement, as reported in the paper, came from the Christian brethren who made a vow to rid America and other parts of the world from slavery. America, in particular was on the spot for being a country espousing those ideas of freedom, yet at the same time keeping one out of every six men, women and children in bondage. Slavery In America pointed out the sound good points behind America as a nation of law and principles, but it also pointed out how slavery was destroying the greatness of that nation. Churches of all denominations in Britain joined the fight against the slavery system. Slavery In America captured the fervor of the movement by reporting the movements and efforts on the part of the British subjects. This journal served as an objective organ of communication by exposing and awakening the conscience of the world on the wide spread slavery practices. Although the publication ceased after the first year in print, it did manage to record some important documents and views which were not expressed in other anti-slavery publications.


Southern Frontier.   Vol. 1-6, 1940-1945. Atlanta, Georgia.
Times were not easy for the majority of the black people living in the Southern part of the United States during the 1940's. The Klu Klux Klan still conducted open meetings and most black citizens of the United States lived in a separate society under enforced laws of segregation. The Southern Frontier came off the press in January of 1940 as a voice box and news organ for those Southern black folks. It published news briefs, letters, short essays, bulletins, poems and, at times, a special feature on one particular state within the United States. The Frontier was there to state the position of the Negro as an American citizen seeking advancement in his regional birthplace.

The newspaper documented those events and conditions faced by a people struggling to overcome inflicted injustices at the hands of a white majority who was not yet ready and willing to accept the black person's place in that social system. In a way, the news items reported showed a kind of tolerance and hope for change on the part of Southern Blacks. The articles and news did a lot to inform both blacks and whites throughout the Nation on the racial situation in the South. The coverage of news included some important years and events in black history. For persons interested in the attitude and conditions of Blacks living in the South during the 1940's, the Southern Frontier should provide ample information. Topics on the war years, education, politics and the law in these issues are well documented with factual and statistical information for the interested researcher and scholar.


Voice of the Negro   Vol. 1-4, 1904-1907. Atlanta, Georgia and Chicago, Illinois.
Throughout the history of the United States, certain cities have always been known as cultural and social hubs where the recognition and achievements of some priviledged African Americans could exist with dignity. Whenever there was a need for launching a far-reaching idea or a new publication these places became the meccas for their development. Those places often included Chicago, Illinois; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; New York, New York; Nashville, Tennessee; New Orleans, Louisiana: and Atlanta, Georgia. Other locations where black colleges and universities originated became places where black achievements could also be recognized.

It was therefore no surprise when Atlanta, Georgia, with its growing black intellectual and professional population during the early 1900's, became another leading "home base" for gathering and disseminating black thoughts and ideas. One source which developed for receiving and transmitting information coming into Atlanta concerning Blacks during this period was the Voice of the Negro.

The Voice was there to serve as a general source of information dealing with news and literary thoughts taking place in the lives and minds of Blacks throughout the world. The magazine recorded timely events important to people of all races. Monthly topics included current history, education, art, politics, sociology, religion and science. A substantial portion of the material presented Blacks and the places where they lived, worked and visited. Biographical and written essays by black academicians, entrepreneurs, politicians, poets, philosophers and theologians all added to the scope of the magazine. Personalities such as W.E..B. DuBois, George Washington Carver, Mary Church Terrell, John H. Adams Jr. and Booker T. Washington made up the distinguished list of contributors. An array of "specials" included material on the history and development of many black colleges and universities, including Fisk, Talladega, Rust, Tuskegee and Hampton, plus feature articles such as the "Chain Lake Settlement" and "The Niagara Movement," and many biographical sketches on notables such as Booker T. Washington and Paul Lawrence Dunbar. The Voice ended its short existence in Chicago, Illinois in October of 1907, leaving behind some valuable literary and reference material chock-full of important information by some distinguished black folks. For the scholar, historian or student interested in the significance of local and world developments during the early 1900's from a black point of view these sources are excellent.

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