A History of African American Newspapers in New England

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What was the first black newspaper in Boston In New England?

Though those questions are straightforward, the answers are not. Much of the history of the black press in the region and its largest city is missing, incomplete or contradictory. Copies of many early ones can not be found. Who published papers, and exactly for how long, is often hazy. The gaps persist even into the last century: No one has copies of the entire run of the region’s most influential black paper, William Monroe Trotter’s Boston Guardian.

It is clear, though, that black newspapers have been published in New England for more than 160 years. They started rolling off presses about two decades after Freedom’s Journal, based in New York City, became the first voice of African Americans in print. “We wish to plead our own cause,” its founders proclaimed.

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