The Pittsburgh Courier that Robert L. Vann acquired in 1910 was a newspaper of humble beginnings. Its previous owner was a security guard at the H.J. Heinz Company food packing plant, and a self-published poet who sold copies for a nickel apiece.
Not quite 40 years after Freedom of the Press became protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution, a group of free Black men came together to discuss the news of the day and the newspapers that delivered it.
Simeon Booker, then a reporter for Jet magazine, was a witness to history on the day in 1955 when Mamie Till Mobley stared at the bloodied and bloated body of 14-year-old Emmett, her only child.
Alexander M. Rivera, a Black reporter and photographer for The Pittsburgh Courier, was on assignment to cover “the trial of the century” as he and others described it to readers, a trial that could mark a turning point in the legacy of lynching in the South.
Breathlessly, the man scrambled along the railroad tracks, barely catching the next northbound train out of town. He bought his ticket onboard and tried to swallow a sense of
He boarded the northbound train in Baltimore dressed as a sailor. He carried questionable identification documents, and some travel money given him by the woman he soon would marry.
The words were meant to be spoken, not sung. It was supposed to be a speech honoring Abraham Lincoln—born nine decades earlier, assassinated half a century later, yet still revered at Stanton Normal High School in Jacksonville, Florida, where the principal was a son of the city, James Weldon Johnson.
The question of slavery, and whether and when it should end, divided America from its inception, and eventually moved the nation toward Civil War. The dispute reached a peak on Dec. 20, 1860, when South Carolina passed the first Ordinance of Secession from the Union. South Carolina’s secession was followed by the secession of Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas, and the threat of secession by Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina, according to the Library of Congress. Those 11 states formed the Confederate States of America.