Samuel Cornish and John Russwurm: First Freedom’s Journal Editorial

(1827)

About the Author

The first editorial in Freedom’s Journal was penned by the senior and junior editors, Samuel E. Cornish and John B. Russwurm, respectively. They edited the paper together for six months, until Cornish decided to resign, leaving full editorship to Russwurm. The paper went on under Russwurm for another year and a half before it ceased publication, mainly for financial reasons.

Samuel Cornish was born a free African American in Delaware around 1795. In 1815 he moved to Philadelphia, where he taught in a Presbyterian school. He started his studies with ministers in the Philadelphia Presbytery in 1817 and had earned his license to preach by 1819. During the summer and fall of 1820, Cornish went to live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland as a missionary to slaves but found the hypocrisy of the so-called Christian slaveholders unspeakably horrible. Cornish later moved to New York City and founded the First Colored Presbyterian Church, the state’s first African...

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Woodcut image of a supplicant male slave in chains (Library of Congress)

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