African American Newspapers in the Minnesota Digital Newspaper Hub:
African American Newspapers in Minneapolis and St. Paul, 1885-1925
While the Appeal (1888-1923), and its predecessor the Western Appeal (1885-1888), was the most widely circulated and best known Minnesota African American newspaper of its day, it had many competitors. During the period from 1888 to 1922, no fewer than fourteen different newspapers also emerged as sources of news and information for the growing community of educated black citizens in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota.
Like other newspapers of the day, these publications devoted a large portion of their coverage to national and state news. Local and social news of interest to the African American community was also prominently featured, often alongside the national news on the front page. Readers could expect to be informed in such matters as who had been elected president of the Elks Lodge, whether or not the Pastor's wife would be joining him for Sunday services, and how customers like the new soda fountain the café recently installed. In addition, businesses advertising in these papers often made a special effort to call attention to the fact that they were African American-owned.
While there were numerous other African American newspapers that existed in Minneapolis and St. Paul at the same time as the Appeal, most of these publications only lasted for a few months. The diversity of opinions reflected in the large number of African American newspapers produced during this period in Minnesota’s history in many ways mirrored the changing social and economic landscape of the state. While Minnesota would see other African American newspapers published in the years following these, the state would not see again a time in which so many would exist at once.