The Appeal

Western appeal (St. Paul, Minn.) 1885-1889 Browse the title

The appeal (St. Paul, Minn.; Minneapolis, Minn.) 1889-1924 Browse the title

The Western Appeal and the Appeal were noted African American weekly newspapers published in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Western Appeal began in 1885 and was conceived as a source of news and information for the burgeoning educated black population in the upper Midwest. The newspaper strived to be a source of local and national news, as well as a hub for local advertising from black-owned businesses. Though the Western Appeal had its start in St. Paul, it quickly broadened its circulation to cover Minneapolis and Chicago. In 1889, to further seek a national standing, the newspaper dropped “Western” from its title and became simply the Appeal. The Appeal was decidedly Republican in tone, a stance that often was at odds with the views of its intended audience.  Personal news of interest to African Americans in St. Paul and elsewhere appeared in both newspapers. These items included marriages and deaths of prominent American blacks, particularly in the Midwest. There were also regular columns on the African American community in St. Louis and Chicago. Local items focused on events in St. Paul, Minneapolis, and occasionally Duluth. Advertising for African American merchants and services, such as hotels, restaurants and barber shops, was also a prominent feature of the Appeal.

The first years of the Western Appeal were fairly tumultuous. After its establishment in 1885, the Western Appeal was published by the Parker Burgett & Hardy Publishing Company. After lackluster returns, Mr. Parker resigned as editor, necessitating a reorganization of the newspaper. To inject new life and vitality into the publication, the company approached John Quincy Adams, a young newspaper editor from the Louisville Bulletin and a Western Appeal news correspondent, to join the Western Appeal as an associate. Adams gladly accepted and was henceforth tied to the publication, acting as co-editor, editor, contributing author, and, from 1888 until his death in 1922, sole proprietor.

Adams wrote forceful editorials for the rights of African Americans. He participated in Minnesota Republican party politics and was involved in civic life in St. Paul. But over time, as the African American community split between the followers of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois, Adams’ strong support for Washington caused his reputation to suffer. The Appeal became less relevant politically and regionally, and by 1913 its offices in Dallas, Washington, Louisville, St. Louis, and Chicago had closed, leaving only its offices in St. Paul and Minneapolis. Following Adams’ death on September 4, 1922, the Appeal memorialized Adams with excerpts from many of his bold editorials. On January 1, 1924, the Northwestern Bulletin, another African American publication from St. Paul, announced the purchase of the Appeal. In 1925, shortly after the merger, the Northwestern Bulletin-Appeal closed its doors, bringing an end to one of the longest running publications of its kind in the upper Midwest.


Taylor, David V. "John Quincy Adams: St. Paul Editor and Black Leader", Minnesota History 43, (Winter 1973): 282-296.