The Northwestern Bulletin

The northwestern bulletin (St. Paul, Minn.; Minneapolis, Minn.) 1922-1924  Browse the title

The northwestern bulletin-appeal (St. Paul, Minn.; Minneapolis, Minn.) 1924-1925  Browse the title

The African American weekly Northwestern Bulletin was founded in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in early 1922 by college-age friends Walter H. Chesnutt and Roy Wilkins. Chesnutt served as managing editor, and University of Minnesota journalism student Wilkins served as editor. The Northwestern Bulletin was launched during a tumultuous time for Minnesota’s African American press. No fewer than six different black newspapers served the Minnesota market between 1920 and 1922. The Appeal newspaper--long the leader in the regional market--was nearing the end of its publishing cycle and a new generation of young newspaper editors looked for ways to break into the business. The challenging and exciting times for the newspaper business were reflected in many staffing changes and a merger during the paper’s three-year run.

As a member of the Associated Negro Press, the Northwestern Bulletin published general and feature news from national correspondents, as well as local stories of interest. In April 1923, Walter Chesnutt died of scarlet fever, aged only 20, and Roy Wilkins left the Northwestern Bulletin to edit the Appeal. Pioneering female African American newspaperwoman Aimee Hall was then named the paper’s managing editor with S. Quay Herndon serving as editor.

Merger talks with the Appeal began in the summer of 1923 and were finalized in the first week of 1924. The resulting paper was then known as the Northwestern Bulletin-Appeal. Owen Howell served as president and publisher and John Quincy Adams Jr. as printing manager. Citing a steadily declining interest in the paper, Howell stopped publication of the Northwestern Bulletin-Appeal in July 1924, only to resume two months later with the aid of investors and renewed public interest. However, less than a year later Howell sold off his share in the paper, and publication halted completely shortly thereafter. The exact end date of the Northwestern Bulletin-Appeal is not known, but the last issue in the collection of the Minnesota Historical Society is dated August 15, 1925.

In addition to offering a window into the careers of Roy Wilkins (later head of the NAACP) and Aimee Hall, the Northwestern Bulletin provided robust regional coverage of Minnesota’s African American community. One particular strength was coverage of pioneering African American women in the region including Mayme Donovan, Nellie Francis, and Ethel Ray. The Ku Klux Klan’s activities in Minnesota were well documented in the paper, as was the little-known African American community in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Sports coverage was another strength, including stories on two local pioneering African American NFL players, Bobby Marshall and Dick Hudson. Of possible interest to users, the African American newspaper Twin-City Herald inherited the archives of the Northwestern Bulletin-Appeal and used photos from that paper’s archives during the 1930s; the Herald ceased publication in 1940.