By Britney Henry, Special Collections Graduate Assistant
“A View from the Vault” showcases some of the unique, notable or rare items that are a part of the Special Collections and Museums holdings at the University of Delaware. Each month, we highlight a different item and share interesting facts or intriguing histories about it. If you are interested in seeing any of the materials featured in person or want to learn more about anything showcased in the series, please contact Special Collections and Museums at AskSpec or AskMuseums.
Published in 1891, The Afro-American Press and Its Editors is one of the earliest books to analyze Black newspapers across the nation. It consists of two parts and 28 chapters that feature Black newspapers such as Freedom’s Journal, The Colored American, North Star and more.
The book was written by Irvine Garland Penn, who identifies himself on the title page as an educator in Lynchburg, Virginia, and a former editor of the African American newspaper . On the title page, you will also find a list of contributors to the book, which include Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, John Mercer Langston and N. F. Mossell.
Before the introduction, readers are met with the following dedication, “to the unconquerable host of Afro-Americans who are laying their sacrifices upon the editorial altar for their race, this volume is respectfully dedicated.”
A formative piece for the cultural and historical memory of the Black press, the book preserves the beginnings of the Black press and its editors.