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The American guide. [volume] : (Little Rock, Ark.) 1889-1???
Place of publication:
Little Rock, Ark.
Geographic coverage:
  • Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
J.E. Bush
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1889.
  • English
  • African American newspapers--Arkansas.
  • African American newspapers.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00799278
  • African Americans--Arkansas--Little Rock--Newspapers.
  • African Americans.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00799558
  • Arkansas--Little Rock.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01206922
  • Arkansas--Pulaski County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01208517
  • Arkansas.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204809
  • Little Rock (Ark.)--Newspapers.
  • Pulaski County (Ark.)--Newspapers.
  • Available on microfilm from the Library of Congress, Photoduplication Service.
  • Description based on: New ser., v. 4, no. 11 (Mar. 28, 1896).
  • Latest issue consulted: New ser., v. 11, no. 20 (Jan. 27, 1900).
sn 83025496
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The American guide. [volume] March 28, 1896 , Image 1


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The American Guide

Little Rock is the Pulaski County seat and state capital in central Arkansas. In 1863, during the Civil War, the city fell to Union forces, and the Confederate capital moved to Washington, Arkansas. Arkansas's capital returned to Little Rock at the end of the war in 1865. That same year the city hosted the Convention of Colored Citizens, a meeting of Black residents who strived for more civil rights after emancipation, including suffrage and education. This was the first of many Black operated businesses and associations opening in Little Rock during Reconstruction. Arkansas's first governor elected during Reconstruction was Powell Clayton, a Union general who moved to Arkansas after the war.

John E. Bush was born enslaved in Moscow, Tennessee in 1856. As Federal soldiers advanced through Tennessee at the end of the Civil War, Bush's enslaver fled the state, taking Bush and his mother with him to Arkansas. After emancipation, Bush settled in Little Rock. He graduated from Little Rock High School with honors in 1876. In the 1880s, he entered politics, rising to the position of secretary of the Pulaski County Republican Party in 1892. In the factious Republican Party, he was loyal to former governor and senator Powell Clayton. In 1883, John E. Bush and businessperson Chester W. Keatts, concerned about the lack of affordable insurance for Black Americans, founded a fraternal organization designed to provide insurance for members of the Black community. They named the organization the Mosaic Templars of America. Soon, there were chapters across the country, with the headquarters in Little Rock.

Needing a way to promote the organization, Bush started the American Guide newspaper in 1885. This newspaper was published on Little Rock's Ninth Street, a business district that catered to a largely Black clientele. In addition to covering the activities of the organization, Bush's paper advocated for the Republican Party. He appointed David G. Hill to serve as editor of the paper. A weekly paper, it struggled to stay in business. Bush closed the paper from 1886 to 1888. He reopened the paper in 1889, printing the reopening date on the newspaper's masthead as the establishment date, despite the earlier publications. In 1896, the Guide promoted ad space to potential advertisers by printing a note that it had a city circulation "equal to that of any weekly paper published in Little Rock and has double that of any Negro paper published in the city."

In 1898, President Benjamin Harrison appointed Bush to the position of Receiver of the General Land Office. With new responsibilities, Bush had little time to run his newspaper and he sold it to W.A. Singfield, with David G. Hill continuing as editor. By 1904, Singfield renamed the paper the Mosaic Guide to reflect its purpose as the official organ of the Mosaic Templars of America. The newspaper continued until the 1930s when the Little Rock headquarters of the Mosaic Templars of America closed.

Note: A portion of the issues digitized for this newspaper were microfilmed as part of the Miscellaneous Negro newspapers microfilm collection, a 12 reel collection containing issues of African American newspapers published in the U.S. throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Creation of the microfilm project was sponsored by the Committee on Negro Studies of the American Council of Learned Societies in 1947. For more information on the microfilm collection, see: Negro Newspapers on Microfilm, a Selected List (Library of Congress), published in 1953. While this collection contains selections from more than 150 U.S. newspapers titles, for further coverage, view a complete list of all digitized African American titles available in the Chronicling America collection.

Provided by: Arkansas State Archives