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About Huntsville gazette. [volume] (Huntsville, Ala.) 1879-1894
Huntsville, Ala. (1879-1894)
- Huntsville gazette. [volume] : (Huntsville, Ala.) 1879-1894
- Alternative Titles:
- Weekly gazette
- Place of publication:
- Huntsville, Ala.
- Geographic coverage:
- Huntsville Gazette Co.
- Dates of publication:
- Vol. 1, no. 1 (Nov. 22, 1879)-v. 16, no. 5 (Dec. 29, 1894).
- African American newspapers--Alabama.
- African American newspapers.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00799278
- African Americans--Alabama--Newspapers.
- African Americans.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00799558
- Alabama--Madison County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204324
- Huntsville (Ala.)--Newspapers.
- Madison County (Ala.)--Newspapers.
- Available on microfilm from the Library of Congress, Photoduplication Service Section.
- sn 84020151
- View complete holdings information
- First Issue Last Issue
The Huntsville Gazette was published during the post-Reconstruction era, when Alabama state politics shifted back toward Democratic Party control. Democrats sought a return to the pre-Civil War status quo, especially with regard to the rights of African Americans. Remarkably, given this context, African American former schoolteacher and principal Charles Hendley assumed editorship of the newspaper. His Gazette, which ran from November 1879 to the end of 1894, was one of two Republican newspapers in Huntsville at the time, and one of the most successful Black newspapers in Alabama before the twentieth century.
The Gazette's viewpoint was decidedly Republican, supporting the party's candidates locally and nationally and arguing against Democratic policies. Otherwise, Hendley's editorial style reflected the tendency of many minority presses to accommodate the dominant white culture, so the paper was neutral in tone and measured in its coverage of day-to-day southern life. For example, in August 1891, a sentence mentioned Confederate veterans in a manner similar to how it discussed those of the Grand Army of the Republic, a Union veterans group, and the paper elsewhere noted that a "long looked-for statue of Jefferson Davis," the Confederate president, was set to be delivered to Jackson, Mississippi. On the other hand, an editorial comment in the same issue called out segregation on train cars, while an article pointed out that the new Kentucky state constitution replaced the last such document that still condoned slavery.
The Gazette covered news from the local to the international. Most of the national coverage was political; during this period that meant following the ups and downs of the Republican Party, which was no longer dominant for the first time since before the Civil War. Regional happenings of note were covered in a front-page roundup column called Southern Gleanings. There was occasional coverage of Alabama politics and more frequent reporting on news events, the cotton market, and developments in the iron and steel industry and related technologies. International news was generally confined to important political events or major disasters. Some of this was reported in the section Condensed Telegrams, which revealed the impact of that technology on the newspaper business. In addition to news and opinion, the Gazette included advertisements for everything from dry goods and patent medicines to pianos and sewing machines. Page 4 frequently featured a section called In Woman's Behalf that mixed news and essays about women and women's issues.
Topics of interest to African American readers were, of course, a major emphasis of the Gazette's reporting. The paper especially chronicled the activities of organizations that helped the community improve itself, such as Black schools, churches, and fraternal groups. It also shared a wide range of news that was not likely to be covered in the mainstream white press, objectively or at all—for example, the disenfranchisement of Black voters in Mississippi and the substantial philanthropy of a Black attorney in Philadelphia. A column called News and Sentiment brought briefs from across the country, as gleaned from exchanges with other Black newspapers.
On December 29, 1894, the newspaper announced its suspension due to a failure to meet its debts. In that notice, Hendley took the time to express his appreciation to his fellow editors and thank the paper's "faithful friends and supporters, white and black," wishing them a "Happy New Year" to come.
Provided by: University of Alabama Libraries, Tuscaloosa, AL