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The Afro-American advance. [volume] : (Minneapolis, Minn. ;) 1899-19??
Place of publication:
Minneapolis, Minn. ;
Geographic coverage:
  • Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
  • Saint Paul, Ramsey, Minnesota  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Advance Pub. Co.
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 16 (May 27, 1899)-
  • English
  • African American newspapers--Minnesota.
  • African American newspapers.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00799278
  • African Americans--Minnesota--Minneapolis--Newspapers.
  • African Americans--Minnesota--Saint Paul--Newspapers.
  • African Americans.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00799558
  • Minneapolis (Minn.)--Newspapers.
  • Minnesota--Minneapolis.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204260
  • Minnesota--Saint Paul.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01212130
  • Minnesota.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204560
  • Saint Paul (Minn.)--Newspapers.
  • Available on microfilm from the Minnesota Historical Society.
  • Formed by the union of: Colored citizen (Minneapolis, Minn.) (non-extant), and: Twin-City American.
  • Latest issue consulted: (Nov. 17, 1900).
sn 86058061
Preceding Titles:
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The Afro-American advance. [volume] May 27, 1899 , Image 1


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Twin-City American and Afro-American Advance

The Twin-City American was first published on May 4, 1899, by J. M. Griffin, an African American editor, businessman, and aspiring lawyer. It was managed by McCants Stewart, another African American lawyer. The weekly, four-page, seven-columned paper served the Twin Cities, St. Paul and Minneapolis, with offices in both cities. It also had regular correspondence from Washington, D.C. from Lina Essie Jean, an African American public-school teacher. According to its first issue, "the American [believed] that it [supplied] a long felt need in the Northwest." The paper was promoted as "a thoroughly independent race journal in character." The Twin-City American devoted much space to local, state, and national news. The paper reported on church and social activities, racial discrimination in the real estate and rental businesses, Booker T. Washington, African American colonization of Africa, and employment equality. It included advertisements of local African American businesses. The paper focused on the "Race Problem," specifically the increase in lynching and mob violence in states like Georgia and South Carolina. Griffin used editorials to criticize these crimes and applaud any steps toward justice.

The Twin-City American joined numerous other African American newspapers including the Afro-Independent, Minneapolis Observer, and Negro World in St. Paul and Minneapolis, MN. They all competed to represent the growing African American communities in the state. The papers were caught between the continuous migration of African Americans from the South, the aftermath of Reconstruction, and increasing racial violence nationwide. Some African American papers like the long-running Western Appeal started in 1885, later known as the Appeal, were Republican papers. Other newspapers, like the Afro-Independent and the Twin-City American, were Democratic and Independent, respectively. At the turn of the century, these papers highlighted African American discontent and changing political attitudes characteristic of the Progressive Era.

The Twin-City American reported in its last known issue on May 18, 1899 that "there has been nothing but praise" for the paper. However, after three weekly issues, it merged with another African American weekly, the Colored Citizen published by J.C. Reid. Reid was an African American lawyer and preacher. The papers became the Afro-American Advance. Griffin fell sick with the flu shortly after the consolidation. Reid became proprietor and editor of the paper. Stewart remained the business manager.

The Afro-American Advance was also a weekly paper and retained some of the same structure and content as the Twin-City American. The paper had extended columns on "Prominent Minnesota Afro-Americans," lynching in the South, and national and international news like the Spanish-American and South African Boer Wars. It also maintained that it had an "independent" policy, although it often circulated the National Republican Party Ticket. With the merger, the paper boasted that it reached "the homes of more than twice as many people as either of the other papers" with a 15,000 circulation.

Reid experienced racial discrimination as editor. He moved South as reported in the paper's January 13, 1900 issue. James L. Curtis, an African American lawyer from North Carolina, became the editor. Reid briefly returned as editor from March 10-24, 1900. Florence Duckett, also known as Mrs. George Duckett, an African American graduate from Lincoln University of Missouri, became the associate editor. They reassured subscribers that they would "attempt to give them an organ of some literary value." In the Afro-American Advance's first anniversary issue on March 3, 1900, Griffin and Duckett included photographs of everyone involved in the paper's history and recounted the paper's beginnings. They proudly wrote that "the Advance stands upon solid financial basis."

In its final year, the Afro-American Advance became more progressive regarding women's rights, interests, and employment. Duckett became publisher and manager of the paper on March 31, 1900. The newspaper showcased special advances from prominent African American women including Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Victoria Earle Matthews. Duckett published and managed the paper's last issues, and she dedicated more of the paper's space to women's issues and advertisements. Duckett featured stories, poetry, and correspondence by women, and she hired women of all ages to assist with the paper. The Afro-American Advance folded later that year without stating a cause. Its last known issue was published on November 17, 1900.

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: Library of Congress, Washington, DC