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The Twin City star. [volume] : (Minneapolis, Minn.) 1910-19??
Place of publication:
Minneapolis, Minn.
Geographic coverage:
  • Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Smith & Hale
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (June 2, 1910)-
  • English
  • African Americans--Minnesota--Newspapers.
  • African Americans.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00799558
  • Minneapolis (Minn.)--Newspapers.
  • Minnesota--Minneapolis.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204260
  • Minnesota.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204560
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Available on microfilm from the Minnesota Historical Society.
sn 90060427
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The Twin City star. [volume] June 2, 1910 , Image 1


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The Twin City Star

The Twin City Star, published weekly from 1910 to 1919, was the first African American newspaper with long-term success to originate from Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Star was an important source for news for the regional black community for nearly a decade, offering competition in that marketplace with the venerable Appeal published across the river in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Minnesota's African American population had doubled since the launch of the Appeal in 1885, so the Twin City Star was able to tap into increased regional demand for news.

Throughout its nine-year run, the guiding light behind the Star was Charles Sumner Smith. Smith was born in Petersburg, Virginia, and was said to have gotten his newspaper training there. Smith wore many hats while running the Star; he was described in a 1912 profile in the Pittsburgh Courier as "editor, compositor, proofreader, subscription agent, advertising agent, office boy and general manager." Smith was an able publisher and was active in the National Negro Press Association, at one point serving as an officer with the group.

The Twin City Star was a typical African American weekly of its era. Normally four pages in length--it briefly expanded to an eight page paper in 1917--the Star blended local and national reports with a good portion of its space devoted to advertisements featuring Minnesota black businesses and social items.

Like many papers of its time, the Star was only marginally successful financially. In 1917 the paper warned its readers that it might go out of business without more subscribers. Two years later the newspaper ceased operations. Smith did start another African American paper in 1921 called the Minneapolis Messenger and said the reason he didn't call it the Star was because another paper in Minneapolis was by then using that name.

The Twin City Star is a fine window into the activities of African Americans in an important Midwest community. In particular, the paper provided mid-American perspective on the civil rights struggles of the second decade of the century including a Minnesota take on the polarizing politics of President Woodrow Wilson and the role of African Americans in the First World War.

Areas of strong local coverage also of interest to national readers include a bill to ban interracial marriage in Minnesota in 1913; multiple attempts to bar the showing of the film The Birth of a Nation in the region; the growth of Minnesota's NAACP; and coverage of prominent Minnesota attorneys of color, including two of national stature: Fredrick McGhee and William T. Francis. Other highlights include the paper's coverage of the local labor scene and regional vice and crime stories.

Charles Sumner Smith possessed a feisty, progressive editorial voice, and Star readers may also be intrigued to learn of his verbal-- and sometimes physical--battles with editors of other regional black newspapers.

Provided by: Minnesota Historical Society; Saint Paul, MN