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Fri, 07.05.1878

Jesse Max Barber, Dentist, and Journalist born

Jesse Barber

*Jesse Barber was born on this date in 1878.  He was a Black journalist, teacher, and dentist. Born in Blackstock, South Carolina, to former slave parents.   

Jesse Max Barber was educated at Benedict College and Virginia Union University, where he was student editor of the University Journal and president of the Literary Society. After graduation in 1903, he began working for the Voice of the Negro, a monthly literary magazine founded in 1904 in Atlanta, eventually becoming its editor-in-chief.  Barber, one of the founders of the Niagara Movement in 1905, sought out younger and more radical Black writers for the Voice. By 1906 the Voice was the leading black magazine in the United States, with a circulation of 15,000.  

In 1906, after the Atlanta Riots, Barber faced threats from white vigilantes and was forced to flee to Chicago. He could not secure financial backing for his magazine, and Voice of the Negro folded in 1907. Barber's radicalism had made him an enemy of Booker T. Washington, whose interventions caused Barber to lose jobs as a newspaper editor in Chicago and as a teacher in Philadelphia. To escape Washington's influence, in 1909, Barber retrained at the Philadelphia Dental School, and on graduation in 1912, he set up a Philadelphia dental practice.  Jesse Max Baber died on September 20, 1949.

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