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Sun, 04.09.1876

The Peoples Advocate Newspaper is Published

The People's Advocate Vol 1-No May 4 6, 1876

*On this date in 1876, The People's Advocate published its first edition. This was among the first weekly African American-owned and operated newspapers in Virginia. It was the first African American newspaper in Alexandria, Virginia.   

The People's Advocate was a newspaper founded by Traverse B. Pinn Sr., its first publisher and business manager, and John Wesley Cromwell Jr., who served as its editor. Its motto was "Principles, not men, but men as the representatives of principles." In addition to the standard daily news stories, it reported on education, water rights, zoning laws, public transportation, and voting rights for underserved and underrepresented black communities.

The following is a quote from an early publication of The People's Advocate:  "Now that the pistol and bowie knife has begun again their murderous work in Mississippi and Louisiana, we may expect again to see the independent press crammed with sensational and unreliable stories about the general uprising of the Negroes to exterminate the whites. These outrageous lies at the beginning of each election year are manufactured to conceal their murderous outrages." 

In its early months of operating, the Virginian Republican State Convention endorsed it and was widely distributed across the state. It was also funded and supported by the local Republican clubs in Alexandria, including the 4th Ward Republican Club. Across the state, it received high praise for its coverage of issues pertinent to Black Virginians and its elevated discussions of those issues. John Cromwell moved operations to Washington D.C. in 1878 and continued to serve the African American communities of D.C. until at least 1891.

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