Black Newspapers - CSPM

Black Newspapers

Throughout its history, Colorado Springs has had at least ten Black newspapers, beginning with The Western Enterprise, published in the 1890s. The African American Voice, founded by James Tucker in 1991 while serving in the Colorado National Guard in Iraq, is the longest-running Black monthly newspaper in Southern Colorado. Tucker described the goal of the paper as, “…to awaken the larger community to the needs and untapped potential of African Americans in Colorado…”

– From the CSPM Curator of History

In 1886 Frank Loper, who had been born into slavery on the plantation of the Confederate States’ President Jefferson Davis, came to Colorado Springs. Loper became the Head Waiter at the Antler’s hotel and in 1897, along with two other waiters, W.E. King and James Booker, founded the Antlers Publishing Co. The three men published Colorado Springs’ second African American newspaper, the first being The Western Chronicle, titled The Colorado Springs Sun. These newspapers played a critical role in informing and uniting the African American community in the city, beginning a tradition that has continued to this day.

As African Americans began moving west in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, they, like all Americans, began to form new communities and social institutions. Churches, such as the People’s Methodist Episcopal Church which Frank Loper helped found in the early 1900s, played an important role in this process.

So too did newspapers. The stated goal of the Sun was to fulfill “the need of an independent, reliable organ, wherein the Afro­Americans of this city…could find expression of their best thought and material progress.”” In many ways these newspapers were not dissimilar from their white counterparts. They advertised local businesses and charitable events, and published stories about both local and national news. The difference, however, was that they also included stories about subjects relevant to the African American experience that would not otherwise be discussed in print.

The existence of newspapers focused on the African American experience have persisted consistently throughout Colorado Springs’ history. In the 1930’s The Voice of Colorado discussed topics such as lynching and racial segregation at Prospect Lake. In the 1980’s the Colorado Springs Crusader was published with the intention of producing “a quality community newspaper…to report on all minority activities.” In 1991, while serving in Iraq, James Tucker founded the African American Voice Newspaper, which is still in publication and focuses on issues related to Denver, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. African American newspapers have played a critical, and continual, role in uniting and recognizing the African American communities of Colorado Springs and the Front Range. These newspapers were built on the ideology of community and communication. From former slaves to war veterans, members of the African American community of Colorado Springs have made sure there that their voices, interests, and concerns have been recognized.

Generously Submitted by Patrick Lee, CSPM Museum Technician

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