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Black Girlhood in the Nineteenth Century$
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Nazera Sadiq Wright

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040573

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040573.001.0001

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Black Girlhood in the Early Black Press

Black Girlhood in the Early Black Press

(p.23) 1. Black Girlhood in the Early Black Press
Black Girlhood in the Nineteenth Century

Nazera Sadiq Wright

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines how black girls were represented in the earliest extant examples of the black press by focusing on Freedom's Journal, published from 1827 to 1829, and the Colored American (1837–1841). Articles about black girlhood in the early black press offer insights into the everyday struggles of African Americans in the early republic. In a sense, early black newspapers served as conduct manuals as they emphasized the model family, encouraging readers to be temperate, industrious, and pursue intellectual development through literacy and education. Although the ideal black family figured prominently in both Freedom's Journal and the Colored American, this chapter argues that the stories and columns they published reveal stress and struggle in black households in the early decades of the nation. It cites the striking absence of black mothers in these articles in the heyday of the ideal of republican motherhood, an indication that many black mothers were working for wages outside the home.

Keywords:   black girls, black press, Freedom's Journal, Colored American, black girlhood, African Americans, black newspapers, black family, black households, black mothers

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