What the Editors Reprinted

Reprinting pieces from other periodicals and published texts was a common practice in nineteenth century print culture. Many of Black newspapers did not have enough agents, correspondents, and resources to maintain profitable publications, relying heavily on other periodicals as alternative news sources for first-hand reports. In the case of the Black newspapers in this project, total 287 different periodicals were reprinted, quoted, or mentioned, often more than once, in sixty-five issues out of the fourteen newspapers. However, for Black editors, the reprinting practice was not merely a way of saving the cost of newspaper publication. It, rather, was a savvy editorial strategy to establish journalistic authority through direct and indirect conversations among printed materials. Data visualization about reprinted periodicals in the early Black newspapers of Ohio also invites us to spatial thinking in which we can imagine African Americans on the constant move literally and metaphorically to publish and circulate newspapers.

Black newspaper editors could collect and reprint a variety of contemporary periodicals by hiring agents. Agents recruited subscribers, collected fees, delivered printed copies, and sent news including other papers to designated regions, while most of them maintained their own occupations. The Palladium of Liberty (1843-1844) is notable because at least 116 agents from five different states and even from England served the paper, as it published their names and locations. This interactive map below shows that the agents of the Palladium of Liberty were active in the Midwest.