The Black Press Has a Long History in San Antonio


One of the first black newspapers in San Antonio points to a 1800s black paper, whose name I have not discovered at this point, that was created on the printing press of a German abolitionist named Adolph Douai.  Douai was ran out of San Antonio and forced to abandon his printing press here.  According to a paper printed by union activists, a copy of which was maintained in New Haven, Connecticut, and was called the “Workman Advocate,” this report was gleaned from its pages in 1888: “This paper, which is owned, edited, and whose type are by Negroes is printed upon the same press with which Dr. Douai first battled for the emancipation of the black man. He has the gratitude of the colored race who will ever remember his endeavors in behalf of freedom.”  


The name of Douai’s paper was the Zeitung. Douai advocated a free state within Texas in 1855, and according to the Texas State Historical Association, “The Zeitung at first was educational and literary in tone, but within a short time Douai began to use it as a platform for abolitionist views. In a series of editorials he attacked the institution of slavery as an evil incompatible with democratic government and called for a nation of ‘free tillers of their own soil.’ Douai's protest elicited a storm of controversy and fueled the growth of the American (Know-Nothing) party in Texas.”   Slave owners in San Antonio supported the racist program of the Know Nothing Party, which resulted in the election of several San Antonio mayors. San Antonio was as racist as any other southern city in its time.


African American newspapers provide an anti-racist point of view at a time when America seethed with racial hatred. During the early part of 1919 the first black news service was created in opposition to the policies of Marcus Garvey. The black organization that opposed Garvey was the African Blood Brotherhood (ABB), which saw Garvey as a sell-out to white racist schemes to remove blacks from America to further the aims of a “white America” free from a black presence.  According to Cyril Briggs, in a 1958 letter to Theodore Draper, the Crusader News Service was the first African News Service in the United States that was used extensively used by black newspapers around the country because it was free. 


These papers reported on current events from the perspective of the oppressed and contained editorials denouncing slavery, lynching, segregation, and other injustices.African American newspapers were the true voice of democracy in a land in which there was only democracy for whites.  Racialized whites created a society based on slavery, racism, and injustice. America was founded upon injustice, not on justice, and this is not what a society that refuses to accept its ugly racial past wants to hear.  Truthful history reveals that the Civil War was absolutely about slavery. The original Texas Rangers become racialized killers, hell-bent on killing Mexicans and those that did not support white supremacist institutions. 


Fortunately, many of the myths are being revealed in most of the press nowadays. “Southern heritage” is being exposed as a propaganda ploy, based on the institution of slavery and hatred, and cannot be viewed outside of its ugly racist past. Confederates soldiers were forced to be the protectors of an evil system of race supremacy. There were thousands of whites that opposed racism, white supremacy, and slavery, but have been ignored by southern historians. This is recorded in the fact that poor whites refused induction into Robert E. Lee’s Confederate army and became “Jayhawker” guerillas.  



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