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News Research

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The Phoenix Tribune: Arizona's First African American Newspaper

by Mary Feeney on 2019-03-18T20:41:00-07:00 in News & Newspapers, History, Africana Studies (African American & African) | Comments

The first African American newspaper in Arizona was the Phoenix Tribune, started by Arthur Randolph Smith in March 1918. In its first year of publication, the weekly newspaper carried news of World War I and the contributions of African Americans to the war efforts, as well as reporting on issues of discrimination in the Red Cross and at army camps.

Front page of the Phoenix Tribune newspaper, April 12, 1919

Front page of the Phoenix Tribune, April 12, 1919

Over the years, the newspaper had headlines about anti-lynching laws, carried news from around the country, and published articles of importance to the community, such as a profile of Dr. W. C. Hackett, the first African American licensed physician in Arizona who started the Booker T. Washington Memorial Hospital in Phoenix. Local news and community happenings, as well as advertisements for local business, also filled the paper.

At the beginning of its tenth year, the newspaper's editorial page stated that the Tribune “is the people’s paper,” that the population of Phoenix was 60,000, of whom 5,000 were African American, and that “events of importance among this group should take precedence over any other.” By about 1931, the newspaper had ceased publication. It gives us a picture of the African American community in Phoenix in the early twentieth century. 

The Phoenix Tribune is being digitized as part of a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant for the National Digital Newspaper Program. It is included in Chronicling America from the Library of Congress. 

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