Newseum exhibit ‘One Nation with News for All’ highlights minority and immigrant press


Frederick Douglass's Watch. Publisher Frederick Douglass crusaded against slavery using his newspaper The North Star. His pocket watch, from the late 1800s, is inscribed "F. Douglass" on the back. (Sarah Mercier/Newseum; Courtesy Howard University Museum)
May 10

Since the early days of the republic, immigrants and minorities have used the power of the press to inform and educate, but also to help drive social change, fight for equal rights and crusade against injustice. Their achievements are noted in a new exhibit opening at the Newseum on May 16. “One Nation With News for All,” created in partnership with the Smithsonian’s “Our American Journey” project, features relics from Benjamin Franklin’s composing stick to contemporary Univision press passes.

by Roger Catlin

Since the early days of the republic, immigrants and minorities have used the power of the press to inform and educate, but also to help drive social change, fight for equal rights and crusade against injustice. Their achievements are noted in a new exhibit opening at the Newseum May 16. “One Nation with News for All,” created in partnership with the Smithsonian’s “Our American Journey” project, features relics from Benjamin Franklin’s composing stick to contemporary Univision press passes.

1732

The year that Benjamin Franklin, among his many publishing projects, founded the country’s first foreign-language newspaper, the Philadelphische Zeitung, in German.

2

Number of issues Franklin printed of Philadelphische Zeitung before it folded. German immigrants didn’t take to it.

1808

Date of the earliest known Spanish-language newspaper in the United States, El Misisipi. Its first four-page edition was printed in New Orleans for Spanish exiles who opposed Napoleon’s conquest of Spain.

1827

The year that two African American freedmen in New York, Samuel Cornish and John B. Russwurm, started the first black newspaper, Freedom’s Journal, in order “to plead our own cause,” according to a statement in the first edition.

36

Years between the launch of Freedom’s Journal and the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln.

1828

Year that the first Native American newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix, began publishing, in both Cherokee and English, in New Echota, the capital of the Cherokee Nation (near present-day Calhoun, Ga.). It continued publishing until 1834. Revived in the 20th century, it currently publishes monthly in print and online from Tahlequah, Okla.

1854

The year that the first Asian American newspaper, the Golden Hills News, launched in San Francisco, as an information clearinghouse for Chinese who came to California during its Gold Rush.

2001

The year Korean American Phil Yu began his Angry Asian Man blog to fight stereotypes he faced while attending Northwestern University. It later became an award-winning podcast.

50

Number of ethnic media news outlets represented in “One Nation With News for All.”

60

Number of artifacts in the exhibit, from the diary of crusading journalist Ida B. Wells of the Memphis Free Speech, to the engraved pocket watch of Frederick Douglass, publisher of the abolitionist newspaper the North Star in Rochester, N.Y.

3

Number of press passes on display from Korean American journalist K.W. Lee, whose reporting for the Sacramento Union of a wrongful conviction of a Korean immigrant won the prisoner’s release in 1983.

25

Percentage of Americans who turn to ethnic media for their news, according to the New America Foundation.

“One Nation With News for All” opens May 16 at the Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, and runs through Jan. 4. Call 888-639-7386 or visit www.newseum.org.

Catlin is a freelance writer.

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