Timothy Thomas Fortune
|Born||October 3, 1856|
Marianna, Florida, U.S.
|Died||June 2, 1928 71) (aged|
|Alma mater||Stanton High School for Negroes|
|Occupation(s)||Orator, author, publisher, and African American civil rights leader|
Timothy Thomas Fortune (October 3, 1856 –June 2, 1928) was an American orator, civil rights leader, journalist, writer, editor and publisher. He was the highly influential editor of the nation's leading black newspaper The New York Age and was the leading economist in the black community. He was a long-time adviser to Booker T. Washington and was the editor of Washington's first autobiography, The Story of My Life and Work. Fortune's philosophy of militant agitation on behalf of the rights of black people laid one of the foundations of the Civil Rights Movement.
Timothy Thomas Fortune was born into slaveryin Marianna, Jackson County, Florida, to Emanuel and Sarah Jane Fortune, and started his education at Marianna's first school for African Americans after the Civil War. His family moved to Jacksonville, where he attended Edwin M. Stanton School (predecessor of Stanton College Preparatory School) He worked both as a page in the state senate and as apprentice printer at a Jacksonville newspaper during the time that his father, Emanuel, was a Reconstruction politician in Florida. At one time Fortune also worked at the Marianna Courier and later the Jacksonville Daily-Times Union . These experiences would be the start of a career in which his work was published in more than twenty books and articles and in more than three hundred editorials. In 1874 he was mail route agent and then he was promoted to customs inspector for the eastern district of Delaware but only held this position for a few months before resigning in order to attend Howard University.
Although he was mostly self-taught prior to his college enrollment in 1875, Fortune was admitted to study law. He changed his major to journalism after two semesters before leaving school altogether to begin work, in 1876, at the People's Advocate, a newspaper in Washington, D.C. On February 21, 1878, Fortune married Carrie C. Smiley (née Caroline Charlotte Smiley; 1860–1940) in Washington, D.C.
Fortune moved to New York City in 1879 and began a process whereby over the next two decades he would become known as editor and owner of a newspaper named first the Globe, then the Freeman, and finally the New York Age .
Upon arrival in New York, Fortune began working as a printer, and worked at The Weekly Witness. In 1880 he became journalist and editor of The Rumor, run by George Parker and William Walter Sampson. This journal soon changed its name to The New York Globe. [ page needed ] and one week later, on November 22, Fortune published the first issue of his New York Freeman. In the late 1880s, he was considered the greatest black newspaper writer in America. That same year he published a book entitled Black and White: Land, Labor, and Politics in the South that, along with his 1885 pamphlet, The Negro in Politics, openly challenged Frederick Douglass's dictum that "the Republican Party is the ship, all else the open sea". In 1885, The Freeman took the new name of The New York Age and set out to become "The Afro-American Journal of News and Opinion".[ citation needed ] In 1890 Fortune was elected chairman of the executive committee of the National Afro-American Press Association at their meeting in Indianapolis.The Globe closed in November 1884 after a dispute with co-editor William B. Derrick,
In Chicago on January 25, 1890, Fortune co-founded the militant National Afro-American League to right wrongs against African Americans authorized by law and sanctioned or tolerated by public opinion. [ citation needed ]The league fell apart after four years. When it was revived in Rochester, New York, on September 15, 1898, it had the new name of the "National Afro-American Council", with Bishop Alexander Walters as its first President and Fortune as a prominent member. Walters was followed as president by Fortune, who held the position from 1902 to 1904, and was succeeded by William Henry Steward. Booker T. Washington played a dominant role on the council and it included a number of important leaders, including W. E. B. Du Bois, who went on to form the NAACP, and anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells. The League and the council had a vital role in setting the stage for the Niagara Movement, NAACP, and other civil rights organizations to follow. Fortune was also the leading advocate of using "Afro-American" to identify his people. Since they are "African in origin and American in birth", it was his argument that it most accurately defined them.
With Fortune at the helm as co-owner with Emanuel Fortune, Jr., and Jerome B. Peterson, the New York Age became the most widely read of all Black newspapers. It stood at the forefront as a voice agitating against the evils of discrimination, lynching, mob violence, and disenfranchisement. Its popularity was due in part to Fortune's editorials, which condemned all forms of discrimination and demanded full justice for all African Americans. Ida B. Wells's newspaper Memphis Free Speech and Headlight had its printing press destroyed and building burned as the result of an article[ clarification needed ] published in it on May 25, 1892. Fortune then gave her a job and a new platform from which to detail and condemn lynching. His book The Kind of Education the Afro-American Most Needs was published in 1898, and Dreams of Life: Miscellaneous Poems in 1905. After a nervous breakdown, Fortune sold the New York Age to Fred R. Moore in 1907, who continued publishing it until 1960. Fortune published another book, The New York Negro in Journalism, in 1915.
In the 1900 presidential election he campaigned for William McKinley, and he was politically active in the Republican Party.However, he was noted for criticizing corruption in both parties and advocating good principles for all.
Fortune went to work as an editor at the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League's house organ, the Negro World , in 1923. Its circulation, at its height, was more than 200,000. With distribution throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and Central America.[ citation needed ]
Fortune rubbed shoulders with such literary luminaries as Zora Neale Hurston, W. A. Domingo, Hubert Harrison, and John E. Bruce.
Fortune moved to Red Bank, New Jersey, in 1901, where he built his home, Maple Hall.The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 8, 1976, and the New Jersey Register of Historic Places on August 16, 1979.
Fortune died in 1928 at the age of 71 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is interred at Eden Cemetery in Collingdale, Pennsylvania.
Ida Bell Wells-Barnett was an American investigative journalist, educator, and early leader in the civil rights movement. She was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Wells dedicated her career to combating prejudice and violence, advocating for African-American equality—especially that of women—and was a prominent Black figure.
The Niagara Movement (NM) was a black civil rights organization founded in 1905 by a group of activists—many of whom were among the vanguard of African-American lawyers in the United States—led by W. E. B. Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter. It was named for the "mighty current" of change the group wanted to effect and took Niagara Falls as its symbol. The group did not meet in Niagara Falls, New York, but planned its first conference for nearby Buffalo.
Roy Ottoway Wilkins was a prominent activist in the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from the 1930s to the 1970s. Wilkins' most notable role was his leadership of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), in which he held the title of Executive Secretary from 1955 to 1963 and Executive Director from 1964 to 1977. Wilkins was a central figure in many notable marches of the civil rights movement. He made valuable contributions in the world of African-American literature, and his voice was used to further the efforts in the fight for equality. Wilkins' pursuit of social justice also touched the lives of veterans and active service members, through his awards and recognition of exemplary military personnel.
Robert Franklin Williams was an American civil rights leader and author best known for serving as president of the Monroe, North Carolina chapter of the NAACP in the 1950s and into 1961. He succeeded in integrating the local public library and swimming pool in Monroe. At a time of high racial tension and official abuses, Williams promoted armed Black self-defense in the United States. In addition, he helped gain support for gubernatorial pardons in 1959 for two young African-American boys who had received lengthy reformatory sentences in what was known as the Kissing Case of 1958.
Mary White Ovington was an American suffragist, journalist, and co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
John Edward Bruce, also known as Bruce Grit or J. E. Bruce-Grit, was an American journalist, historian, writer, orator, civil rights activist and Pan-African nationalist. He was born a slave in Maryland; as an adult, he founded numerous newspapers along the East Coast, as well as co-founding the Negro Society for Historical Research in New York.
Mary Church Terrell was one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree, and became known as a national activist for civil rights and suffrage. She taught in the Latin Department at the M Street School —the first African American public high school in the nation—in Washington, DC. In 1895, she was the first African-American woman in the United States to be appointed to the school board of a major city, serving in the District of Columbia until 1906. Terrell was a charter member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (1909) and the Colored Women's League of Washington (1892). She helped found the National Association of Colored Women (1896) and served as its first national president, and she was a founding member of the National Association of College Women (1923).
Carl Murphy was an African-American journalist, publisher, civil rights leader, and educator. He was publisher of the Afro-American newspaper chain of Baltimore, Maryland, expanding its coverage with regional editions in several major cities of the Washington, D.C., area, as well as Newark, New Jersey, a destination of thousands of rural blacks in the Great Migration to the North.
John Preston Davis was an American journalist, lawyer and activist intellectual, who became prominent for his work with the Joint Committee on National Recovery (JCNR). In 1935, he co-founded the National Negro Congress, an organization dedicated to the advancement of African Americans during the Great Depression.
Michael DeMond Davis was a journalist and a pioneer in African-American journalism, opening the doors for many African-American writers. In 1992, Davis authored Black American Women in Olympic Track and Field and co-authored a Thurgood Marshall biography.
The National Afro-American Council was the first nationwide civil rights organization in the United States, created in 1898 in Rochester, New York. Before its dissolution a decade later, the Council provided both the first national arena for discussion of critical issues for African Americans and a training ground for some of the nation's most famous civil rights leaders in the 1910s, 1920s, and beyond.
Bishop Alexander Walters was an American clergyman and noted civil rights leader. Born a slave in Bardstown, Kentucky, just before the Civil War, he rose to become a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church at the age of 33, then president of the National Afro-American Council, the nation's largest civil rights organization, at the age of 40, serving in that post for most of the next decade.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is a civil rights organization in the United States, formed in 1909 as an interracial endeavor to advance justice for African Americans by a group including W. E. B. Du Bois, Mary White Ovington, Moorfield Storey and Ida B. Wells. Leaders of the organization included Thurgood Marshall and Roy Wilkins.
The anti-lynching movement was an organized political movement in the United States that aimed to eradicate the practice of lynching. Lynching was used as a tool to repress African Americans. The anti-lynching movement reached its height between the 1890s and 1930s. The first recorded lynching in the United States was in 1835 in St. Louis, when an accused killer of a deputy sheriff was captured while being taken to jail. The black man named Macintosh was chained to a tree and burned to death. The movement was composed mainly of African Americans who tried to persuade politicians to put an end to the practice, but after the failure of this strategy, they pushed for anti-lynching legislation. African-American women helped in the formation of the movement, and a large part of the movement was composed of women's organizations.
Ferdinand Lee Barnett was an American journalist, lawyer, and civil rights activist in Chicago, Illinois, beginning in the late Reconstruction era.
William Henry Steward was a civil rights activist from Louisville, Kentucky. In February 1876, he was appointed the first black letter carrier in Kentucky. He was the leading layman of the General Association of Negro Baptists in Kentucky and played a key role in the founding of Simmons College of Kentucky by the group in 1879. He continued to play an important role in the college during his life. He was also co-founder of the American Baptist, a journal associated with the group, and Steward went on to be the journal's editor. He was a leader in Louisville civic and public life, and played a role in extending educational opportunities in the city to black children. In 1897, his political associations led to his appointment as judge of registration and election for the Fifteenth Precinct of the Ninth Ward, overseeing voter registration for the election. This was the first appointment of an African American to such a position in Kentucky. He was elected president of the Afro-American Press Association in the 1890s He was a close associate of Booker T. Washington, and in the late 1890s and early 1900s, Steward was a prominent member of the National Afro-American Council, which was dominated by Washington. He was president of the council from 1904 to 1905. He was a lifelong opponent of segregation and was frequently involved in anti-Jim Crow law activities. In 1914 he helped found a Louisville branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which he left in 1920 to become a key player in the Commission on Interracial Cooperation (CIC). He was also a prominent freemason and twice elected Worshipful Master of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky.
Robert A. Pelham Jr. was a journalist and civil servant in Detroit, Michigan and Washington, D.C. Along with his brother, Benjamin, and others, he was a founder and editor of the Detroit Plaindealer in 1883. He served in a number of public positions in Michigan, and later worked at the United States Census in Washington, D.C. In Washington, he continued to work as a journalist, and late in his life edited the weekly paper, Washington Tribune. He was also a member of a number of civil rights organizations, including the National Afro-American League, the American Negro Academy, and the Spingarn Medal Commission.
John Campbell Dancy was a politician, journalist, and educator in North Carolina and Washington, D.C. For many years he was the editor of African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion church newspapers Star of Zion and then Zion Quarterly. In 1897 he was appointed collector of customs at Wilmington, North Carolina, but was chased out of town in the Wilmington insurrection of 1898, in part for his activity in the National Afro-American Council which he helped found that year and of which he was an officer. He then moved to Washington, D.C., where he served as Recorder of Deeds from 1901 to 1910. His political appointments came in part as a result of the influence of his friend, Booker T. Washington.
Irvine Garland Penn was an American educator, journalist, and lay leader in the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was the author of The Afro-American Press and Its Editors, published in 1891, and a coauthor with Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, and Ferdinand Lee Barnett of The Reason Why the Colored American Is Not in the World's Columbia Exposition in 1893. In the late 1890s, he became an officer in the Methodist Episcopal Church and played an important role advocating for the interests of African Americans in the church until his death.
Afro-American Press and Its Editors is a book published in 1891 written by Irvine Garland Penn. Penn covers African-American newspapers and magazines published between 1827 and 1891. The book covers many aspects of journalism, and devotes a chapter to black female journalists.