Reference Entry

Russwurm, John Brown

in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience, Second Edition

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780195170559
Russwurm, John Brown

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Born John Brown to a slave mother and a white American merchant father in Jamaica, he became John Russwurm when his stepmother demanded that his father acknowledge by name his paternity. Sent to Quebec for schooling, Russwurm was taken by his father to Portland, Maine, in 1812. He attended Hebron Academy in Hebron, Maine, and graduated in 1826 from Bowdoin College, one of the first black graduates of an American college. In his graduation speech he advocated the resettlement of American blacks to Haiti.Moving to New York, New York, in 1827, Russwurm helped found Freedom's Journal with Samuel E(li) Cornish. It was the first black-owned and black-printed newspaper in the United States. The paper employed itinerant black abolitionists and urged an end to Southern slavery and Northern inequality. In February of 1829, he stopped publishing the paper and accepted a position as the superintendent of education in Liberia. He left for Liberia having given up hope that African Americans would have any future equality or prosperity in the United States.In Liberia, in addition to his government position, he edited the Liberia Herald and served as a Liberian agent, recruiting American blacks to return to Africa. Russwurm became the first black governor of the Maryland area of Liberia in 1836, and worked to enhance the country's economic and diplomatic position.

Reference Entry.  232 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History

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