The South Carolina Leader: Creating a Black Press in the Heart of the Confederacy

Pat Young

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#1
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The South Carolina Leader and Missionary Record was one of the earliest black newspapers in the South. According to the Library of Congress:

South Carolina Leader and Missionary Record


The weekly Charleston Missionary Record (1868-79?), an African American-owned Republican newspaper “devoted to the interest of free labor and general reform,” established itself as a widely read and long-lasting news source in a time of scarce capital and increased hostility towards blacks in South Carolina. In 1869, the Missionary Record claimed a circulation of 2,000, with subscribers spread across Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The Missionary Recordtended to emphasize state and national news, especially on the topics of education and suffrage rights, over local coverage, but it also carried advertisements and notices of Charleston-based black businesses and fraternal societies.

The Missionary Record began in 1865 as the South Carolina Leader. In the inaugural issue, dated October 7, 1865, proprietors Timothy Hurley and Allen Coffin declared, “Our mission is to improve the whole people, by advocating equal rights to all … we are for the Union and the Constitution, and shall defend the flag against its enemies wherever found.” They chose for its motto a paraphrase from Mark 4:28: “First the blade, then the ear, after that, the full corn in the ear.” The paper was available at stores owned by Thomas Whitmarsh Cardozo, the son of a prominent family of African and Sephardic Jewish ancestry. In 1867, Richard Harvey Cain and Alonzo Jacob Ransier came into possession of the South Carolina Leader. They changed the name to the Missionary Record shortly thereafter.

Richard Cain and Alonzo Ransier had notable careers beyond their involvement with the Missionary Record. A native of Virginia, Cain served as South Carolina State Senator (1868-70), United States Representative from South Carolina (1873-75 and 1877-79), and as a delegate to the South Carolina Constitutional Convention in 1868. In 1880, he was appointed bishop to the First Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which encompassed the conferences of Bermuda, Delaware, New England, New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia. A native of Charleston, Alonzo Ransier served as a South Carolina state representative (1868-69), lieutenant governor (1870), delegate to the Republican National Convention (1872), and United States representative (1873-75).

In 1876, the South Carolina Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church took over publishing duties for the Missionary Record. Richard Cain continued his duties as editor. The publishers explained the newspaper’s change of direction: “The need of a medium of communication, among the ministers of that denomination … demands the establishment and continuance of a paper that shall speak their sentiments and disseminate such truths as shall enlighten the masses.” The American Newspaper Directory, published by George Presbury Rowell and Company, includes listings for the Missionary Record as late as 1879, but very few issues have ultimately survived. Almost nothing is known as to when and why the paper ceased publication. The last known issue is dated April 1, 1876.
 

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#9
What don't you know?
Now please, understand I cannot speak for @Rebforever, but if my predilection is correct he is referring to newspaper misinformation, prevalent in quoting unverified facts for a story on a competitive time schedule. For all practical purposes, the way I see this story and my comment about the proof, is due to the fact they witnessed the overall general scheme of southern character before the war, etc. They were making first-hand analogies, which plumbed the intangible spirit of the southern man, I felt very adequately, and it sure fit the passage of Mark which was their beacon light at the helm.
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#13
Keep in mind, the people behind the South Carolina Leader were neither Confederates nor Yankees. But they were southern men.

- Alan
Now I cannot prove it, being southern, but a black, African-American Republican newspaper being opened in Charleston does not say anything as such to me....prove it! (I am grown up enough to accept being wrong).
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#14
Keep in mind, the people behind the South Carolina Leader were neither Confederates nor Yankees. But they were southern men.
Now I cannot prove it, being southern, but a black, African-American Republican newspaper being opened in Charleston does not say anything as such to me....prove it! (I am grown up enough to accept being wrong).
Lubliner.
I referred to the information from the Library of Congress in the first post:

The weekly Charleston Missionary Record (1868-79?), an African American-owned Republican newspaper “devoted to the interest of free labor and general reform,” established itself as a widely read and long-lasting news source in a time of scarce capital and increased hostility towards blacks in South Carolina. In 1869, the Missionary Record claimed a circulation of 2,000, with subscribers spread across Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The Missionary Recordtended to emphasize state and national news, especially on the topics of education and suffrage rights, over local coverage, but it also carried advertisements and notices of Charleston-based black businesses and fraternal societies.

The Missionary Record began in 1865 as the South Carolina Leader. In the inaugural issue, dated October 7, 1865, proprietors Timothy Hurley and Allen Coffin declared, “Our mission is to improve the whole people, by advocating equal rights to all … we are for the Union and the Constitution, and shall defend the flag against its enemies wherever found.” They chose for its motto a paraphrase from Mark 4:28: “First the blade, then the ear, after that, the full corn in the ear.” The paper was available at stores owned by Thomas Whitmarsh Cardozo, the son of a prominent family of African and Sephardic Jewish ancestry. In 1867, Richard Harvey Cain and Alonzo Jacob Ransier came into possession of the South Carolina Leader. They changed the name to the Missionary Record shortly thereafter.

Richard Cain and Alonzo Ransier had notable careers beyond their involvement with the Missionary Record. A native of Virginia, Cain served as South Carolina State Senator (1868-70), United States Representative from South Carolina (1873-75 and 1877-79), and as a delegate to the South Carolina Constitutional Convention in 1868. In 1880, he was appointed bishop to the First Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which encompassed the conferences of Bermuda, Delaware, New England, New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia. A native of Charleston, Alonzo Ransier served as a South Carolina state representative (1868-69), lieutenant governor (1870), delegate to the Republican National Convention (1872), and United States representative (1873-75).

It does seems to me that the guys who started the paper were southern pro-Union black men. Although the paper did start after the war, when the issue of Union vs Confederacy had been resolved.

- Alan
 
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#15
Cain was a native Virginian. You could say southern, but I don't see his stand during the war.
Coffin and Hurley were both black men, (presumably?) but origin unstated, They founded the paper and Cain bought it 3 years later.
Ransier is mentioned as Cain's associate, but without background. No guess?
The paper was sold through a distributing chain owned by a Sephardic Jew and African-Ancestry.
Messages have been uploaded since I began my post, so if I am out of order, the reason is just stated.
Southern men? On very general terms, easily accepted, but in a specific sense in the spirit of the letter...?
Lubliner
Edit: Honestly, @ForeverFree, I missed the part on Ransier. I gladly accept the rebuttal, and delight in your guiding spirit. I had stood to reason that their educational background being of the south would not be adequate to launch a successful operation, but they did. Therefore I was fooled into believing the whole shebang was a northern transplant. Please accept my own apology and forgive my shortcomings.
 
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#17
Q: What letter are you referring to?

- Alan
You answered it yourself as 'pro-Union southern black men'. The spirit of a word sometimes will be deeper than the hard-fact definition. It is frequently used, such as deciding what the forefathers meant in their Declaration of Independence. How to interpret the meaning of "All men created equal..." has a spirit of understanding that transcends any explicit definition. Thanks.
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#18
Cain was a native Virginian. You could say southern, but I don't see his stand during the war.
Coffin and Hurley were both black men, (presumably?) but origin unstated, They founded the paper and Cain bought it 3 years later.
Ransier is mentioned as Cain's associate, but without background. No guess?
The paper was sold through a distributing chain owned by a Sephardic Jew and African-Ancestry.
Messages have been uploaded since I began my post, so if I am out of order, the reason is just stated.
Southern men? On very general terms, easily accepted, but in a specific sense in the spirit of the letter...?
Lubliner
Edit: Honestly, @ForeverFree, I missed the part on Ransier. I gladly accept the rebuttal, and delight in your guiding spirit. I had stood to reason that their educational background being of the south would not be adequate to launch a successful operation, but they did. Therefore I was fooled into believing the whole shebang was a northern transplant. Please accept my own apology and forgive my shortcomings.
I had heard of both Richard Cain and Alonzo Ransier prior to this. Ransier was a freeman from Charleston. But Cain did grow up in the North, so you question about that was good one.

- Alan
 
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#19
I had heard of both Richard Cain and Alonzo Ransier prior to this. Ransier was a freeman from Charleston. But Cain did grow up in the North, so you question about that was good one.

- Alan
As they stated their mission in the paper, "We are for the Union...and shall defend the flag against her enemies..." almost sounds like their pledge and oath of allegiance to the nation. Even George Thomas, being from Virginia is considered southern. On the other hand Bushrod Johnson is from Ohio, was represented at West Point from there, and is general referred as....? (I would be guessing).
Lubliner.
 



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