Credit: Anchorage Museum, Ed Wesley Collection, B2021.004.63
The New Horizon newspaper, 1979
Before the internet and Black Twitter, there was the Black press. Black-owned and operated with roots in the abolitionist movement, the Black press was at the forefront of the struggle for Black freedom. Black newspapers like the Chicago Defender, the Pittsburgh Courier, and the Baltimore Afro-American provided platforms for such notable activists as W.E.B. DuBois, Ida B. Wells, and Langston Hughes.
Alaska’s Black press flourished in the postwar decades, largely due to the efforts of George Anderson. Anderson arrived in Alaska after World War II and worked as a linotype operator for the Anchorage Daily News. He soon put his skills and savings to work on newspapers that would serve the Black community. Between 1952 and 1969, Anderson published the Alaska Spotlight, the most widely read and circulated of Alaska’s Black papers. Anderson also published the Midnight Sun Reporter as a limited-edition paper in the early 1960s. Other Black papers and newsletters included The Crusader, New Horizon, North Star Reporter, Anchorage Gazette, and the Anchorage Town Crier. Collectively, these publications documented Black life in Alaska from the perspectives of those in the community and connected Black Alaskans to broader debates and national concerns.