19th Century Newspapers in Grand Rapids on the Question of Black Suffrage

(The post today was referenced in the book, African Americans in the Furniture City: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Grand Rapids, by Randal Jelks, for which we are grateful.)

Grand Rapids used to have numerous daily newspapers, up until the early part of the 20th Century.


Newspapers used to be very partisan in nature or represented specific interests, especially business interests or the interests of the dominant culture.

The Daily Morning Democrat was one such paper that was not only partisan, but identified itself as a newspaper for White Men. On the front page of every copy of the Daily Morning Democrat, it read underneath – Equal Taxation; No Distinction Between Bondholders and Plowholders; Equal Suffrage for White Men. (see above)

Such a statement was not just for show, but was reflected in the newspaper’s content, particularly in their editorial section. On April 5, 1870, the Daily Morning Democrat was still complaining about Negro Equality. We re-post that editorial from April 5, 1870.


screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-4-33-30-amThere were other sections in the editorial that day, one specifically critical of President Grant’s message to Congress. The Daily Morning Democrat editorial calls the speech, “exceedingly stupid,” in reference to African Americans being allowed to vote.

The racist messages of the Daily Morning Democrat were not unnoticed by some of the other newspapers at the time. The Grand Rapids Eagle had this editorial on November 21, 1867, discussing the white supremacist language of the Daily Morning Democrat.

This entry was posted in Civil Rights/Freedom Movement and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to 19th Century Newspapers in Grand Rapids on the Question of Black Suffrage

  1. Pingback: Booker T. Washington and White Paternalism in Grand Rapids in the early part of the 20th Century | Grand Rapids People's History Project

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