Friday, December 21, 2007
RUSSWURM, JOHN B.
RUSSWURM, JOHN B. One of the first blacks to graduate from an American college, John Brown Russwurm (1799-1851) was the son of a Jamaican mother and a white American father. Born in Jamaica, Russwurm was taken as a youth to Canada and, later, to Maine, where he was educated. Graduating from Bowdoin College (Maine) in 1826, he soon traveled to New York City where he and Reverend Samuel Cornish founded and edited Freedom's Journal, the first black newspaper in the United States. Following a dispute with Cornish over editorial policy concerning the merits of African colonization for American blacks (Russwurm was convinced that colonization offered Afro-Americans the best chance for survival), the young college graduate dissolved the partnership and migrated to Africa himself in 1829. From 1830 until his death twenty-one years later, Russwurm served in a number of official capacities in Liberia, the African colony founded by the American Colonization Society for repatriated African Americans.