Begun in 1883 by Edward E. Cooper and Edwin F. Horn, this African American newspaper, initially Republican, soon became one of the outstanding publications of its kind. Under Levi E. Christy, a teacher who published it from 1888 to 1896, it introduced many new Black writers to the reading public and maintained its own print shop, thus employing and training Black printers.

More independent than most of the African American Press, it provided national as well as local news and reports on the conditions of Blacks nationwide. After its rival, the Indianapolis Freeman, became unabashedly Republican, it openly supported Democratic candidates.

When Christy left journalism for the ministry, ownership passed to Alexander E. Manning, a Virginia-born (1860) businessman who had arrived in Indianapolis in 1883 and shortly thereafter became a Democratic loyalist. The weekly, renamed the Indianapolis World, initially supported William Jennings Bryan and took a more militant stand on race matters.

For 30 years, until his death in January 1925, Manning was “Official Courier” of the Democratic Party National Committee. White Democrats subsidized his paper, which became increasingly conservative in politics and ambiguous on race issues, Manning’s widow, Melvina, was publisher and editor until the Depression ended the paper’s life on March 25, 1932.

Revised June 2021

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