Timothy Thomas Fortune
• Fortune moved to New York City in 1881 – over the next two decades he
became known as editor and owner of a newspaper named first the Globe, then
the Freeman, and finally the New York Age.
• The New York Age became the most widely read of all Black newspapers. It
stood at the forefront as a voice agitating against the evils of discrimination,
lynching, mob violence, and disenfranchisement.
• Its popularity was due to Fortune's editorials which condemned all forms of
discrimination and demanded full justice for all African Americans.
Ida B. Wells's newspaper Memphis Free Speech and Headlight had its printing press
destroyed and building burned as the result of an article published in it on May 25,
1892. Fortune then gave her a job and a new platform from which to detail and
• In Chicago on January 25, 1890 Fortune co-founded the militant National
Afro-American League to right wrongs against African Americans
authorized by law and sanctioned or tolerated by public opinion. The league
fell apart after four years.
When it was revived in Rochester, New York on September 15, 1898, it had the new
name of the "National Afro-American Council", with Fortune as President.
• The National Afro-American Council - the first nationwide civil rights
organization in the United States.
• Provided a training ground for some of the nation’s most famous civil rights
leaders in the 1910s, 1920s, and beyond.
• The Council lobbied actively for the passage of a federal anti-lynching law
and raised funds to finance a court test against the “grandfather clause” in
Fortune was also the leading advocate of using Afro-American to identify his
people. Since they are "African in origin and American in birth", it was his
argument that it most accurately defined them.
His book The Kind of Education the Afro-American Most Needs was published in
1898. He published Dreams of Life: Miscellaneous Poems in 1905.
Fortune and the Negro World
Fortune went to work as an editor at the UNIA's house organ, the Negro World, in
1923. At its height the Negro World had circulation of over 200,000. With
distribution throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and
in Central America it may have been the most widely distributed newspaper in the
world at that time.
Negro World was a weekly newspaper, established in January 1918 in New York
City, which served as the voice of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and
African Communities League, an organization founded by Marcus Garvey in 1914.
For a nickel, readers received a front page editorial by Garvey, along with poetry and
articles of international interest to people of African ancestry. Under the editorship of
Amy Jacques Garvey, the paper featured a full page called, "Our Women and What