Samuel E. Cornish

Samuel E. Cornish 

Abolitionist, Editor, & Newspaper Founder

Samuel Eli Cornish was born in 1795 to free African-American parents. He spent his childhood partially in Philadelphia and also New York. After being trained as a Presbyterian minister, he went on to organize the first Black church in Manhattan. Along with his pastoral responsibilities, he, along with John B. Russwurm, founded the nation’s first Black newspaper, Freedom’s Journal. Cornish served as the senior editor. After one year, Cornish wanted to step away to help educate free Blacks at the New York Free Africans schools. Cornish’s attention would be called back to help the newspaper as senior editor again. Upon his return, the newspaper took on a new title, The Rights Of All. He also took on other endeavors such as writing for The Colonization Scheme Considered, and another newspaper, the Colored American.

Cornish used these platforms to educate and advocate for African-Americans. He also took up the mantle of abolitionist while helping to form several local and national anti-slavery organizations, including the American Anti-Slavery Society. Samuel Eli Cornish died in Brooklyn on August 6th, 1858. 

Citation & further reading: https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/cornish-samuel-eli-1795-1858/