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Country: United States
State: South Carolina
City: Charleston, S.C.
Issues of this title available in Elephind: 2
Items (articles and/or pages) from this title available in Elephind: 8
Earliest Date: 5 April 1868
Latest Date: 11 April 1868
The Charleston Free Press, a “weekly journal devoted to the interests of the Republic Party of South Carolina,” was one of a number of short-lived Republican newspapers published in the Low Country region of South Carolina during the Reconstruction era (1865-77). Strictly speaking, the Free Press was not an African American newspaper, but it clearly sought to influence African American voters. Only two issues, filmed at the request of the Committee on Negro Studies of the American Council of Learned Societies, are known to exist.
Timothy Hurley, formerly with the Charleston South Carolina Leader, established the Free Press in 1868. He chose as its motto: “Justice to all men, regardless of race, color, or previous condition.” According to the American Newspaper Directory, published by George Presbury Rowell and Company, the Free Press circulated 2,000 copies.
An analysis of the two extant issues, dated April 4 and 11, 1868, indicates that the Free Press was very narrow in its scope. Contents include: a biographical sketch of African American legislator James Henry Harris, a leader in North Carolina’s Republican Party; a list of South Carolina Republican Party candidates running for office in 1868; a speech by Daniel Henry Chamberlain, Berkeley County delegate to the state constitutional convention (and later governor), on the invalidation of slave debts; and a defense of so-called carpetbaggers as “industrious, enterprising, and unexceptional in character.” The issues contain few advertisements and almost no domestic news coverage, excepting reports on the activities of Republican Party organizers around South Carolina.
In Republican Newspapers of South Carolina, Robert Woody suggests that Timothy Hurley only published the Free Press for the weeks leading up to the elections. William King, the author of Newspaper Press of Charleston, S.C., indicates that the Free Press had definitely ceased by October 1868. Hurley later served as Charleston County treasurer and representative (1870-74). Sometime thereafter, he made his way to Europe, perhaps to his father’s native country of Ireland.
Provided by: University of South Carolina; Columbia, SC