Freedom's Journal and El Clamor Publico: African American and Mexican American Cultural Fronts in Nineteenth-Century Newsprint
Freedom's Journal and El Clamor Público: African American
and Mexican American Cultural Fronts in Nineteenth-Century Newsprint
Arturo Romero Nunez
Doctor of Philosophy in English
University of California, Berkeley
Professor Marcial González, Chair
Both Freedom's Journal and El Clamor Público represent nineteenth-century milestones because they historically demarcate the inception and terminal points of Manifest Destiny's progress across the continental United States. As such, this project chronicles the cumulative effects of Anglo-based racism on African and Mexican American communities -- a fact that remained not only consistent but also remarkably comparable in these two cases, even though each journal is separated by three thousand miles, twenty-six years, and a different language. Such similarities speak to the numerous and interconnected nineteenth-century practices that collectively undermined the agency and survivability of communities of color, including slavery, Anglo-based free labor, Southern and Southwestern lynching, and filibustering expeditions.
Yet Freedom's Journal and El Clamor Público are more than mere reflexive reactions to Anglo-based bigotry; they are historical manuscripts that reflect extraordinary self-determination, and this was revealed within the content of each journal through their coverage of militancy, assimilation-based strategies, and an ever-present insistence on authorial autonomy. Both journals represent what scholars today regard as the respective historic origins for African and Mexican American political and cultural consciousness, and are likewise surprisingly radical -- even by today's standards.
By ceaselessly drawing attention to the United States Constitution's guaranteed civil rights, Freedom's Journal and El Clamor Público founded their radicalness on the instinctive supposition that such liberties extended equally and naturally to persons of color. It was this journalistic daring that mostly distinguishes Freedom's Journal and El Clamor Público as not only ahead of their time, but also as relevant texts for the present -- as contemporary reminders of how their struggle for civil rights remain as unresolved today as they did then.