Alexandria Library
Document of the Month
July 2003

The People's Advocate was an African-American newspaper published in Alexandria, Virginia from April 22, 1876 - July 31, 1886. The motto appearing on the masthead was "Principles -- Not Men; But Men As the Representatives of Principles."

African-American newspapers told their own stories but also reported on events of interest to all. This issue of The People's Advocate, May 6, 1876, devotes the entire first page to the Philadelphia Centennial. Other African-American newspapers and magazines published in Alexandria were The Virginia Post, The Post and National Echo, and W.E.B. DuBois' Horizon.

According to the 1876-1877 Alexandria City Directory and 1880 Census, John W. Cromwell, Editor, was born in Virginia but lived in Washington, DC with his wife and four children. Rosier D. Beckley, General Agent, resided at 85 N. Henry Street with his wife and two children. Travers B. Pinn, Publisher and Business Manager, resided at 190 Duke Street with his wife, three children, and mother-in-law.


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Local History/Special Collections has a complete run of The People's Advocate on microfilm. For a complete list of newspapers in the collections see Special Collections Microfilm Index. Other newspapers (local and national) of the period are also available in the collection. They include:
  • Alexandria Gazette 1784-1979
  • Fairfax Herald, 1886-1945
  • Frank Leslie's Illustrated Weekly, 1855-1868
  • National Intelligencer, 1800-1850
  • New York Times, 1851-1877
  • Richmond Examiner, 1861-1867
  • Washington Star, 1859-1869
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