The Christian Recorder
The Christian Recorder, August 2020
TypeMonthly newspaper
Owner(s)African Methodist Episcopal Church
PublisherRoderick D. Belin
EditorJohn Thomas III
FoundedJuly 1,1852; 172 years ago (July 1,1852)
Headquarters1722 Scovel Street
Nashville, TN 37208
OCLC number14096028

The Christian Recorder is the official newspaper of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and is the oldest continuously published African-American newspaper in the United States.[1] It has been called "arguably the most powerful black periodical of the nineteenth century," a time when there were few sources for news and information about Black communities.[2][3]

The Christian Recorder, March 1894

The Recorder covered secular as well as religious news, and reported news of the black regiments serving in the Civil War. It advocated support for Union troops.[3][4] It was also known for having an Information Wanted section, where Black families who had been forcibly separated in the slave trade could seek news about their missing loved ones.[5][6] The paper's coverage included birth, marriage, and death notices.

It also featured music, poetry, and reader stories, and was "a major source of literature by and for African-Americans" during this time period. [7] The paper published Julia C. Collins' novel as 31 serialized chapters in 1865, as well as many of her essays.[3] It also printed works by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper and James W. C. Pennington.[8][2]


The Christian Recorder was originally a weekly paper called the Mystery, later The Christian Herald, started by Rev. Augustus R. Green in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[1][3] The name was changed to The Christian Recorder in 1852 under the editorship of Rev. M. M. Clark, with approval of the AME Church General Conference. It published ads to reunite black families following emancipation.[9] It was published by the AME Church Book Concern in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a city that became a publishing center.[1][10][11] The paper covered all geographic areas of the AME Church, but regional versions also developed, including the Southern Christian Recorder and the Western Christian Recorder. These two were later merged to create the Southwestern Christian Recorder.

In 1952 after the AME Church Book Concern was dissolved, the paper's headquarters moved to Nashville, Tennessee. In 1960 the Southwestern Christian Recorder and The Christian Recorder combined to form The AME Christian Recorder. In 1984, the paper reverted to using the original name The Christian Recorder. Today, the paper is a member of the Associated Church Press, the Religion Communicators Council, and the National Newspaper Publishers Association.[12]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "History". The Christian Recorder. 2016-09-15. Retrieved 2020-12-25.
  2. ^ a b Cohen, Lara Langer (Fall 2016). "Review: Eric Gardner. 'Black Print Unbound: The Christian Recorder, African American Literature, and Periodical Culture.'". African American Review. 49 (3): 286–289. doi:10.1353/afa.2016.0042. S2CID 163416901. Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Kachun, Mitch (Winter 2006). "Interrogating the Silences: Julia C. Collins, 19th-Century Black Readers and Writers, and the 'Christian Recorder.'". African American Review. 40 (4): 649–659. JSTOR 40033744. Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  4. ^ "The Christian Recorder". Accessible Archives Inc. 2020-12-19. Retrieved 2020-12-25.
  5. ^ "The Christian Recorder". Internet Archive. 2020-06-10. Retrieved 2020-12-25.
  6. ^ "'Last Seen': Digitizing Ads from Former Slaves in Search of Loved Ones | Villanova University". Retrieved 2021-05-09.
  7. ^ "Julia C. Collins". Recovering 19th-Century American Women Writers. 2015-04-21. Retrieved 2020-12-25.
  8. ^ Collins, Julia (2020-06-10). "The curse of caste, or, The slave bride". Internet Archive. Retrieved 2020-12-25.
  9. ^ Williams, Heather Andrea (2012). Help me to find my people: The African American search for family lost in slavery. University of North Carolina Press. pp. 153–154. ISBN 9780807835548.
  10. ^ Dickerson, Dennis C. (2020). The African Methodist Episcopal Church : a history. Cambridge, United Kingdom. ISBN 978-0-521-19152-4. OCLC 83363549.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  11. ^ Gardner, Eric (2015). Black print unbound : the Christian recorder, African American literature, and periodical culture. New York. ISBN 978-0-19-023708-0. OCLC 898717243.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  12. ^ "Current Members". NNPA. 2016-07-18. Retrieved 2021-05-06.