|Editor||Fred Randolph Moore (1857–1943)|
|Former editors||Pauline Hopkins|
|Founder||Pauline Hopkins (1859–1930)|
|Company||Colored Co-Operative Publishing Company|
|Based in||Boston (1900–1904)|
New York (1904–1909)
The Colored American Magazine was the first American monthly publication that covered African-American culture. The magazine ran from May 1900 to November 1909. It was initially published out of Boston by the Colored Co-Operative Publishing Company, and from 1904 forward, by Moore Publishing and Printing Company of New York. Pauline Hopkins, its most prolific writer from the beginning, sat on the board as a shareholder and was editor from 1902 to 1904, though her name was not on the masthead until 1903. Hopkins was a novelist, journalist, playwright, historian, and editor. In 1904, Booker T. Washington in a hostile takeover, purchased the magazine and replaced Hopkins with Fred Randolph Moore (1857–1943) as editor.
The Colored American Magazine was founded by Walter Wallace, Jesse W. Watkins, Harper S. Fortune, and Walter Alexander Johnson. The holding company was named The Colored Co-Operative Publishing Company. Around 1902 the magazine operated from headquarters in Boston's Park Square, adjacent to the Boston Common. On May 13, 1903, William H. Dupree (1839–1934) and Jesse W. Watkins purchased the magazine from the Colored Co-operative Publishing Company and renamed the holding company The Colored American Publishing Company. Their aim was to redeem the magazine financially, and to secure its location in Boston with Hopkins as editor.
John C. Freund (1848–1924), who was a London-born and Oxford educated co-founder and influential editor of two New York magazines, The Music Trades and Musical America, became an outside investor in the magazine in 1903. After the rediscovery of 20 letters in the Pauline Hopkins Collection at the Fisk University Library around 1996, scholars have suggested that Hopkins was aware that Freund had conspired with Booker T. Washington to replace her as editor, to quell her outspokenness on racial matters. Discussions about Racial discrimination was a prevailing taboo in the minds of many whites. Freund, a white man, and Washington, an African American man, prevailed against Hopkins. The letters reveal that Hopkins, an articulate and influential editor, was a victim of sexism and nuanced racism that was masked by the enlisted cooperation of Washington. It is speculated that Freund believed, and perhaps Washington also believed, that directness about race issues and racial activism by the magazine would do more harm than good, would generate greater racial discord in society, harm the economic viability of the magazine, drive away white readership and marginalize the potential for the magazine to win support of whites who otherwise harbored cynical views towards racial equality.
Freund felt that the goal of the magazine was to "first—record the work the colored people are doing; second—to make the whites acquainted with it." Freund opposed writers who felt that advancing bravely required historic retrospection. In other instances, Freund had rallied support towards helping African Americans succeed and he patronized those who had attained success, which included financial support and published critical acclaim for the People's Chorus, directed by Emma Azalia Hackley (1867–1922). The upshot was, that Hopkins believed, as documented in her letters, that Freund's altruistic gestures towards helping her and the magazine were actually a ploy to oust her and take control of the magazine's political content. There are differing views on Freund and Washington's motives and differing views on who led the charge, but there is little debate on how Hopkins perceived it.