Martinsburg, W. VA: April 1885. Elephant folio sheet, folded to 4pp, each 15" x 21." Each of the first three pages is printed in six columns; the final page is filled with advertisements, some illustrated. Old folds, couple of pinholes minimally affecting portion of a couple of letters. Very Good.
Clifford [1848-1933] was a trailblazing black man. At age 15, he enlisted in Company F, 13th Regiment of Heavy Artillery, U.S. Colored Troops. He founded the Pioneer Press, which was the first black-owned press in West Virginia; was a founder of the Niagara Movement [led by W.E.B. DuBois]; and was "West Virginia's first African American attorney. In this role, he fought landmark trials against racial discrimination. In the case of a Tucker County teacher, he was one of the first lawyers in the nation to successfully challenge segregated schools. He also helped organize a national civil rights meeting in Harpers Ferry that was a springboard for the N.A.A.C.P." [online article on Clifford, 6 October 2016, WV Public Broadcasting site.]
The Pioneer Press was "the longest running black newspaper in the country" [wv culture web site], operating until 1917, when the U.S. Government shut it down for Clifford's opposition to U.S. entry into WWI. Devoted to the interests of African-Americans, the paper ran essays-- as in this issue-- on lynching, rape of black women, newly inaugurated President Cleveland's stance on Blacks' "enjoyment of their constitutional rights," literature, ministers and religion, and the gamut of legal and political issues affecting African-Americans. The Pioneer Press was apparently self-sustaining, evidence of which is reflected in the many advertisements printed on the last two pages.
A web site is devoted to the Pioneer Press. See, the J.R. Clifford Project, online. Copies of the Pioneer Press are rare; OCLC records only facsimiles as of June 2020. It is not found at AAS's online site. Item #36887