Panel marks 150th anniversary of first black-owned daily U.S. newspaper

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Dr. Louis Charles Roudanez founded the New Orleans Tribune. - COURTESY MARK CHARLES ROUDANE
  • Courtesy Mark Charles Roudane
  • Dr. Louis Charles Roudanez founded the New Orleans Tribune.


Monday, July 21, is the 150th anniversary of the debut of the New Orleans Tribune, which became the first black-owned daily newspaper in the United States. Its founder, Dr. Louis Charles Roudanez, had been one of the publishers of L'Union, a black-owned paper that closed amid threats and intimidation during the tumultuous end of the Civil War in Union-occupied New Orleans. Roudanez was a tireless and strong believer in equality and liberty, and he believed it would be crucial to have a black-owned paper active during Reconstruction. He began publication of the Tribune two days after the final issue of L'Union.

Mark Charles Roudane, the great-great grandson of Roundanez, will discuss the Tribune and its founder at a panel discussion Saturday at Dillard University  It's followed by a panel discussion about the beginnings of black owned press in the U.S. Events run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Dillard's John Georges Auditorium. On Sunday, there's a Champagne toast, tour and musical performance at LeMusee de F.P.C. as it salutes black-owned papers in Louisiana .

The Tribune lasted six years, finally closing after it lost financial and political support in 1870. Roudanez remained active politically through the end of Reconstruction, when the removal of Federal troops opened the way for whites to usher in the era of Jim Crow laws and segregation. Roudanez sent women and children in his family to live in Paris, France, and he focused on his medical practice, Roudane says.

Roudane was born in New Orleans but has lived in St. Paul, Minnesota, since 1990. A retired school teacher, he's working on a book about Roudanez and the Tribune. He's an active member of the Louisiana Creole Research Association  and he's published a 40-page preview of the book.

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