T. Thomas Fortune, Newspaper Man and Author

T. Thomas Fortune (1856-1928) was a major journalist and newspaper publisher in the 19th and 20th centuries. Originally from northern Florida, he eventually moved to New York to work professionally as a writer.

According to https://www.tthomasfortuneculturalcenter.org: “Fortune’s tenure at The New York Age for over 20 years established him as the leading African American journalist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Under his editorial direction, the paper became the nation’s most influential black paper, and was used to protest discrimination, lynching, mob violence, and disenfranchisement.”

When he served as editor of the African-American news publication Negro World, following escalating success as editor and owner of The New York Age, circulation for Negro World reached approximately 200,000 readers nationwide.

He also published a book entitled Black and White: Land, Labor, and Politics in the South. That book is now in the public domain and various digital forms of it can be found here: gutenberg.org. He later published Dreams of Life: Miscellaneous Poems.

In addition, Fortune became a close associate and speech writer for Booker T. Washington and was the first to coin the term Afro-American.

To read these facts and more about T. Thomas Fortune, click here: https://www.tthomasfortuneculturalcenter.org/t-thomas-fortune.

To read about places connected to Booker T. Washington, visit our Author Adventures pages in Virginia and West Virginia by clicking Booker T. Washington in Virginia and Booker T. Washington in West Virginia.

The family of the prolific journalist, editor, publisher, and newspaper owner lived in their Red Bank house in the first decade of the 20th century.

T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center

Located in Red Bank at 94 Drs. James Parker Boulevard, the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center, formerly Fortune’s home, is the result of the tremendous dedication and toil of the nonprofit T. Thomas Fortune Foundation and its local community. (While still a relatively small town, the population of Red Bank is more than twice the population there during Fortune’s day.)

Bequeathed to the Foundation, it is now a National Historic Landmark and provides events and special programs promoting civil rights and social justice.

On the Path

The T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center is the second stop on our New Jersey Author Adventures Trail.

Patricia Smart