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Black Newspapers of Ft. Smith
and Van Buren, Arkansas

Only 20 years after secruing freedom, the black community of the western frontier city of Ft. Smith, began to speak for itself through a number of publications that emerged from its citizens.

The first newspaper emerged in 1888, with the Golden Epoch. Until the 1940's there was always a black publication of some kind, that became part of the voice of the community. Silence would fall upon the community until the mid 1990s, when the Lincoln Echo emerged again, thanks to founders Sheri Tolliver and Barbara Webster. The Echo joins an impressive list of publications that were produced in Ft. Smith. Most of these publications have been lost, and few, if any issues remain. Hopefully, as local citizens become more interesed in local history, old trunks will be opened, and attics explored, and some of these precious gems from the past will surface and be preserved as part of the local history. This list is produced here as a legacy to Ft. Smith's black publications. Hopefully other works will emerge to reflect the colorful history of this vibrant frontier town.

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