Norfolk Post

Title: Norfolk Post
Available online: 22 June 1865 - 5 April 1866 (203 issues)

Place of publication: Norfolk, VA

The port of Norfolk--established in 1680 at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and at the confluence of the Elizabeth and James Rivers--quickly became a major commercial and military center. As such, during the Civil War, the strategically critical city was soon occupied by Union forces. Thereafter, under martial law, Norfolk was significantly affected by the presence of the Federal navy and army as well as by the steady influx of Northern businessmen, former slaves, and refugees. Established soon after the war ended, the Norfolk Post not surprisingly reflected many of the changes wrought by the conflict.

Published by E. M. Brown and edited by John Clark, the four-page paper appeared daily, except Sundays, with subscriptions available at three dollars per one hundred issues, or ten dollars per year. A typical issue included local and national news as well as poetry and short fiction--and a vibrant editorial viewpoint.

In its first issue of June 22, 1865, the Norfolk Post carefully identified itself as politically independent. And yet, each issue in truth presented a decidedly distinct perspective, one that embraced a more diverse city, including its African American constituency. The paper, for example, vigorously supported President Andrew Johnson's reconstruction efforts and especially saw itself as an "aid in bringing about the 'era of good feeling' among the great sections of the nation," all the better to help "re-establish . . . the Old Union." Editorial discussions frequently confronted the economic and social issues facing the South--and especially those facing Norfolk. Beginning with its earliest issues, the Norfolk Post reported on news of relevance to its African American readers, particularly coverage of the proceedings of the Convention of Colored Virginians held in Alexandria, Virginia, in August 1865.

The Norfolk Post did not, however, fare well. In less than a year it was gone, perhaps a victim of its political content and more likely of stiff competition. The Norfolk Virginian, for one, founded in November 1865, was already far more politically connected; its editor, for example, would later be elected governor. The final issue of the Norfolk Post appeared on April 5, 1866, and included a brief parting, informing its readers that with its sale that day's issue marked "the disappearance of the paper. . . . Peace on earth and good will among men. So be it."

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