The next time you’re in Market Square downtown, look for the Martin Delany historical marker.
Along with Jackie Ormes, they are two great figures in a number of distinguished African -American journalists throughout Pittsburgh history.
Delany was primarily a doctor, but also started his own newspaper, The Mystery, and welcomed contributions from a variety of journalists in the 1840’s.
He also contributed to Frederick Douglass’s North Star newspaper, though Delaney’s philosophies sometimes clashed with Douglass.
Beyond journalism, Delany was a major in the 104th Regiment of the United States Colored Troops for which he also recruited. He was the highest-ranking Black official at the time. He also was accepted into Harvard Medical School, though racial prejudice was a significant factor in his inability to actually attend.
80 years later and across downtown, Jackie Ormes was the country’s first female African-American Cartoonist, reaching audiences up to 200,000 readers across the country through her columns and editorial cartoons in The New Pittsburgh Courier, among other newspapers.
Ormes was determined to represent Black women in a positive and fashionable manner while also commenting on a variety of social issues.
Google features Ms. Ormes for their Doodle in September.