Timothy T. Fortune was an prominent Black American civil rights leader, journalist, writer, editor, and publisher.

Fortune was born into slavery in Marianna, Jackson County, Florida on October 3, 1856, to parents Emanuel and Sarah Jane Fortune. The Fortune’s was emancipated in 1863, by United states 16th President Abraham Lincoln. Fortune began his education at Stanton High School for Negros (now Stanton College Preparatory School). After graduating Fortune moved North to Delaware where he found work as an customs inspector. Fortune enrolled into Howard University where he studied law, but after one year of school Fortune decided he wanted to be an journalist.


Fortune moved to Alexandria, Virginia where he meant his wife Carrie C. Smiley. And in 1876, he found his first newspaper People’s Advocate. After receiving a lot of racial discrimination, Fortune decided to moved his family to New York in 1881. Settled in New York, Fortune established another newspaper called New York Globe, ended up changing the name twice. First to New York Freeman and finally to New York Age. Fortune became known as the greatest black newspaper writer.


After what Fortune witnessed what was happening to Black Americans throughout the South he used his journalist popularity and began to fight for civil rights for black Americans. In 1887, Fortune established the National Afro-American League (NAAL), along with another prominent black American Bishop Alexander Walters (August 1, 1858 – February 2, 1917). The league main focus was to obtain full citizenship and equality for Black Americans. The league was short lived disbanding in 1893, due to lack of support and funds.

In 1927, at the age 67 Fortune was made editor of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr., (17 August 1887 – 10 June 1940), newspaper called Negro World. He held that position until his death.

Timothy Thomas Fortune died on June 2, 1928, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was 72.

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