Gertrude Mossell (1855-1948)
Gertrude Mossell was born July 3, 1855, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and worked as a teacher for several years before becoming a journalist in the early 1870s. She wrote columns and articles for many black newspapers including the Indianapolis Freeman, the Philadelphia Echo, the Richmond Rankin Institute, Our Women and Children, the Indianapolis World, and Woman's Era. She also wrote for white newspapers and magazines such as Ladies Home Journal, The Philadelphia Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Philadelphia Press.
In December 1885 Mossell began writing a column entitled "The Woman's Department" for The New York Freeman, at the time the leading African American newspaper in the United States. It was the first woman's column published in a black newspaper, and was used to advocate for equal rights for women. It appeared in The Freeman until 1886.
Mossell was also one of the first to recommend that newsboys be used to distribute papers in African American communities, and to suggest that a black newspaper syndicate similar to the Associated Press be established. Such an organization was established upon the founding of The Associated Negro Press in 1919.
Mossell died in Philadelphia on January 21, 1948.
Streitmatter, Rodger. Raising Her Voice: African American Women Journalists Who Changed History. Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky, 1994.