The Philadelphia Tribune, founded in 1884 by Christopher James Perry, Sr., is America’s oldest and the Greater Philadelphia region’s largest daily newspaper serving the African-American community.
Perry, born in 1856, was a native of Baltimore, Maryland. He was a very ambitious and civic-minded individual; well known in his hometown as a thoughtful public speaker. He appeared on many programs with national leaders and also worked for a local newspaper for which he reported the social doings of his race.
Upon graduation from high school, Perry decided to move to Philadelphia. His father wanted him to study law but he refused. “For my people to make progress, they must have a newspaper through which they can speak against injustice,” he reasoned. Thus, at the age of 17, he moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with the dream of establishing a newspaper. Over the next 11 years, Perry continued to work as a reporter for a local daily newspaper while attending school at night.
At the age of 28, he published the first edition of the Tribune at 725 Sansom Street, an area now known as “Jeweler’s Row.” It was a one-page, one man operation titled Tribune Weekly. From the very beginning until his death in 1921, Perry wrote about the problems that affected the daily lives of colored men and women.
Today, the Tribune is published five days a week and maintains a website presence at www.phillytrib.com. In addition to the newspaper itself, the company publishes Tribune Magazine, a quarterly publication geared to various contemporary issues and interests; Now, an arts and entertainment review; Sojourner, a visitors introduction, overview, and updated tour of Philadelphia; and the Learning Key, an educational supplement directed to students, parents, and teachers, highlighting schools, programs of special interest, and student achievement. The Learning Key is presently distributed forty (40) weeks of the academic year and has been provided to the schools of Philadelphia since 1978.
Since 1995, the Tribune has been honored with the John B. Russwurm award seven times for “Best Newspaper” in America. In 2009, the newspaper celebrated its 125th Anniversary with a series of events including a black tie gala.