The Early Years
Prof. Julian T. Bailey, Editor The Littlie Rock Sun, the Hot Springs Sun and the Texarkana Sun, ( Texas,)
Prof. Julian T. Bailey, widely known as a journalist, was born March 22, 1859, in Warren County, Georgia. His parents were Pierce and Adeline Bailey of Georgia and Virginia, respectively. His sister and father having died when he was a lad, he was left with his mother alone, who, knowing Julian's desire for an education, promptly resolved that she would do what she could to enable him to obtain it.
In due time he was placed in the common schools of his county, and having completed the prescribed courses in these, he was sent to the Atlanta University, and entering the college preparatory class, he graduated from the institution with first honors, at the age of seventeen. He then went to Howard University, where he completed the college course.
Since leaving school, he has been an earnest student, and few can equal him in the sciences, mathematics, and languages. He is known as a scholar and teacher of the ablest kind. He never fails to instill into his pupils the highest principles, with pureness of character. He has been actively engaged in the school-room during his career. He has had the degree of Master of Arts conferred upon him by Howard University.
Soon after leaving college, he accepted the principalship of the Roanoke Normal and Collegiate Institute, in North Carolina. He has since been professor of natural sciences and belles-lettres in the Philander Smith University of Little Rock. He has been professor of higher mathematics and astronomy in the Mississippi State Normal College and president of Bethel University of Little Rock.
In speaking of his political life, a writer in The New York Freeman had the following to say : "In politics he is an independent thinker and actor, and as such holds a free, strong, and independent political position. He has always labored to make apparent the folly of the present inclination in politics, and has advocated free, independent, thoughtful action. He bends to no party, and bows to no apparent kindness; but stands conscientiously upon principle and fitness to accomplish the highest good.
" Prof. Bailey has always taken an active part in the politics of his adopted states. As a speaker, he is pleasing, interesting, and eloquent. He is a man of strong convictions, tender sympathies, great firmness and decision of purpose, with high personal character. He possesses severe earnestness, pluck, manly courage; aims high, is ambitious and far-reaching, with great self-reliance and self-respect."
Since leaving the school-room, Prof. Bailey has been actively engaged in the practice of law, in addition to his editorial duties. He is one of the few of his race who have been admitted to practice before the Supreme and United States Courts in his state. He has a large and growing practice.
While Prof. Bailey has been wonderfully successful as a lawyer, yet his career and experience have been so large and varied in the journalistic field, one might think, to look at his work in this direction, that he had no time for any other. He has been marvelously progressive in journalism. Certainly, few writers have been associated with as many papers, at different intervals, as Mr. Bailey, and filled such positions so acceptably.
As to his course in journalism before the publication of The Sun, we call attention to a clipping from The Indianapolis Free-man of February 2d, 1889: " Soon after leaving college he went to North Carolina, where he was principal, for some time, of a school known as the Roanoke Normal and Collegiate Institute. He also published and edited The National Enquirer, in the same state, until the spring of 1884, when he was offered the editorial chair of The Arkansas Herald. Considering Arkansas a more inviting field, he accepted the offer. His editorial management of The Herald was marked by signal ability and success, in consequence of which he at once received encomiums from the leading men and papers, both white and colored, throughout the state. Such was the effect of his ability upon Arkansas as a journalist, that scarcely had he edited The Herald a month before it was decided by the members of the Arkansas Herald and Mansion publishing companies, to consolidate the papers. He was then elected editor of the consolidated paper, which was at once regarded as one of the leading negro journals of the country. He continued to edit The Herald- Mansion until the fall of 1884, when he was elected professor of natural science and belles-lettres in the Philander Smith University of Little Rock. This position he fills with great credit to himself, as well as to the institution employing him.
As expressed by the author, as well as by our most eminent men in their opinions in this work, there is little pecuniary benefit to be reaped from Afro-American journals, in the earlier stage of their existence. This Prof. Bailey knew, and so he accepted a professorship in a college, in addition to his labors as editor of The Littlie Rock Sun. Thus he is enabled to support himself comfortably, and have at his command increased means for the publication of his journal.
The Sun began publication in 1885, an independent paper, with Prof. Bailey as editor. This independent stand it has since maintained, and it is noted for its out-spoken sentiments in advocacy of the rights of the race. On January 1st, 1889, it entered upon its fifth volume.
Since September 1st, 1888, Prof. Bailey has published two other papers, The Hot Springs Sun and The Texarkana Sun, ( Texas,) three separate and distinct papers, the combined weekly "bona fide" circulation of which is over six thousand. The Littlie Rock Sun has as large a circulation as any other Afro-American journal in the country, and it is doubtless safe to assert that it outranks all others in the number of its readers and the weight of its influence.
Prof. Bailey is a newspaper man, " to the manor born." His success in the work is due, first, to his ability, and, second, to his energy and great zeal. As a journalist, a writer sums him up thus : " He has shown from childhood an insatiable thirst for knowledge and an immeasurable ability for grasping and retaining the most profound truths. While at college he distinguished himself as a linguist and mathematician. As a literary man, many know him. His clear, logical, conclusive, unique, though graceful style, is well known to most publishers and readers of the leading papers of the day. His articles are sought eagerly, and are published and read with both pleasure and benefit." The question with the fraternity is now — "Where can another Bailey be found?"
Sketch from The Afro-American Press and Its Editors
by Irvine Garland Penn - 1891