The Afro Texan Press 

The Early Years




Rev. S. D. Russell, Editor Torchlight Appeal.

The motto, " Find a way or make one," seems to have been the principle instilled into Rev. S. D. Russell, the brilliant young editor of the only religious paper published at present in Texas. Born in the city of Natchez., Miss., August 3, 1862, of pious parents, he was early imbued with the idea of doing work for the Master. After his conversion he identified himself with the A. M. E. church, in which connection he grew up well educated, and is at present a minister of high standing in that denomination.

But we are to speak of him more particularly as a journalist. In this sphere he is making rapid headway. He believes, as do most Afro-Americans in like positions, he cannot afford simply to labor in the pulpit for his race, but must be an editorial agitator, also; which is well, since in this capacity he is an acknowledged power.

He began a career as journalist in 1885, when he published a "red hot" semi-monthly paper, called The Herald of Truth. This he edited with untiring zeal for two years. As editor of this paper, he never wavered in contending for the truth and right, which are priceless to his people. Having been promoted to the presiding-eldership of his church, the name of the paper was changed and became The College Journal of Paul Quinn College.

The editorship of The Southern Guide, a progressive and live sheet, in Texas, has been tendered Mr. Russell, at a fair salary. Whether he has accepted the position the author is unable at this writing to say. He is now editor of The Torchlight Appeal, which is the only paper published in the state by an Afro-American, with Confederate sympathies. It was started in 1888 a very minute sheet, but under the journalistic management of Mr. Russell, it is now a four- column, eight-page quarto, being one of the popular religions journals published by an Afro-American.

Mr. Russell is a journalist whose plans are all original, and when set into action they take well. As a writer, he can hold his own by the side of the best. He has published a treatise on Infant Baptism and has a lecture, Why the negro is black;. which are highly commended by his people. The journalistic fraternity is proud of him as a fearless editorial writer, and an energetic paper-man who is determined to further the cause, and at the same time contend for the rights of his people. His ready courage in seeking to do this endears him to all.

 N. B. Since the above was written, Rev. Mr. Russell has removed to Denison, Texas, where he now edits The Texas Reformer.

Sketch from The Afro-American Press and Its Editors
by Irvine Garland Penn - 1891