John Bruce

Object Details

Phillip Ratner
John Bruce
c. 1977
graphite on paper
Frame: 18 1/4 × 15 1/4 × 3/4 in. (46.4 × 38.8 × 1.9 cm)
John Bruce (1856 – 1924), a prominent African American journalist, started his career in Washington and worked for various national news agencies. Bruce was born into slavery in Maryland and moved to Washington, D.C. with his mother in 1860. His upbringing in Washington deeply informed his views on race and his rejection of the city’s Black elite. At eighteen, Bruce got his start in journalism working for the Washington correspondent for The New York Times. He later became the Washington correspondent for other national newspapers, and founded publications including Argus, Sunday Item, and The Washington Grit. In addition to his journalistic work, he wrote pamphlets, books, and plays, and was active in organizations such as the Afro-American League and Marcus Garvey’s United Negro Improvement Association. Later in life, Bruce moved to New York where he remained active in journalism until his death.
In 1977, the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum’s Board of Directors voted to include Bruce’s portrait in “Phil Ratner’s Washington,” an exhibition honoring current and former Anacostia residents who contributed to the civic life of the community.
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