RMSC Collections

The Voice

The RMSC holds a collection of Howard W. Coles’ newspaper The Voice, dating from October 1933-May 1996, which highlights Rochester, New York’s Black community. You can access downloadable pdfs of available editions of The Voice below!

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the voice

Howard Wilson Coles was born on November 12, 1903 in Belcoda, New York. His family came to the Rochester area from Culpepper, Virginia in the 1880s. Howard spent his childhood in Mumford, New York, and attended Scottsville High School. After traveling throughout the Northeast in the 1920s, Coles returned to Rochester in the early 1930s and settled there for the remainder of his life. Coles borrowed $2,800 from his life insurance policy in the early 1930s and with the help of Elsie Scott Kilpatrick established and began publication of The Voice newspaper. Coles published and distributed the newspaper throughout Western New York from 1933 through 1996 and at its apex circulation reached approximately 10,000 copies. Throughout the newspaper’s life, he worked as a real estate agent, insurance sales agent, and court attendant to earn enough money to support the publication of the newspaper. The newspaper helped chronicle the lives of African Americans throughout the twentieth century and has been recognized as the longest continuously published Black newspaper in Rochester history.

digitized publications

What you will find on this page are copies of newspapers published and edited by Howard Coles from October 6, 1933, (Volume 1 Number 1), through May 20, 1996, (Volume 61 Number 5) These papers represent a microcosm of Rochester, New York’s Black community for more than sixty years and tell much of Mr. Coles’ efforts to maintain recognition of Frederick Douglass in Rochester, and to improve conditions for its residents.

Contact Information

kayden miller

Collections and Archives Assistant

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