Jesse Max Barber was an African-American journalist, teacher, and dentist. He became Atlanta editor of the Voice of the Negro, where the first Du Bois account of the Niagara Movement appeared.
Barber was born in Blackstock, South Carolina, to former slaves. He was educated at Benedict College and Virginia Union University, and served as student editor of the University Journal and president of the Literary Society. After graduating in 1903, he took a job working for the Voice of the Negro, a monthly literary magazine founded in Atlanta.
Barber help founded the Niagara Movement. By 1906, the Voice of the Negro was the leading black magazine in the United States. After the Atlanta Riots in 1906, Barber faced threats from white vigilantes and was forced to flee to Chicago. Unfortunately, he was unable to secure financial backing for his magazine after his move, and Voice of the Negro folded in 1907. Barber’s radicalism had made an enemy of Booker T. Washington, whose interventions caused Barber to lose jobs as a newspaper editor in Chicago and as a teacher in Philadelphia.
In 1909, Barber attended the Philadelphia Dental School and graduated in 1912. He then set up a Philadelphia dental practice. Barber went on to become president of the John Brown Memorial Association and publish a number of articles on civil rights and racial injustice in Abbott’s Monthly between 1930 and 1933.