Michigan State University

Newspaper Guide

Current Ethnic Newspaper Databases

Historical Ethnic Newspaper Databases

Individual Titles

African American Experience in Ohio: 1850-1920 (1843-1923) : Selected articles from a number of African American newspapers published in Ohio.

AFRO-American Newspapers Black History Archives.  In cooperation with Google, the AFRO-American newspapers are making available over 100 years of Black history from the late nineteenth century on available from the pages of the Afro-American, the Afro-American Ledger, Baltimore Afro-American, and the Washington Afro-American newspapers.  The site includes original page views of complete editions of the newspaper dating back to the early 1900s and in-depth coverage of important stories such as the events of the arrests and national spectacle surrounding Scottsboro Boys trials, the entertainment coverage of Black movies stars such as Dorothy Dandridge, the Army's use of the Tuskegee Airmen (Fighting 99th) in World War II, coverage of the Little Rock 9 Integration in 1954 and many other events that helped to shape the black community.

The Carolina Indian Voice Now Available. “The Carolina Indian Voice is one of North Carolina’s oldest American Indian newspapers. It served members of the Lumbee Tribe living in Robeson County including the town of Pembroke, which is the seat of the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina, as well as the home of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, a historically American Indian University.” The new run covers 1977-1996, and before the project had 1996-2005, so it looks like all that’s missing is the early run from 1973-1977.

Indianapolis Recorder (1899-2005) : Free access provided by the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Indianapolis Recorder newspapers.  The archive is not complete; issues from 1917-1925 and January-April 1932 are missing. You can do a text search, browse by year, or do a full browse of the archive (over 5200 items!)

Pacific Citizen Digital Archives (1929-1955) via California State Library.  The Japanese American Citizens League hopes to finish digitizing more issues through 2009 by the end of 2014.

Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project : Makes available more than one hundred years of Jewish newspapers published in Pittsburgh. Digitized page images capture daily life in Pittsburgh from the 1890s to the present, with particular focus on Jewish communities. Life-cycle events, synagogue and organizational activities, arts, entertainment, and sports events are presented in detail. The collection offers extensive coverage of local, national, and international news, often from a perspective largely missing from the mainstream press.  The Pittsburgh Jewish Newspaper Project is composed of the Jewish Criterion (1895-1962), the American Jewish Outlook (1934-1962), the Jewish Chronicle (1962-present), and the Y-JCC series (1926-1975).

Signal of Liberty (1841-1848) : Theodore Foster and Rev. Guy Beckley of Ann Arbor, Michigan, launched the Signal of Liberty in April 1841 and managed to go to press nearly every week. Foster and Beckley were strong abolitionists who wrote in the Signal of Liberty of helping people escaping from slavery. The editors interviewed self-emancipated men and women, hoping to arouse sympathy for abolitionism. The events and movements described in the Signal of Liberty help us understand the issues that led people to resist slavery, change their churches and political parties, and fight for freedom.  Digitized by the Ann Arbor District Library.

Detroit Plaindealer

The Plaindealer broke ground not only as Detroit's first black newspaper but as one of the first of its kind in the country.

Its creators referred to the Plaindealer as an "Afro-American" newspaper, consciously rejecting the term "negro." Founded in 1883 by the brothers Benjamin and Robert Pelham Jr., along with Walter H. Stowers and W.H. Anderson, the publishers saw the publication as a political effort and worked tirelessly at the project, putting it together in the spare time apart from their regular careers.

In its pages a reader could find a wealth of information: coverage of national and local events; an account of the rise of the Afro-American League, a predecessor to the NAACP; event listings for fraternal groups like the Knights of Pythias; gossip and opinion; works of poetry and literature; and columns targeted to women and churchgoers.

The publishers had a regular correspondence with other black-owned papers of the day and often reprinted articles from sister publications. All four men had prior newspaper experience, either through participation in white-owned media outlets or with Benjamin Pelham's earlier amateur publication, the Venture.

The Plaindealer carefully covered social issues, providing sympathetic coverage to progressive elements in the emerging labor movement and documenting the abuses of Jim Crow in the South and in its less overt local guises.

Plaindealer staff considered civil rights as an especially urgent issue, inseparable from all the other issues covered in its pages.

"It served most the growing middle class and the aspirations of the working class to gain access to education and better jobs -- goals that were dependent on erasing discrimination and second-class status," he said.

The Plaindealer ceased operation in 1894.

The MSU Community has access to 160 issues dating from September 20, 1889 through May 19, 1893 via Readex's African American Newspapers, 1827 - 1998 .

For more information, see David Sand, "Detroit's 'Plaindealer' Blazed A Trail For Today's African-American Press", Huffington Post, February 24, 2012.

Irvine Garland Penn, "The Afro-American Press and Its Editors, 1891.

Detroit Plaindealer Historical Marker

Benjamin Pelham article from the Black Past.

The Library of Michigan has issues of the Detroit Plaindealer available on microfilm.

Detroit Tribune (1935-1966)

The Detroit Tribune (1935-1963), a historic Black newspaper available online via the Library of Congress's Chronicling America was published weekly from 1935 to 1966. Occasionally subtitled "Unswerving Dedication to the Truth" or "The Newsjournal of the Metropolitan Community". 

Michigan Chronicle

Michigan Chronicle available in various formats.

Ethnic Microfilm Newspapers Available from the Center for Research Libraries

Scholars and researchers from CRL member institutions (such as Michigan State University) have free and unlimited use of the CRL collections through interlibrary loan via their libraries. The loan period is unlimited, but is subject to possible recall notice. To identify what is available try searching the Center for Research Libraries online catalog.  Browse by country, state, U.S. and Canadian ethnic newspapers, or by Civilian Conservation Corps.  Here is a brief list of some of the featured collections:

The African-American Press Collection. From the Christian recorder, published in Philadelphia in the 1850s, to the Chicago Defender, still very much alive, the African-American press has provided first person coverage of the concerns, interests and achievements of African-Americans throughout the United States. The Center has a “critical mass” of over two hundred titles.

Black newspapers. In 1965, the Center began subscribing to about 20 papers intended primarily for Black communities in major U.S. cities. The Center has retrospective holdings of some Black newspapers and maintains current subscriptions to either newsprint or microfilm editions of the following titles (listed under their current titles):

State
City
Publication
Alabama Birmingham Birmingham world (#2258369)
California Los Angeles Los Angeles sentinel (#9505770)
Florida Jacksonville Florida star (#2261130)
Illinois Chicago Muslim journal (#12063707)
Indiana Indianapolis Indianapolis recorder (#8797400)
Louisiana Shreveport Shreveport sun (#20606995)
Maryland Baltimore Afro-American (#7642696)
Massachusetts Roxbury Bay state banner (#6749070)
Michigan Detroit Michigan chronicle (#2264134)
Missouri Kansas City Call (#16736831)
New York New York New York Amsterdam news (#13416782)
North Carolina Durham Carolina times (#2259007)
Ohio Cleveland Call and post (#9964681)
Pennsylvania Philadelphia Philadelphia tribune (#2266077)
Tennessee Memphis Tri-state defender (#9578018)
Virginia Norfolk Journal and guide (#6836057)

Ethnic Press Database. Thousands of volumes of newspapers were produced in the U.S. by ethnic communities from the Civil War to the late 20th century. The papers mirror the lives, values and everyday concerns of America’s various immigrant communities, from the Chinese- and Polish-Americans of 19th Century Chicago to more recently established communities of immigrants from Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

The Center has retrospective holdings of hundreds of ethnic titles and maintains current subscriptions to either newsprint or microfilm editions of the following newspapers (listed under their current titles):

Ethnicity
Publication
Armenian Hayrenik (Boston) (#8761016)
Carpatho-Russian Truth (Philadelphia) (#27328014)
Chinese Mei-chou Hua mei jih pao (New York) (#8925180)
Hua chiao jih pao (New York) ) (#13925369)
Lien ho jih pao (New York) (#9926281)
Czech Hlas naroda (Chicago) (#9578031)
Nedelni hlasatel (Chicago) (#39392562)
Novy svet (Cleveland) (#9522838)
Danish Danske pioneer (Elmwood Park, IL) (#9665848)
Finnish New Yorkin uutiset (#9335208)
Flemish Gazette van Detroit (#9353749)
French France-Amerique (New York) (#3927122)
German Abendpost und Milwaukee deutsche Zeitung (Chicago) (#9642195)
Amerika Woche (Skokie, IL) (#9328374)
Aufbau (New York) (#2251108)
New Yorker Staats-Zeitung (#25450500)
Greek Hellenikos typos (Chicago) (#9425497)
Ethnikos kerux (New York) (#6836811)
Hungarian Amerikai Magyar nepszava (Cleveland) (#2257472)
Szabadsag (Cleveland) (#2268340)
Italian Italian tribune (Warren, MI) (#9836411)
Post gazette (Boston) (#9529221)
Japanese Nichibei jiji (San Francisco) (#9335122)

Nichi Bei Times (#4601742)
Pacific Citizen (#1774036)
Rafu Shimpo (Los Angeles) (#12939028)

Lithuanian Draugas (Chicago) (#9426502)
Naujienos (Chicago) (#9273424)
Sandara (Chicago) (#9493846)
Norwegian Norway times (Brooklyn) (#10802915)
Western Viking (Seattle) (#9665786)
Polish Dziennik zwiazkowy (Chicago) (#9357895)
Portuguese Jornal Portugues (Alameda) (#5686672)
Russian Novoe russkoe slovo (New York) (#2265277)
Serbo-Croatian Hrvatski Tjednik Danica (Chicago)
Slovak Bratstvo (Wilkes-Barre, PA) (#10443362)
Jednota (Cleveland) (#1695479)
Narodne Noviny (Pittsburgh) (#2264538)
Slovenian Ameriska domovina (Cleveland) (#4409084)
Prosveta (Chicago) (#9509957)
Swedish California Veckoblad (Los Angeles) (#9304061)
Norden (Brooklyn) (#9473030)
Nordstjernan (New York) (#24728237)
Svenska Amerikaneren tribunen (Chicago) (#9642253)
New Vestkusten (San Francisco) (#29513598)
Ukrainian Ameryka (Philadelphia) (#7120828)
Svoboda (Jersey City, NJ) (#1766932)
Narodna volia (Scranton) (#2264535)
Welsh Drych a'r Columbia (De Pere, WI) (#14404267)
Yiddish Forverts (New York) (#9836450)

Current Ethnic Newspapers (Print)

The following titles are collected and retained for anywhere from two weeks to 3 months
-- next to the Current Periodicals on 2 West.

Afro-American (Baltimore)

Chicago Defender (Also receive Weekend Chicago Defender)

Forward (New York, Jewish)

Michigan Chronicle

New York Amsterdam News

MSU Student Newspapers

Special Collections holds four newspapers produced by the African American students at MSU as part of the Ethnic Studies Collection: The Grapevine Journal, People's Choice, Speak, and The Legacy.

Michigan State University