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Michigan State University

African American Studies Research Guide: Newspapers

Newspaper in the MSU Libraries

Electronic Resources : Newspapers provides links to both individual newspapers alphabetically as well as links to some of the more popular collections available to the MSU community and to visitors to the MSU Main Library.

In addition, the MSU Libraries offers a separate Newspaper Guide.

Independent Owned Black Newspapers in the United States

Independent Owned Black Newspapers in the United States.   Courtesy of African American Literature Book Club.

ColorLines

ColorLines : a daily news site where race matters with award winning investigative reporting and news analysis.  Sponsored by Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation

Huffington Post Black Voices

Huffington Post Black Voices.  The premiere site for African American news, viewpoints, and community. Visit BV daily to get informed, connect through our profiles, and express yourself on our message boards. Get the latest coverage of black news, black entertainment, black stars, politics, black style and beauty, black relationships, money, and more. Share your voice at BV!

New America Media News Feed

New American Media: Expanding the News Lens through Ethnic Media  This site provides a wealth of news and other information from all over the US filtered through ethnic lenses. Note that Arican American is one of the ethnic filters that can be selected

The Root

"The Root is the premier news, opinion and culture site for African-American influencers.  Founded in 2008, under the leadership of Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., The Root provides smart, timely coverage of breaking news, thought-provoking commentary and gives voice to a changing, more diverse America."

Black Quotidian

Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African American Newspapers.  Curated by Matt Delmont, Arizona State University.

Current Ethnic Newspaper Collections (Electronic)

Although not devoted exclusively to newspaper articles, both of these databases offer a healthy number.

Alt-PressWatch (Proquest) : Full-text database of selected newspapers, magazines and journals of the alternative and independent press. Coverage complements the reporting in the mainstream press.

Ethnic NewsWatch (Proquest) : The Ethnic NewsWatch database provides the full text of ethnic and minority newspapers, magazines, and journals in the United States. Coverage varies by paper, but goes as far back as 1960 for some publications.

Historical Black Newspaper Collections (Electronic)

19th Century African Newspapers via Accessible Archives : This enormous collection of African - American Newspapers contains a wealth of information about the cultural life and history during the 1800s, and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day, including the Mexican War, Presidential and congressional addresses, Congressional abstracts, business and commodity markets, the humanities, world travel and religion. The featured newspapers also contain large numbers of early biographies, vital statistics, essays and editorials, poetry and prose, and advertisements all of which embody the African-American experience. Starting with the Freedom`s Journal in 1827 and continuing in chronological order with the addition of 10 to 12 million words of new text each year (downloaded monthly), this database will ultimately contain the complete text of the major African-American newspapers published in the United States during the 19th century. Never before has such important original source material - written by African- Americans for African-Americans - been readily available for research and fresh interpretation by historians, sociologists, educators and students. Featured newspapers include: Freedom's Journal, The Colored American (Weekly Advocate), The North Star, The National Era, Provincial Freeman, Frederick Douglass Paper, The Christian Recorder.

African American Newspapers, 1827 - 1998  (Readex).  (Series 1 and Series 2).  Provides online access to approximately 270 U.S. newspapers chronicling a century and a half of the African American experience. This unique collection features papers from more than 35 states—including many rare and historically significant 19th century titles.  Beginning with Freedom's Journal (NY)—the first African American newspaper published in the United States—the titles in this resource include The Colored Citizen (KS), Arkansas State Press, Rights of All (NY), Wisconsin Afro-American, New York Age, L'Union (LA), Northern Star and Freeman's Advocate (NY), Richmond Planet, Cleveland Gazette, The Appeal (MN) and hundreds of others from every region of the U.S.  African American Newspapers, 1827-1998 offers researchers valuable primary sources for such diverse disciplines as cultural, literary and social history; ethnic studies and more. Users can compare and contrast African American views on practically every major theme of the American past. Coverage spans life in the Antebellum South; the spread of abolitionism; growth of the Black church; the Emancipation Proclamation; the Jim Crow Era; the Great Migration to northern cities, the West and Midwest in search of greater opportunity; rise of the N.A.A.C.P.; the Harlem Renaissance; the Civil Rights movement; political and economic empowerment and more. Teachers and students will find firsthand perspectives on notable Americans from Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington to W.E.B. Du Bois and Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as obituaries, advertisements, editorials and illustrations.

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. 

Black Studies Center : To search the full text newspapers provide by Chadwyck Healey/Proquest, either all at once or by individual newspaper, click here.

  • Atlanta Daily World, December 2, 1931 through December 25, 2003, via Black Studies Center.  The Atlanta Daily World had the first black White House correspondent and was the first black daily in the nation in the 20th century. March 18, 1932-Dec. 25, 2003 available via Proquest Historical Newspapers.  Selected articles available from 2001 on from Lexis Nexis Academic.
  • Baltimore Afro-American, April 29, 1893 through June 29, 1985, via Black Studies Center.  The Baltimore Afro-American, one of the most widely circulated black newspapers on the Atlantic coast, advocated for equal rights in employment, black participation in politics, and state-funded education for African-Americans.  It was the first black newspaper to have correspondents reporting on World War II, foreign correspondents, and female sports correspondents.  In the 1930s the paper began the "Clean Block" campaign to fight poverty and crime in the inner-city, a program that continues today.  Selected articles from April 12, 2003 on available from Ethnic Newswatch.
  • Chicago Defender, anuary 1, 1910 through December 27, 1975 available via Black Studies Center. The Defender was the leading African American news publication before World War I, focusing on issues significant to its audience, including covering the abandonment of the segregated South for work in the more industrialized North, reporting on the 1919 Red Summer Riots, and editorializing for antilynching legislation.   Chicago Defender (1910-1975) via Proquest Historical Newspapers.    Selected articles from Nov. 22, 1999 available from Ethnic Newswatch.  Check the MSU Catalog for digitized issues available from the Center for Research Libraries.
  • Chicago's Daily Defender, February 6, 1956 through December 31, 1975, via Black Studies Center.
  • Los Angeles Sentinel,  May 17, 1934 through December 29, 2005, via Black Studies Center. The oldest and largest black newspaper in the western United States and the largest African-American owned newspaper in the U.S.  1934 through 2005 via Proquest Historical Newspapers.  Selected articles also available from Ethnic NewsWatch from 1991 on.
  • New York Amterdam News, November 29, 1923 through December 25, 1993, via Black Studies Center.  This leading Black newspaper of the 20th century reached its peak in the 1940s. The Amsterdam News was a strong advocate for the desegregation of the U.S. military during World War II, and also covered the historically important Harlem Renaissance. Contributors to the paper included W.E.B. DuBois, Roy Wilkins, and Malcolm X.  1923 through 1993 also via Proquest Historical Newspapers.    Selected articles from January 2, 1993 on available from Ethnic NewsWatch.
  • Norfolk New Journal and Guide, September 30, 1916 through December 25, 2002, via Black Studies Center.  The Norfolk Journal & Guide, led by P.B. Young, "Dean of the Negro Press," was celebrated for its quality research and writing.  It argued against restrictive covenants, rallied against lynching, and encouraged African-Americans to vote.  This was the only black newspaper to provide on-the-scene, day-to-day coverage of the Scottsboro trial.   Its factual tone allowed the newspaper to attract advertising from local and national, white-owned businesses such as Pillsbury, Goodrich and Ford.
  • Philadelphia Tribune, January 6, 1912 through December 30, 2001, via Black Studies Center.  The Philadelphia Tribune, the oldest continuously published black newspaper in the United States, campaigned to appoint African-American citizens to the board of education, city council, and judiciary.  During the thirties, the paper supported the growth of the United Way, rallied against the riots in Chester, PA, and continuously fought against segregation. Selected articles from  Jan. 03, 1991 on available from Ethnic NewsWatch.
  • Pittsburgh Courier, July 29, 1911 through December 28, 2002, via Black Studies Center.  One of the most nationally circulated Black newspapers, the Courier reached its peak in the 1930s. A conservative voice in the African-American community, the Courier challenged the misrepresentation of African-Americans in the national media and advocated social reforms to advance the cause of civil rights.  Proquest Historical Newspapers provides access to 1911-2002.  Selected articles from  Aug. 28, 1991 on available from Ethnic NewsWatch.

Cleveland Call and Post (1934-1991).  Founded by Garrett Morgan, inventor of the gas mask and traffic light. Contributors included noted journalists Charles H. Loeb and John Fuster. The newspaper is well known for its support of the Scottsboro trial defendants with letters, clothing, stamps, and donations to the defense fund.  Available online :  January 5, 1989 through May 6/12, 2009 via Ethnic NewsWatch.  May 13/19, 2009 on via Ethnic NewsWatch.

Freedom's Journal (1827-1829) :  The first African-American owned and operated newspaper published in the United States, published weekly.   Freedom's Journal provided international, national, and regional information on current events and contained editorials declaiming slavery, lynching, and other injustices. The Journal also published biographies of prominent African-Americans and listings of births, deaths, and marriages in the African-American New York community. Freedom's Journal circulated in 11 states, the District of Columbia, Haiti, Europe, and Canada.  The newspaper employed subscription agents. One of these, David Walker, in 1829 published the first of four articles that called for rebellion.  Walker's Appeal stated that ".it is no more harm for you to kill the man who is trying to kill you than it is for you to take a drink of water," this bold attack was widely read. Walker distributed copies of his pamphlet into the South, where it was widely banned.  All 103 issues available : Vol 1 (March 1827-March 1828) and Vol. 2 (April 1828-March 1829).  Courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

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!)

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 Ann Arbor District Library.

Current Black 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)

Michigan Chronicle

New York Amsterdam News

Black 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)

 

Subject Guide

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Photos

AP Images : Also called Associated Press Multimedia Archive. Includes an ever-changing collection of over 700,000 photographs from the AP news service. Most of the images are contemporary and date from 1995 forwards, but many historical images are also included. All images include descriptive captions and source information.

Life Photo Archive Hosted by Google : Search millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, stretching from the 1750s to today. Most were never published and are now available for the first time through the joint work of LIFE and Google. Heh, it may not be from a newspaper but it compliments the AP Images collection.

Images

Images of African Americans from the 19th Century.  Artists, engravers and photographers managed to capture and preserve for posterity a variety of images of African Americans throughout the 19th century. Some of these image makers were white Americans from the north and south. Others were European travelers. Still others, especially after the Civil War, were African Americans. The pictures they left range from the stereotypical to the naturalistic. In addition to recording the physical characteristics of their African-American subjects, they document the social, political and cultural life worlds of African-American people from slavery to various stages of quasi freedom. There are scenes of enslaved Africans on plantations and in rural and urban settings. The tumultuous period of transition from slavery to freedom during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras is well documented. Some pictures capture the uniqueness and subtleties of African-American group celebrations, cultural rituals and individual and group aesthetic choices. They also record the process of social, political and institutional development during this pivotal century in African-American history.  Courtesy of the Digital Schomberg Collection, Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library.

Five Boys with Tools

The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas : A Visual Record.  Jerome S. Handler and Michael L. Tuite Jr.  The approximately 1,235 images in this collection have been selected from a wide range of sources, most of them dating from the period of slavery. This collection is envisioned as a tool and a resource that can be used by teachers, researchers, students, and the general public - in brief, anyone interested in the experiences of Africans who were enslaved and transported to the Americas and the lives of their descendants in the slave societies of the New World.  Provided by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and University of Virginia Library Digital Media Lab.

Black Family, Beaufort, S.C., 1862

Beyond Face Value : Depictions of Slavery in Confederate Currency.  A project of the Civil War Center.  Many Southern notes did not feature images of slavery; this exhibit focuses on the ones that did. This collection features notes issued and circulated in the South during the Antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction Eras. Notes were issued by various entities, including the Confederate government, state governments, merchants, and railroad companies.  Provides jointly by the Louisiana State University Libraries and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.

Powerful Days in Black and White. Shocking photos brought the civil rights struggle to all America.  Relive it now throught the eyes of Charles Moore.

Under heavy guard, James Meredith is escorted to registration at Ole Miss by Chief U.S. Marshal James McShane (left) and John Doar of the U. S. Justice Department, Mississippi 1962

Without Sanctuary: Photographs and Postcards of Lynching in AmericaSearching through America's past for the last 25 years, collector James Allen uncovered an extraordinary visual legacy: photographs and postcards taken as souvenirs at lynchings throughout America.  With essays by Hilton Als, Leon Litwack, Congressman John Lewis and James Allen, these photographs have been published as a book "Without Sanctuary" by Twin Palms Publishers . Features will be added to this site over time and it will evolve into an educational tool. Please be aware before entering the site that much of the material is very disturbing. We welcome your comments and input through the forum section.  Experience the images as a flash movie with narrative comments by James Allen, or as a gallery of photos which will grow to over 100 photos in coming weeks. Participate in a forum about the images, and contact us if you know of other similar postcards and photographs.

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