Black History Newspapers

News, Finds, Tips of the Month

In honor of Black History Month, we’re highlighting some of the many historical black papers that we have here on Newspapers.com. These include dozens of papers that were either black owned, were geared toward a black audience, or dealt specifically with topics relevant to African Americans. Though some of these papers may only have a few issues available, they still provide a valuable perspective on the struggles, contributions, and everyday lives of African Americans.

The Hound of the BaskervillesSome of the longest running black papers we have on Newspapers.com are the Pittsburgh Courier, Washington Bee, and St.-Paul-based Appeal. Long-running newspapers such as these can be especially useful for tracking long-time residents of a city or for seeing how the community and its inhabitants changed over time. On the other hand, if you’re more interested in a specific time period that was historically significant to black history, such as the post-Civil War and Reconstruction era, you can browse through black papers like the Charleston Advocate, Maryville Republican, and Concordia Eagle.

The historical black papers on Newspapers.com cover a wide geographic area. Though many are based in the South, there are also examples from the Northeast, Midwest, and West. Wherever there was a big enough population of literate African Americans to support a black paper, one often existed (though many were short-lived), with black papers popping up in places you might not initially expect, like Montana.

Though a few papers, like the Weekly Louisianian, were geared to both black and white readers, most black papers focused on content that would be of particular interest to African Americans. The Indianapolis Leader, for example, covered society news from the local black community, and the Nashville Globe, in addition to speaking out on racial issues, promoted a middle-class lifestyle to its black readers, encouraging them to frequent black-owned businesses and buy homes.

Some papers were narrow in scope, concentrating on specific topics like slavery. Two anti-slavery papers you can find on Newspapers.com are the Liberator (established by famous abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison) and the Anti-Slavery Bugle.

Some of the black papers on Newspapers.com were quite influential during their heyday. In addition to the previously mentioned Washington Bee, some of these include the Lexington Standard, Kansas City Sun, and Richmond Planet. Others were more controversial, like the Broad Ax, which could be rather inflammatory. Papers that are especially useful to historians today include the Sedalia Weekly Conservator (for dealing with a variety of racial issues in addition to the news) and the Seattle Republican (for covering conditions for African Americans across the nation).

Black papers can be especially rich resources for finding information on your African American ancestors, as these papers often reported on people and events that white papers overlooked. So get started searching on Newspapers.com here.

22 thoughts on “Black History Newspapers

  1. Can you please see if you can get Newspaper from Sumter,SC. from 1910 to present. I believe it is the Item

  2. Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa Bay area black newspapers or papers with a “colored” or african-american section would be awesome!!

  3. Can you make an entry portal for the black newspapers that lists their locations and years of service? It is often difficult to know the names of the papers to search.

  4. It appears you missed the story: The Chicago Defender. The nation’s finest African American newspaper led the Great Migration which began after World War I and led the civil rights movement with quality journalism, brilliant editoral strategy as well as clever tactics that achieved unprecedented progress. Contact Colonel Eugene Scott, former publisher.

  5. New York City had the Corona Eat Elmhurst News which became the New York Voice.It was published in Queens. We would love to be able to access that publication. Not just during the month of February bur year round as with all the African American publications.

  6. One of the best African-American weeklies available through Newspapers.com is the New York Age, a paper with a very long run. Anyone interested in black history should consult this paper as well as the others listed in this piece.

  7. Can I get in a simple way fro all the added newspapers the articles that contain:
    Dr. George Kriehn, born 1886 ?

  8. How about the North Star, published by Frederick Douglass in Rochester, NY from 1847-1851. In 1851 it merged with The Liberty Party Paper, a newspaper published by the abolitionist Gerrit Smith. The resulting publication was known as Frederick Douglass’ Paper, which was in circulation until 1859.

  9. Great selection. Would love to see newspapers.com add the Chicago Defender as well. That would be an amazing Black History month addition!

  10. I always thought that newspapers were black and white.
    All black and all white newspapers are unreadable.

  11. Was offered a job by the Louisville Defender in early 70s, Had to turn down, because relatives had a fit. I would have been one of the first white staff members. Surely wanted to try. Would love to know some history of the paper.

  12. Palladium of Liberty (Columbus, OH 1843- ….) also The Mystery (Pitttsburgh, Pa ) / M.R. Delan(e)y .. late 1846/7
    Thanks. MP

  13. I’m interested in New Orleans newspapers regarding a few ships from purse Amboy or South Amboy in the early 1800s shipping free black people to New Orleans without a manifest. One of the ships was named the marianne. on said:

    I’m interested in New Orleans newspapers regarding a few ships from Perth Amboy or South Amboy in the early 1800s shipping free black people to New Orleans without a manifest. One of the ships was named the Mary Ann.

  14. Thanks for a great article. Is it possible to get a comprehensive or atleast a somewhat completed listing of black newspapers across the country. Does anyone know where to get such a list. This is for my personal research. Thanks!

  15. I am a black male aged 75 from a black country called Papua New Guinea PNG) just above Australia and am very interested in the history of Black Americans who are now called – as if you Americans don’t know – African-Americans.

    Thus I am very interested in Black Newspapers. And don’t wonder why anymore for I am a journalist too (Google biga lebasi journalist Papua New Guinea to find out more about lousy me: for your info only).

    Thanks ever so much for forwarding this history of yours to me.

    I am thrilled and I see it as an example of the fact that God is leading me and He e-mailed Black Newspapers to me!

    Aguto’i matemate ( Thank you ever so much until I die in Suau ….pronounced SOOWOW, one of more than 800 languages we speak here in PNG. I speak six).

    I wish you well.

    Aioni (goodbye).

    Biga Isaya Igewalu Lebasi
    North Wagawaga near Alotau
    PNG.

  16. You are too funny or pathetic..maybe BOTH. Whites have the other 11 MONTHS if you’re counting! The reason there are events designated BLACK is because of bigots like you who see color instead of accomplishments. Happy Black History Month !

  17. We have good biographical information on Edward James Sawyer (1854-1929) of Bennettsville, South Carolina, an African-American pioneer in education, business, farming, and editor-publisher of The Pee Dee Educator, an African American regional semi-monthly newspaper published in Bennettsville, South Carolina, from 1890 until 1900.

    If you wish more than this, please notify us.

    The Herald-Advocate is a family-owned community newspaper in Bennettsville founded in 1931 by my parents. Current publisher is my daughter, Elisabeth Kinney McNiel. Her husband, Daniel Edward McNiel, is editor.

    Bill Kinney, Jr.,
    Editor and Publisher Emeritus
    Herald-Advocate
    Bennettsville, South Carolina 29512-0656

    Tel 843-479-3815

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