Black History Papers

Washington Bee
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.

Some of the longest running black papers we have on Newspapers.com are The Pittsburgh Courier, The Washington Bee, and St. Paul-based The 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 most black papers focused on news that would interest African American readers, some were even narrower 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.

The Pittsburgh Courier
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 was often 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.

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20 thoughts on “Black History Papers

  1. Can someone please fix the Contact page in the help section? I was trying to email the Business/Press Inquiry and I got a 404 Page Not Found after clicking the Send Message button. I apologize for posting here, but how else am I to contact you? I’m not going to call, because I do not want to just speak to a representative. I want a record of what I have to say.

  2. Cindy, it looks like the page is submitting your comment, so we should have it, but then its taking you to the error page. We’re working on fixing it. Thanks for pointing it out.

  3. Is there an effective way to search for these newspapers that focus on African-Americans? Or do you even have a complete listing somewhere on the site of these specific papers? I would like to search through this type of paper, but it seems that these papers are not identified as Black History Newspapers in their descriptions anywhere, so one does not know which ones fall into this category when doing a search of a particular surname or location.

  4. Will you continue to carry African American newspapers after Black history month? I’ve never been able to isolate or identify any newspapers that primarily feature news stories about African American’s on this site.

  5. And where is the link in your site to filter by the black newspaper connection, or any other collection? Or are we expected to know the names of papers that existed 100+ years ago and search them one by one?? Only because of this blog do we know this feature is available. Right now, the only option on the site is to search by state. We need to be able to search by collection, like ProQuest offers.

  6. Thanks for the good suggestions about a better way to search for a category of papers. To date we haven’t had enough categories of papers or enough papers in one category to justify calling them out, but as the collection has grown, we are getting to the point where that might make some sense. We’ll look into some options for that.

    • Yes, there are a few ways to do that. Here are a few:
      1- You can add a location in the “Add more info” in the search on the homepage.
      2- On the Papers page (http://www.newspapers.com/papers/) you can narrow the list of papers by the state they were published in. You can then search those papers using the search box at the upper right of the page.
      3- You can use the map page (http://www.newspapers.com/map/) to zoom into an area and then search (using the box in the upper right above the map) just the papers showing on the map.
      4- If you want to search all papers published within a given city, you can use the browse (http://www.newspapers.com/browse/) to browse to that city and then use the search box on the browse page to search within the papers published in that city.

      Hopefully one of those will work for you.

  7. Do you or have you any Barbadian Paper within your archive? Period I’m interested in 1860s – 1950s.

  8. I am interested in the Indian territorial news such as, the Vinita Chieftain, Nowata Times (I believe that was the name), Coffeyville Journal and Parsons,Kansas.
    1880’s through 1910.
    Any coverage by you?

    • We do have some Coffeyville Journal and some papers from Parsons, Kansas.

      You can find these or see what we have by going to the “Papers” page (http://www.newspapers.com/papers/) and typing the name of a paper or the name of a city in the search box at the top left under the heading “Narrow by Newspaper Title”

  9. No mention of the Michigan Chronicle…? In the 1940s-60s for Detroit and the state, it had to be close at one point in circulation to the Pittsburgh Courier and today there seems to be no effective way to make inquiries there about old articles or photos.

    • We don’t have any Michigan Chronicle yet. We add millions of pages each month, so hopefully we’ll add something useful for you soon.

      You can always make recommendations to the content team on the “Contact Us” page, http://www.newspapers.com/contact/ Choose “Content Suggestion” from the “Subject” dropdown.

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