African American Newspapers, Series 1 and 2, 1827-1998
A century and a half of the African American experience
The historical span of the collection, its broad geographic scope…will prove immensely helpful for scholarship and teaching…
Britt Rusert, Assistant Professor, W.E.B. Du Bois Dept. of Afro-American Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Quick Facts

  • The world’s most comprehensive collection of its kind
  • More than 350 newspapers provide a one-of-a-kind record of African American history, culture and daily life
  • Covers life in the Antebellum South, growth of the Black church, the Jim Crow Era, the Great Migration, Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights movement, political and economic empowerment and more

Overview

African American Newspapers, Series 1 and 2, 1827-1998, provides online access to more than 350 U.S. newspapers chronicling a century and a half of the African American experience. This unique collection, which includes historically significant papers from more than 35 states, features many rare 19th-century titles. Newly digitized, these newspapers published by or for African Americans can now be browsed and searched as never before.

Hundreds of titles—all expertly selected from leading repositories
Part of the America’s Historical Newspapers collection, African American Newspapers was created from the most extensive African American newspaper archives in the world. Titles in Series 1 come from the Wisconsin Historical Society, Kansas State Historical Society and the Library of Congress, while titles in Series 2 come from the American Antiquarian Society, Center for Research Libraries, the Library of Congress, and New York Public Library. All selections were guided by James Danky, editor of the monumental African-American Newspapers and Periodicals: A National Bibliography.

A richly detailed record of the African American past
African American Newspapers, 1827-1998, offers researchers invaluable 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 NAACP; 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.

An America’s Historical Newspapers/Archive of Americana collection
Part of the America’s Historical Newspapers family of collections, African American Newspapers, Series 1 and 2, can be seamlessly cross-searched with Early American NewspapersHispanic American Newspapers, and Ethnic American Newspapers from the Balch Collection. Also available from Readex is African American Periodicals.

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African American Newspapers, Series 2, 1835-1956New

African American Newspapers, Series 2, 1835-1956 complements and expands on African American Newspapers, Series 1. Published in 22 states and the District of Columbia, the more than 75 newly available newspapers in Series 2 significantly increase access to primary sources for researchers across African and African American studies; political science; ethnic studies; diaspora studies; women’s studies; and cultural, literary and social history. Key titles include Frederick Douglass’s New National Era (Washington, DC), Washington Tribune (Washington, DC), Chicago Bee (Chicago, IL), The Louisianian (New Orleans, LA), The Pine and Palm (Boston, MA), National Anti-Slavery Standard (New York, NY), New York Age (New York, NY), Harlem Liberator (New York, NY), North Carolina Republican and Civil Rights Advocate (Weldon, NC), Southern News (Richmond, VA) and many others.

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African American Newspapers, Series 1, 1827-1998

Chronicling a century and a half of the African American experience, African American Newspapers, Series 1, features 280 newspapers from 35 states, including many rare and historically significant 19th-century titles. These titles published for or by African Americans constitute valuable primary sources for researchers exploring such diverse disciplines as cultural, literary and social history; ethnic studies and more. Beginning with Freedom’s Journal (NY)—the first African American newspaper published in the United States—the titles in this groundbreaking series include The Colored Citizen (KS), Arkansas State PressRights of All (NY), Wisconsin Afro-AmericanNew York AgeL'Union (LA), Northern Star and Freeman’s Advocate (NY), Richmond PlanetCleveland GazetteThe Appeal (MN) and hundreds of others from every region of the U.S.

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Advisory Board

James Danky, Senior Advisor
Editor, African-American Newspapers and Periodicals: A National Bibliography, and Project Director, Newspapers and Periodicals of the African Diaspora
School of Journalism and Mass Communication
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Kathleen E. Bethel
African American Studies Librarian
Northwestern University

David W. Blight
Professor of American History and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition
Yale University

Randall K. Burkett 
Curator of African American Collections
Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library
Emory University

Graham Hodges
George Dorland Langdon Jr. Professor of History and Africana & Latin American Studies
Colgate University

William Jones
Associate Professor
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Patrick D. Jones
Assistant Professor of History and Ethnic Studies
University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Accolades

“Already one of the most significant digitized collections of Black print in existence, Readex’s African American Newspapers will become with this expansion an essential resource for anyone interested in American literature, culture, and history.  Just to cite two examples: adding the Pacific Appeal to its run of the San Francisco Elevator will make African American Newspapers, Series 1 and 2, the strongest resource available on the early Black West, and adding the Anglo-African, Pine and Palm, and the New Era to the New Orleans Tribune will give this collection an unparalleled store of material on African Americans during the Civil War and Reconstruction.  I’d like everyone to read, explore, and learn from African American Newspapers, Series 1 and 2.
—Eric Gardner, Professor of English, Saginaw Valley State University, and author of Black Print Unbound (Oxford, 2015)

“As Carol Polsgrave has observed, African American periodicals constitute an ‘alternative public sphere’ that serves as ‘a base from which politically marginal groups challenge the power of the mainstream public sphere to define reality.’ Many African American newspapers survived for only a single issue, while others have lasted for more than a century. Regardless of length of publication, these often fugitive newspapers preserve a critically important documentation of American life, politics, art, and culture.”
—Randall K. Burkett, Research Curator for African American Collections, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Collection, Emory University

 “The expansion of African American Newspapers comes at a time when scholars are rediscovering the richness of this rare primary source material. The addition of several crucial titles, from the early 19th to the late 20th century, will not only enrich scholarship on African American activism and political organization, but also offer new insight into the more everyday aspects of black life, culture, and expression across two centuries. The historical span of the collection, its broad geographic scope, and the inclusion of non-English language papers will prove immensely helpful for scholarship and teaching in African American history, culture, literature, and related fields.”
—Britt Rusert, Assistant Professor, W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

African American Newspapers is interdisciplinary by nature and will continue the growth of the digital humanities effort at the University of Delaware. Thank you to the many persons at the University of Delaware who were so interested in and advocated for this new e-resource.”
— Susan Brynteson, Vice Provost and May Morris Director of Libraries, University of Delaware

“Rowan’s history scholars requested this in-depth look at African American history for undergraduate education and research. FoCaL supports academic material requests that cannot be met by the library’s limited budget, and this purchase [African American Newspapers, 1827-1998] is a valuable addition to its archival newspaper collection.”
— Razelle Frankl, Chair of Friends of Campbell Library (FoCaL), Rowan University on library blog

“Some days I wonder why it took so long for there to be an online, full image, easily searchable database that covers 270+ African American newspapers, representing more than 150 years of the African American experience. I still hug the computer monitor and say, ‘Thank you, Readex, for taking the lead and providing African American Newspapers, 1827-1998.’ I love this collection! It has revolutionized the way I research entries for the Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (NKAA). I thank you, and thousands of NKAA users thank you.”
— Reinette F. Jones, Librarian, Louis B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky

“By providing easy access to early African American newspapers, Readex makes a timely and constructive contribution to the advancement of research with primary documents. It is a common mistake to conclude that students usually find primary sources, such as these newspapers, difficult to interpret, dull and too challenging to read. On the contrary, these news accounts—unconsciously molded by the spirit of the time in which they were written—are often vivid, entertaining and highly informative.

“There is so much to be learned from a study of original accounts that no teacher should be content with second-hand descriptions when this Readex archive is available. African American Newspapers, 1827-1998 can help raise the quality of historical investigation, and I look forward to including this resource in my work with students both here and abroad.”
— Angela Keiser, National Board Member, UNESCO Transatlantic Slave Trade Education Project, (TST-USA)

“As Carol Polsgrave has observed, African American periodicals constitute an ‘alternative public sphere’ that serves as ‘a base from which politically marginal groups challenge the power of the mainstream public sphere to define reality.’ Many African American newspapers survived for only a single issue, while others have lasted for more than a century. Regardless of length of publication, these often fugitive newspapers preserve a critically important documentation of American life, politics, art, and culture.”
—Randall K. Burkett, Research Curator for African American Collections, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Collection, Emory University

 “The expansion of African American Newspapers comes at a time when scholars are rediscovering the richness of this rare primary source material. The addition of several crucial titles, from the early 19th to the late 20th century, will not only enrich scholarship on African American activism and political organization, but also offer new insight into the more everyday aspects of black life, culture, and expression across two centuries. The historical span of the collection, its broad geographic scope, and the inclusion of non-English language papers will prove immensely helpful for scholarship and teaching in African American history, culture, literature, and related fields.”
Britt Rusert, Assistant Professor, W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Reviews

“Readex recently expanded their African American Newspapers, 1827-1998, Series 1 collection with 75 additional titles, to now tally more than 350 newspapers. Editor Danky, who compiled African-American Newspapers and Periodicals selected materials for this newly released Series 2.…The content is significant, and researchers will appreciate having access to such a large collection of primary sources….researchers seeking historical African American perspectives from the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries will certainly appreciate the breadth of this collection.”
— L. Stern, SUNY Cortland, in Choice (April 2017)

African American Newspapers, Series 1 and 2, 1827-1998, provides online access to more than 350 U.S. newspapers chronicling a century and a half of the black American experience.  Researchers 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. The collection includes historically significant papers from more than 35 states including rare 19th-century titles published by or for black Americans, digitized for convenient browsing and searching.”
— “Newsprint in Black” in Library Journal (Oct. 15. 2016)

“The library’s new African American Newspaper database has proven to be a beneficial tool for graduate student Sarah Patterson, whose research focuses on African American women in print culture. The university library acquired online access this summer to an extensive database that will be used for graduate research and by several classes according to library officials. Patterson said she started a petition for the library to acquire the collection, which was signed by over 90 students, professors and administrators. She said English professor Pier Gabrielle Foreman was in support of the university obtaining the collection and she plans to use the database in several of her classes. The new opportunity excited Foreman. She said for many years, African American political, cultural and economic activities were not viewed by mainstream print and academic institutions … Patterson said the newspapers are great for research but could also teach students a lot about the African American experience.”
— UD Review, the University of Delaware’s independent student newspaper
 

“A collection of the full text and indexing for more than 270 19th- and 20th-century U.S. newspapers from 37 states (plus the District of Columbia) published by and for African Americans … The subject matter encompasses ethnic studies, cultural studies, literature, social history and political studies from the Antebellum South to the civil rights movement and beyond …

“This extraordinary content—both deep and broad—is the main reason to acquire the file. It’s a treasure trove of African American culture and history. But the power of the search and display system also delivers that content beautifully …

“Verdict: Enthusiastically recommended for public and academic libraries serving serious researchers in African American studies and American history.”
— Cheryl LaGuardia, Harvard University, in Library Journal (May 1, 2012)
 

“The early black press served a unique purpose, articulating the social and political aspirations of African Americans in their own words. Although many of these publications were short lived, lasting only a few years or months, they reveal a point of view not often communicated by the mainstream press.

“In the past, librarians aiding scholars in identifying black newspapers and periodicals were often limited to consulting bibliographies, but now librarians can direct scholars to digital full text versions of these critical primary resources. African American Newspapers, 1827-1998, a Readex database released in 2009, provides access to over 200 black newspapers. Readex should be commended for including James Danky as the Senior Advisor for African American Newspapers 1827-1998 and making selections based on Danky’s seminal bibliography African American Newspapers and Periodicals: A National Bibliography (Danky and Hady, 1998). This bibliography is a trusted reference source for librarians, archivist and historians. It is to date the most comprehensive bibliography documenting over 6,500 rare and prominent African American newspapers and periodicals published in the U.S. …

African American Newspapers, 1827-1998 adds to the current selection of historical newspaper databases available, filling an important gap for libraries … The search interface, functionality and layout for African American Newspapers, 1827-1998 is identical to Readex’s America’s Historical Newspapers, accommodating both simple and complex searching … African American Newspapers, 1827-1998 is a worthy investment for libraries supporting traditional disciplines like history or political science and interdisciplinary fields such as African American, ethnic and women’s studies programs … libraries should consider a subscription to this Readex database to provide the broadest access to 19th and 20th century African American newspapers.”
—Carmelita N. Pickett, Texas A&M University, in Reference Reviews (Vol. 26, No. 3. 2012)
 

“As part of Readex’s America’s Historical Newspapers collection, African American Newspapers, 1827-1998 provides full-text access to 270 historically significant African-American newspapers from across the US. The collection content is drawn from the Wisconsin Historical Society, Kansas State Historical Society and the Library of Congress. With the selections guided by James Danky, editor of African-American Newspapers and Periodicals: A National Bibliography (CH, Feb'00, 37-3082), students and faculty will discover firsthand reports of major events and issues such as the Civil War, presidential elections, business and trade, the arts and religion. Influential publications include The Cleveland Gazette (Cleveland, OH), The New York Age (New York, NY), L'Union (New Orleans, LA), and The Washington Bee (Washington, DC). Addition of Freedom’s Journal, the first newspaper owned and operated by African Americans, was under way as this review went to press.

“Researchers can access newspapers in a variety of ways. Search features are straightforward. In addition to searching a newspaper’s full text, headline or title, researchers may select newspapers from a region on a map or from a list of state names. Those seeking articles relevant to a particular time period may choose an era, e.g., the Roaring Twenties (1921-28), or a presidential era, e.g., Abraham Lincoln (1861-65). Researchers may also limit their search to an array of primary resources including letters, advertisements, and a variety of announcements. Covering more than a century and a half, this collection offers unique perspectives and rich historical context surrounding the African American experience. Summing up: highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals; general readers.”
— L. A. Ganster, University of Pittsburgh, in Choice (January 2011)

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