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African American Newspapers, Series 1


A century and a half of the African American experience
Learn what makes this product unique
  • Titles, drawn from more than 35 states, provide a one-of-a-kind record of African American history, culture and daily life
  • Covers life in the Antebellum South, the Jim Crow Era, the Great Migration, Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights movement, and more
  • Based upon James P. Danky’s monumental bibliography: African-American Newspapers and Periodicals

African American Newspapers, Series 1, 1827-1998, provides online access to 280 U.S. newspapers chronicling a century and a half of the African American experience. This unique collection, which includes papers from more than 35 states, features many rare and historically significant 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 Readex America’s Historical Newspapers collection, African American Newspapers, Series 1, was created from the most extensive African American newspaper archives in the United States—those of the Wisconsin Historical Society, Kansas State Historical Society and the Library of Congress. Selections were guided by James Danky, editor of African-American Newspapers and Periodicals: A National Bibliography. 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.

A richly detailed record of the African American past
Series 1 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 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.

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“…highly recommended…”
“...unique perspectives and rich historical context surrounding the African American experience. ”
Choice (January 2011)
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This product supports the following subjects
African American Studies
American Studies
Ethnic Studies
US History
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Notable Titles

Chronicling a century and a half of the African American experience, African American Newspapers, 1827-1998, features more than 270 newspapers from 35 states, including many rare and historically significant 19th century titles. These U.S. titles published by African Americans constitute valuable primary sources for researchers exploring such diverse disciplines as cultural, literary and social history; ethnic studies and more. Key titles include:

Afro-Hawaii News (Honolulu, HI)
In addition to starting the 50th state’s first African American newspaper, Afro-Hawaii News founder Howard “Stretch” Johnson spearheaded a campaign to end segregation in Major League Baseball, fought for a state holiday to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. and created the Afro-American Leadership Coalition.
• Includes 55 issues published between 1987 and 1991

Alaska Spotlight (Anchorage, AK)
Following World War II, development and population boomed in Alaska. To give the black community there a voice and an identity, publisher George Anderson created the Spotlight and continued to run it until his death.
• Includes 12 issues published between 1956 and 1968

The Appeal (St. Paul, MN)
One of the leading African American newspapers in the country by the end of the 19th century, the Appeal was reprinted in five states.
• Includes 1,086 issues published between 1903 and 1923

The Arkansas State Press (Little Rock, AR)
Published by civil-rights leader Daisy Bates, the State Press provided unequaled coverage of the 1957 desegregation crisis at Little Rock’s Central High School
• Includes 896 issues published between 1941 and 1959

The Broad Ax (Salt Lake City, UT & Chicago, IL) 
Editor Julius Taylor, who founded this Democratic weekly at a time when most African Americans were affiliated with the Republican Party, earned many rivals through his active and outspoken editorials, which were likely to employ such epithets as calling a fellow editor a “pale-faced two-legged dung-hill rooster.”
• Includes 203 issues published between 1895 and 1899

The Cleveland Gazette (Cleveland, OH) 
Nicknamed “The Old Reliable” for never missing a Saturday publication in 58 years, the Gazette’s causes mirrored those of managing editor Harry C. Smith. Over the years, Smith used his paper’s influence to argue against segregated schools, minstrel shows and the last of Ohio’s “Black Laws” and for college education and Republican policies. One of the most powerful voices against segregation, the Gazette was the country’s longest running African-American newspaper by World War I.
• Includes 2,588 issues published between 1883 and 1945

Freedom’s Journal (New York, NY)
As the first African-American newspaper published in the United States, the Journal provided regional, national and international information on current events; contained editorials declaiming slavery, lynching and other injustices; published biographies of prominent African Americans; and included birth, death and marriage notices as well as job listings in New York’s African American community. Despite its brief run, the Journal circulated in 11 states, the District of Columbia, Haiti, Europe and Canada.
• Includes 103 issues published between 1827 and 1829

The Freeman (Indianapolis, IN)
Called “the Harper’s Weekly of the Black Press” the influential Freeman was the first illustrated African-American newspaper.
• Includes 1,458 issues published between 1888 and 1916

The Langston City Herald (Langston City, OK)
Herald founder E.P. McCabe also co-founded the all-black community of Langston, and used his widely-circulated newspaper to expand African American migration to the area. The paper promoted Langston as a refuge for African Americans fleeing persecution in the South and encouraged enterprising families to stake out homesteads on the fertile prairie.
• Includes 56 issues published between 1891 and 1893

The New York Age (New York, NY)
One of the most important African American newspapers in history, the Age features W.E.B. Du Bois’ first publication—a letter to editor T. Thomas Fortune, whose career intersected with that of Du Bois on numerous occasions.
• Includes 126 issues published between 1889 and 1892

The Richmond Planet (Richmond, VA)
Lawyer Edwin Archer Randolph founded the Richmond Planet in 1883, but within a year, the newspaper was in the red and on the verge of collapse. It was resurrected by John Mitchell, Jr. and a group of black teachers who had been fired from the Virginia Public School system. Mitchell, the son of former slaves, helped bring the Planet to the zenith of its popularity in 1895 when he aggressively covered the trial of three black women charged with the murder of a white woman. When the prosecution eventually dropped the charges, the Planet’s role in the outcome was widely acknowledged.
• Includes 7 issues published between 1885 and 1900

L'Union/Union (New Orleans, LA) 
L'Union was a tri-weekly, bi-lingual French and English title published in New Orleans in the years immediately after the port city was liberated by Union troops. It provided an astonishing array of political and literary information aimed toward the city’s cultured black population.
• Includes 96 issues published between 1862 and 1864

The Washington Bee (Washington, DC)
The boldest of several D.C. titles during this period, the Bee’s motto was “Stings for our enemies, honey for our friends.” This widely influential paper was read by African Americans around the world.
• Includes 1,926 issues published between 1882 and 1922

Wisconsin Afro-American/Northwestern Recorder (Milwaukee, WI) 
Although this pioneering black title in an overwhelmingly white state didn’t last for long, its mission to solidify the fledgling African American community and attract impoverished southern sharecroppers to the industrial opportunities of the north was carried on by future papers. 
• Includes 11 issues published between 1892 and 1893

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