February 17, 2018

Newsprint in Black | Product Spotlight

Beginning with the publication of Freedom’s Journal by Samuel Cornish and John Brown Russwurm in 1827, U.S. newspapers and periodicals written and distributed by African American journalists and publishers in the 19th and 20th centuries have played a vital role in giving voice to black communities, while chronicling and ultimately preserving history from the perspective of those communities. This product spotlight showcases subscription databases with extensive historic black newspaper collections, as well as a selection of free resources made available by the Library of Congress (LC), the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and other institutions.

Product: African-American Newspapers
Company: Accessible Archives


The Accessible Archives collection contains databases of primary-source materials from historic books and periodicals. It includes works written by black Americans for black Americans that detail 1800s cultural life and history through firsthand reports of major events and issues. Researchers will find early biographies, essays and editorials, vital statistics, poetry and prose, and advertisements reflecting black Americans’ life during that time period, all in a user-friendly online environment previously only available in microformat or hard copy.

Titles include The Christian Recorder, The Colored American/Weekly Advocate, Frederick Douglass’ Paper, Freedom’s Journal, The National Era, The North Star, and the Provincial Freeman. Accessible Archives is available to universities, colleges, community colleges, public libraries, historical societies, research institutions, K–12 schools, and museums as well as to individuals. Accessible Archives offers both an annual subscription option with access to all databases for one year as well as permanent licenses, which enable users to purchase individual segments of large databases.

Product: African-American Historical Serials Collection
Company: EBSCO

EBSCO’s African-American Historical Serials (AAHS) Collection documents the cultural and religious life of black Americans in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It features more than 60,000 pages of primary source content preserved and curated by the American Theological Association (ATLA) and provided by EBSCO’s Historical Digital Archives. The collection preserves endangered serials related to black American religious life and culture with more than 170 publications spanning 1829 through 1922. This includes periodicals, newspapers and magazines, as well as reports and annuals taken directly from black American organizations, churches, and educational and service institutions plus new materials that have not previously been included in preservation projects.

AAHS is presented through a digital interface specifically designed to replicate the experience of browsing and reading original archival material while allowing keyword searching, manipulation of page views, note-taking capabilities, and various downloading options.

For subscribers to Readex’s African-American Periodicals, 1825–1995, there is no overlap with EBSCO’s African-American Historical Serials Collection. EBSCO’s content contains 170 rare, historic titles all published prior to 1922, focusing largely on religious and charity-based organizations, institutions, and churches.

Product: Historical Newspapers-Black Newspapers Collection
Company: ProQuest

Through ProQuest’s Historical Newspapers-Black Newspapers, researchers can examine articles, obituaries, and coverage of both community and international events. Through primary source materials, Historical Newspapers-Black Newspapers gives an in-depth look into black American culture, history, politics, and the arts and explores everyday life as written in the Chicago Defender, the Baltimore Afro-American, New York Amsterdam News, Pittsburgh Courier, Los Angeles Sentinel, Atlanta Daily World, the Norfolk Journal and Guide, the Philadelphia Tribune, and Cleveland Call and Post.
The Black Newspapers collection is cross-searchable with all other ProQuest Historical Newspapers including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times, allowing researchers to evaluate history from multiple points of view.

The ProQuest historical platform offers full-page and article images in downloadable PDF format, lengthy back files, and the ability to search 21 different article types.

Product: 19th Century U.S. Newspapers
Company: Gale


Gale’s 19th Century U.S. Newspapers is a full-text searchable, facsimile-image database providing an as-it-happened window into events, culture, and daily life in 19th-century America. The collection features political party newspapers from the beginning of the 19th century to the dailies that shaped the nation at the end of the century. The archive covers both rural and urban areas as well as large cities and small towns from coast to coast. It includes major newspapers and illustrated papers in addition to those published by black Americans, Native Americans, women’s rights groups, labor groups, the Confederacy, and other groups and interests. In addition to coverage of the American Civil War, black American culture and history, westward migration, Antebellum-era life, and other major topics, the collection includes scholarly essays on 19th-century American history written by prominent historians. This primary source content of 19th Century U.S. Newspapers has been taken from the largest collections of newspapers nationwide, with about 1.8 million pages archived, many of which have not previously been accessible online.

Product: African-American Newspapers, Series 1 and 2, 1827–1998
Company: Readex


Readex calls its database the world’s most comprehensive collection of its kind, offering more than 350 newspapers providing a record of black American history, culture, and daily life. Materials cover life in the Antebellum South, the growth of the black church, the Jim Crow Era, the Great Migration, the Harlem Renaissance, the civil rights movement, political and economic empowerment, and more. 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.

Titles in Series 1 come from the Wisconsin Historical Society, Kansas State Historical Society, and the Library of Congress. Titles in Series 2 are taken from the American Antiquarian Society, Center for Research Libraries, LC, and New York Public Library. All selections were guided by James Danky, editor of the monumental African-American Newspapers and Periodicals: A National Bibliography.

African-American Newspapers, Series 1 and 2, can be seamlessly cross-searched with Early American Newspapers, Hispanic American Newspapers, and Ethnic American Newspapers from the Balch Collection.

Denice Rovira Hazlett (denicehazlett.com; @charmgirl on Twitter) is a feature, profile, and fiction writer

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