African-American Newspapers, 1827-1998

A full text collection of 270 black newspapers from 36 U.S. states, including many that are rare. Newspapers can be searched individually, together, or in your own customized title combinations.

African-American Newspapers: The 19th Century:  An important collection of publications, mainly from the period before the Civil War. The database contains the following titles, which can also be searched together.



ProQuest Historical Newspapers -- Black Newspapers: a suite of 9 important titles, which includes:

  • Baltimore Afro-American, Baltimore, Maryland (April 29, 1893 - Februrary 6, 1988; some gaps): founded by a former slave, John H. Murphy, this newspaper quickly emerged as one of the widest-circulating titles on the Atlantic coast. In addition to having hired the first black female reporter, the newspaper boasts a long line of important contributing writers:  Langston Hughes, James Saunders Redding, artist Romare Bearden, and sports editor Sam Lacy, whose columns influenced the desegregation of professional sports. The newspaper fought for equal employment rights, urged African American participation in politics, and advocated state-funded higher education for blacks. In the 1950s, working with the NAACP, the newspaper's efforts contributed to the outlawing of public school segregation.  Recent issues via Ethnic NewsWatch | Website
  • Chicago Defender, Chicago, Illinois (July 31, 1909 - December 31, 1975): A leading voice of the black community in Chicago -- and well beyond it, The Chicago Defender was a proponent of The Great Migration (1915-1925). It reported on the Red Summer race riots in 1919, editorialized for anti-lynching laws, and argued for the integration of blacks into the U.S. military.  Among the individuals whose careers it supported (or actively promoted) were Bessie Coleman (the first African American female pilot), Langston Hughes, William Motley, and Gwendolyn Brooks. Recent issues via Ethnic Newswatch Website
  • Pittsburgh Courier, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (March 25, 1911 - December 28, 2002): Once the most widely circulated black newspaper in the U.S. in the early 20th century, the Pittsburgh Courier urged African-Americans to participate actively in shaping their political destinies.  It campaigned for increasing the number of black doctors and and opening a hospital to serve blacks in the Pittsburgh area. In the 1930s, it led nationwide protests against the offensive portrayals of African Americans in the Amos 'n' Andy Show, and during World War II, its "Double V" campaign promoted equal rights at home for black soldiers serving overseas.  The luminaries who have written for the paper over time include W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, James Weldon Johnson, and Zora Neale Hurston. Recent issues via Ethnic Newswatch Website
  • Philadelphia Tribune, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (January 6, 1912 - December 30, 2001; some exceptions):  Today, the Philadelphia Tribune remains the oldest continuously-published daily black newspaper in the United States.  Founded by Christopher James Perry in 1912, it conveyed ideas and opinions about local and national issues of importance to black in the post-emancipation period.   It supported the growth of the United Way fund and launched a "clean block" program, promoting the health, safety, and well-being of the city's residents.  The newspaper fought segregation and rallied against the race riots in Chester, Pennyslvania, August 1-4, 1917. It campaigned to appoint black citizens to the board of education, city council, and judiciary. Recent issues via Ethnic Newswatch | Website
  • New Journal and Guide/Norfolk Journal and Guide, Norfolk, Virginia (September 30, 1916 - December 30, 2003): When P.B. Young, Sr. purchased it in 1910, The Norfolk Journal and Guide had a circulation of just under 500.  Young, known as the "Dean of the Negro Press," built it into one of the best researched and written newspapers of its era, with a circulation of more than 80,000 by the 1940s.  This Southern-based newspaper necessarily adopted a factual, unemotional tone in expressing optinion on social injustice, an approach that attracted the advertising revenue from local and national white-owned businesses -- Goodrich, Pillsbury, and Ford, for example - that other black newspapers did not receive. Unlike the Chicago Defender, however, The Norfolk Journal and Guide campaigned against The Great Migration of Southen laborers to the North.  One of the few black papers to provide on-the-scene reporting of the 1930s Scottsboro trial, it also argued against restrictive covenants, rallied against lynching, encouraged blacks to vote, and supported improvements to city streets and water systems. Recent issues on microfilm | Website
  • Los Angeles Sentinel, Los Angeles, California (May 17, 1934 - December 29, 2005): From its beginnings, when it urged African Americans to "not spend your money where you can't work," the Los Angeles Sentinel has explosed prejudice, promoted social change, and empowered the black community.  The newspaper documented the plight of blacks during the Depression years in Los Angeles and covered the grass-roots struggle against racially restrictive housing covenants in the 1940s. Recent issues via Ethnic Newswatch | Website
  • Atlanta Daily World, Atlanta, Georgia (December 2, 1931- December 25, 2003; some gaps): Founded in 1928, the Atlanta Daily World was one of the most widely-circulated black newspapers in the South during the 1930s. The first 20th century black daily, it promoted equal rights and an end to racial segregation.  It also hired the first black White House correspondent.  Website
  • Cleveland Call and Post, Cleveland, Ohio (January 6, 1934 - December 26, 1991): The Call and Post was created by the 1927 merger of 2 struggling weeklies, The Call, founded ca. 1920, and The Post also established ca. 1920 as the organ of a fraternal group known as the Modern Crusaders of the World. The Call and Post continued to struggle until the arrival in 1932 of editor William O. Walker.  By the late 1930s, Walker had transformed it into the most influential black paper in the Cleveland metropolitan area.  It was known for its active role in organizing community support -- in the form of letters, clothing, cigarettes, and monetary donations -- for the defendants in the Scottsboro Trial. Walker also used his newspaper to promote black solidarity and self-reliance and participation in politics as a path to equal rights. Recent issues via Ethnic Newswatch | Website
  • New York Amsterdam News, New York, New York (November 29, 1922 - December 25, 1993; some exclusions): Founded in 1909, the Amsterdam News grew to become one of the nation's leading black newspapers and one of New York's most influential black-owned institutions.  It captured the vibrancy and cultural richness of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, advocated for the desegregation of the U.S. military during World War II, and fought against discriminatory employment practices and other civil rights abuses in the 1960s.  Recent issues via Ethnic Newswatch | Website

Black Abolitionist PapersThis e-resource is a digital reproduction of the contents of the landmark, 17 reel microfilm edition of the same name, published in 1981. Black Abolitionist Papers was the first comprehensive, primary source research collection to detail the extensive work of African Americans to abolish slavery in the United States prior to the Civil War.  The approximately 15,000 articles, documents, correspondence, proceedings, manuscripts, and literary works of almost 300 Black abolitionists show the full range of their activities in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, France and Germany. Approximately 60% of the documents in this collection come from newspapers.  Microfilm edition | Index to the microfilm edition

Black Panther Party Newspaper (selected issues, 1968-1980): The official publication of the organization founded in Oakland, California by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale in 1966, as part of the Black Power movement. Harvard also has a substantial collection of print ephemera from the Party, including newsclippings, pamphlets, newsreels, and more.  Black Panther Ephemera, Record 1 (1968-2004) | Black Panther Ephemera, Record 2 (1968-2004) | Black Panther Printed Ephemera Collection, Houghton Library

Ethnic NewsWatch: An interdisciplinary full-text collection of newspapers, magazines, and journals of the ethnic, minority, and native press from 1960 to present. Designed to capture perspectives that manistream media overlooks or under-represents, Ethnic News Watch currently provides access to 52 newspapers from the African American, Caribbean, and African communities, Important African American titles include the Boston Banner (formerly the Bay State Banner), 1992-present; the Indianapolis Recorder1980-present; and the Oakland Post, 1991-present.

African American Newspapers, Center for Research Libraries (Chicago IL):  This consortium, which Harvard participates in, makes its collections available to members for free and unlimited use. Among its holdings are 126 African American titles, current and historical, on microfilm. To borrow CRL materials, simply submit an Interlibrary Loan request.  Read more