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AMST 3221: Hands-On Public History. Black Newspapers

Research guide for finding Black newspapers from around 1860-1920 for students in Lisa Goff's AMST 3221 class.

Searching Black Newspapers

The following databases include Black newspapers from around 1860-1920 (and more). Use advanced search features to limit searches by date, location, and other criteria. 

African American Newspapers Series 1 & 2 
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. The link will take you to a larger collection, America's Historical Newspapers, with these two series of newspapers selected. 

ProQuest Historical Newspapers - Black Newspapers 
A subset of the larger ProQuest Historical Newspapers, this is a collection of several prominent black newspapers including the Chicago Defender, Norfolk Journal and Guide, Pittsburgh Courier, Baltimore Afro-American, and NY Amsterdam News.

ProQuest Historical Newspapers - Philadelphia Tribune
The oldest continuously published black newspaper, is dedicated to the needs and concerns of the fourth largest black community in the U.S. During the 1930s the paper supported the growth of the United Way, rallied against the riots in Chester, PA, and continuously fought against segregation. Coverage is from 1912-2001.

Virginia Chronicle - African American Newspapers 
Virginia Chronicle is the Library of Virginia's online newspaper database and repository, and contains over 46,000 individual issues totaling nearly 300,000 pages. A subset of the titles available are Black newspapers, including: Afro-American Churchman, People's Journal, Reformer, Richmond Planet, Staunton Reporter, Staunton Tribune, and True Southerner, among others. 

Virginia Black Newspapers

The links below should take you directly to browse/search features for listed titles. If you know of a particular newspaper that you'd like to search through that is not included in this list, please check for access to the title in Virgo, or reach out to Sherri or Chris (information on left) for help. 

Alexandria, VA

People's Advocate 

Berryville, VA

People's Journal 

Boydton, VA

Midland Express 

Hampton, VA

True Southerner 

Norfolk, VA 

New Journal and Guide 

Petersburg, VA

Afro-American Churchman 

National Pilot 

Richmond, VA 


Richmond Planet 

Southern News 

Virginia Star

Staunton, VA 

Staunton Reporter 

Staunton Tribune

Selected Black Newspapers from Other States

Far from an exhaustive list, these papers, although not based in Virginia, may include news about events/happenings in Virginia. If you know of a particular newspaper that you'd like to search through that is not included in this list, please check for access to the title in Virgo, or reach out to Sherri or Chris (information on left) for help. 


   Savannah Tribune (Savannah, GA)


Broad Ax (Chicago, IL) 

The Chicago Defender (Big Weekend Edition) (Chicago, IL) 

The Chicago Defender (National Edition) (Chicago, IL) 


Freeman (Indianapolis, IN) 


Southwestern Christian Advocate (New Orleans, LA) 


Afro-American (Baltimore, MD)

New York 

National Anti-Slavery Standard (New York, NY)

New York Age (New York, NY) 

The New York Amsterdam News (New York, NY)


Cleveland Gazette (Cleveland, OH) 


The Christian Recorder (Philadelphia, PA)

Philadelphia Tribune (Philadelphia, PA) 

The Pittsburgh Courier, City Edition (Pittsburgh, PA) 

Washington, D.C. 

(The) Colored American 

Washington Bee

Also of Possible Interest

African-American Historical Serials features 173 periodicals spanning from 1816 through 1922. The periodicals in this collection include newspapers and magazines, in addition to reports and annuals from various African American organizations, including churches and educational and service institutions.

Colored Conventions Project is a digital humanities interdisciplinary research hub that uses digital tools to bring the buried history of nineteenth-century Black organizing to life. The site features hundreds of primary sources from the conventions movement. Primary sources include minutes, proceedings, newspaper articles, speeches, letters, transcripts, and images. The digital collections are organized by year, type, and region. Many primary sources have been transcribed and are keyword searchable. Mirroring the collective nature of the nineteenth-century Colored Conventions, CCP uses inclusive partnerships to locate, transcribe, and archive the documentary record related to this nearly forgotten history and to curate engaging digital exhibits that highlight its significant events and theme.