We have purchased the archives of two black American newspapers: The Baltimore Afro-American (1893-1988) and New York Amsterdam News (1922-1993). Both appear in the library catalogue and LibGuides (including our A-Z list of databases).
Founded by former slave John Henry Murphy, Sr. when he merged three church publications, The Baltimore Afro-American became one of the most widely circulated African-American newspapers on the Atlantic Coast. In addition to featuring the first black female reporter (Murphy's daughter) and female sportswriters, the papers contributors have included writer Langston Hughes, intellectual J. Saunders Redding, artist Romare Bearden, and sports editor Sam Lacy, whose column influenced the desegregation of professional sports. Through the decades, the newspaper fought for equal employment rights, urged African-American participation in politics, and advocated state-funded higher education for blacks. In the 1930s, The Afro-American launched The Clean Block campaign, which is still in existence today, to clean up inner-city neighbourhoods and fight crime. It stationed correspondents in Europe and the Pacific during World War II, providing first-hand reports to readers. In the 1950s, working with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the newspapers efforts contributed to the outlawing of public school segregation.
From an initial $10 investment, the New York Amsterdam News grew to become one of the nations leading black newspapers and one of New Yorks most influential black-owned institutions. For nearly a century, it has helped influence and promote the causes and aspirations of African-Americans. The New York Amsterdam News captured the vibrancy and cultural richness of the Harlem Renaissance in 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.