Special Editions: African-American Newspapers Being Digitized

By Diane Haddad Premium

It might be difficult to find information on your African-American ancestors in newspapers because many mainstream publications didn’t thoroughly cover black communities. And black newspapers rarely had the financial means to preserve their past editions, so microfilmed copies are hard to come by.

But that’s about to change. The media firm Amalgamated Publishers is working with digital-information-processing company Ninestars Information Technologies to digitize the archives of more than 200 African-American newspapers — many older than 100 years — and make them available online. Eventually, you’ll be able to access an online portal to fully searchable article archives for each paper. The article databases will work similarly to the New York Times <>. Searches will be free, but you’ll have to pay to see full articles.

Image: Freedom’s Journal, the first African-American newspaper, was published from 1827 until 1829. In their premiere issue (above), founders John B. Russwurm and Samuel Cornish noted blacks had been “incorrectly represented by the press and the church.”

From the June 2005 Family Tree Magazine