Thursday, September 24, 2009

New African-American historical newspapers online

The Stanford Libraries have recently acquired online access to three new historical African-American newspapers.

The Baltimore Afro-American (1893-1988) (ProQuest)

Next to the Chicago Defender (which Stanford already owns), The Baltimore Afro-American is arguably the most important newspaper available digitally in ProQuest’s new African American newspapers series, a part of their Historical Newspapers line. It is a full-text, full-image database that is key-word searchable. The Baltimore Afro-American (1893-1988) was the most widely circulated black newspaper on the Atlantic coast and has been highly influential throughout the nation. It was the first black newspaper to have correspondents reporting on World War II, foreign correspondents, and female sports correspondents. The paper's contributors have included writer Langston Hughes, intellectual J. Sunders Redding, artist Romare Beardon, and sports editor Sam Lacy.

The Atlanta Daily World (1931-2003)

Stanford has also acquired The Atlanta Daily World (1931-2003), also published in the ProQuest Historical Newspapers line. The Atlanta Daily World provides a critical view of African-American life in the 20th century South. Founded by W.A. Scott II, the paper sought to educate, inspire, uplift and promote the expression of the Southern black community. It includes first hand coverage of the infamous Scottsboro Case, as well as reviews of African American literature, such as Richard Wright’s Native Son. Importantly, it provides an African-American perspective on the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s and coverage of Atlanta’s own Martin Luther King, Jr. Its Southern perspective provides an important regional balance to the two African-American newspapers (in ProQuest’s Historical Newspapers line) that Stanford already owns (the Chicago Defender and the Baltimore Afro-American). Importantly too, it can be cross-searched with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, also in the ProQuest Historical Newspapers line.

The Christian Recorder(1877-1902), in African-American Newspapers: The 19th Century (Accessible Archives)

The Christian Recorder was (and remains) the official newspaper of the African-American Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States.

The Christian Recorder embodied secular as well as religious material, and included good coverage of the black regiments together with the major incidents of the Civil War. The four-page weekly contained such departments as Religious Intelligence, Domestic News, General Items, Foreign News, Obituaries, Marriages, Notices and Advertisements. It also included the normal complement of prose and poetry found in the newspapers of the day.

Stanford already owns earlier issues of The Christian Recorder, as a part of the Accessible Archives collection African American Newspapers: The 19th Century. These newly acquired years of The Christian Recorder detail the challenges faced by African-Americans in the South after the Compromise of 1877 and the end of Reconstruction through the early 20th century. The Accessible Archives interface allows for full-text searching (text has been re-keyed, as well as available through facsimile images). Advanced users may use field, proximity, and boosting searches along with the standard Boolean, wildcard, truncation and parenthesis searches.