U.S., African American Newspapers, 1829-1947

This record collection in Ancestry Library Edition (Ancestry LE) contains issues of approximately 200 different African-American newspapers printed in the 19th and early 20th century in various U.S. states.

Ad page from Indiana newspaper (IN.gov photo)
Ad page from Indiana newspaper (IN.gov photo)

Historical Background

The black press in America traces its roots to Freedom’s Journal, first published in 1827. Black papers served black population centers, where they provided news for their readers that was often ignored by the mainstream press.

What’s in the Records?

The newspapers microfilmed in this database contain news (local, national, world), editorials, advertisements, and other items that provide context on a place and time. They often also include birth, marriage, and death notices, which can be crucial to genealogical research. The following details are indexed, and so can be used to perform searches for desired information:

• name
• residence
• birth date and place
• bride and groom
• marriage date and place
• age at marriage
• death date and place
• age at death

An image of the newspaper page in question is generally provided—images vary in quality.

In addition to searching for individuals, you can also search for events occurring in a particular place:

LIVED IN—LOCATION: Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

You can also do a location search in this manner:

KEYWORD: “St. Louis” (Exact)

I would suggest doing both searches, as returns can vary significantly.

You can use Ancestry LE at Central Library or any of our branches.

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