Black Life in America provides comprehensive news coverage of the African American experience from 1704 to the present. It is sourced from more than 19,000 American and global news sources, including over 400 African American publications.
From the early days of slavery to modern times, people of African descent have had a profound impact on American history. Black Life in America is a digital archive of news media that presents the broad sweep of African American history, including many Black achievements not covered in most textbooks, and provides balanced coverage from diverse sources published across four centuries. From Black-owned newspapers to mainstream publications, this primary source collection offers a broad view into centuries of African American history, culture and daily life – as well as how the dominant culture has portrayed and perceived people of African descent.
Series 1: 1704-1877: Arrival in America through Reconstruction
It is impossible to understand the struggles and successes of people of African descent in America without understanding their roots. Series 1 brings to life a pivotal era in American history, with original reporting and contemporary perspectives on the lives of enslaved and newly freed people, Nat Turner’s revolt, Harriet Tubman’s heroism, the Underground Railroad, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and more. Through firsthand reporting, editorials, obituaries, illustrations, and advertisements, these historical newspapers shed new light on critical events while revealing the impact of African Americans whose stories are less well known.
Series 2: 1878-1975: Jim Crow through the Civil Rights Movement
Even after slavery was toppled, many laws and policies continued to disadvantage Black Americans. Men and women such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Martin Luther King, Jr., helped rectify these injustices, even while fighting a system often designed to silence them. Through historical newspapers, Series 2 provides insight into their efforts and those of hundreds of other civil rights leaders, as well as daily life during the Jim Crow era and the lasting contributions of African Americans in nearly every field imaginable. It also offers a range of views and reporting on the court decisions and policy changes that profoundly shaped the African American experience.
The purchase of Black Life in America was made possible through a grant from the Unidel Foundation.