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Black Newspapers Collection

Location: The papers can be found in Truman's Library Catalog by individual title or by using the subject: African American Newspapers. For a list, see Newspapers on Microfilm.


Many of the foremost black publications of  20th century America  are represented in this collection. The papers cover 15 states beginning in 1896.  There is an index to about 10 papers considered the core of the collection that covers the years 1977-1996. (Index to Black Newspapers Micro Reference AI 3 I46, continued by Black Newspapers Index Micro Reference AI 3 I462).

How to search the collection

1. Select the year of Index to Black Newspapers (Micro Reference AI 3 I46) or Black Newspapers Index (Micro Reference AI 3 I462) for the year that you are interested in. Look for the subject you are interested in.

2. The Index to Black Newspapers  uses the format below for finding things.


Wilfred Little interviewed about his brother Malcolm X

MI  Feb.18 A-4-1


“MI” is an abbreviation for a newspaper title (in this example, the Michigan Chronicle).  The titles and abbreviations for each year of the index are in the front of each index.  Not all titles are covered every year and new titles may be added in different years. “Feb. 18” is the date. “A” is the section of the newspaper. “4” is the page. “1” is the column.

The Black Newspapers Index uses the following format to find things:


Lenox Ave. in New York City renamed for Malcolm X

(M) My23, B, 3:1 AM


“(M)” stands for the length of the article,  (S=small, M=medium, L=large).  “My 23” is the date.  “B” is the section.  “3” is the page. “1” is the column. “AM” is the name of the newspaper (in this example, Amsterdam News).  A list of the newspapers and their abbreviations is at the beginning of each index.

3. Write down the year from the spine of the index.

4. Check Truman’s Library Catalog or the list at Newspapers on Microfilm to find the call number for the newspaper you need.

5. Reel through the microfilm until you find the date, section, page and column you need.


Index to Black Newspapers. Wooster, Ohio: Bell & Howell, Co., 1977-1986. (Micro Reference  AI 3 I46)

Black Newspapers Index. Ann Arbor, Mi.: University Microfilms International, 1987- (Micro Reference AI 3 I462)

African-American Newspapers and Periodicals: a National Bibliography.  Cambridge, Ma.: Harvard University Press, 1998.
This a listing of African-American newspapers, not an index for them.

For more information about this subject in our Library Catalog, check out these
Subject Categories:

African Americans -- Newspapers.

African American newspapers.

Time Period: 20th Century  

Subject keywords: Journalism, African American Studies