Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers


Black Quotidian is a digital project designed to highlight everyday moments and lives in African-American history. This site features historical articles from black newspapers such as the Atlanta Daily World, Baltimore Afro-American, Chicago Defender, and Philadelphia Tribune. These newspapers are among the most important sources for understanding black history and culture in the twentieth century.  By emphasizing the ordinary or mundane aspects of history I hope both to call attention to people and events that are not commonly featured in textbooks, documentaries, or Black History Month celebrations, while also casting new light on well-known black history subjects.

During the first phase of Black Quotidian (January 2016 through January 2017), I posted at least one black newspaper article from that date in history, accompanied by brief commentary. Launched on Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2016, the project now includes more than 365 posts and more than 1,000 media objects. So far, over three dozen undergraduates, graduate students, professors, and independent scholars have contributed guest posts. During the second phase of the project I plan to expand the project for digital "publication."  I will write analytical essays drawing on black newspapers and other multimedia sources, and develop thematic groupings and navigational options to allow readers to explore this research.  For more information on why I started Black Quotidian, see pieces in the AHA's Perspectives on HistoryNational Council on Public History's History @ Work, and Slate.

Popular Posts (click on date to view post):

January 29, 1972: "Madame President?: Our Shirley [Chisholm] First Black Woman to Run," NY Amsterdam News

April 15, 1939: Marian Anderson's landmark performance at Lincoln Memorial, reported in Chicago Defender

March 31, 1934: Philadelphia Tribune women's basketball team in the Norfolk Journal and Guide.

February 25, 1939: Blanche Thompson, Irvin C. Miller, and "Brown Skin Models" revue in Norfolk Journal and Guide

February 22, 1965: The black press on the murder of Malcolm X

April 12, 1947: Jackie Robinson's Major League Baseball debut, covered in the black press

February 6, 1982Cleveland Call & Post advertisement for Wilber Black, the (Jheri) "Kurl King" and Black's Pride Hair Care Center.

March 27, 1971: South Carolina civil rights activist Victoria DeLee runs for Congress

March 13, 1954Cleveland Call and Post on the Connie Morgan, Toni Stone, and Mamie "Peanut" Johnson, the three women who played Negro League baseball

March 26, 1955
: Claudette Colvin's arrest reported in the Chicago Defender

March 25, 1944: Amy Ashwood Garvey in the New York Amsterdam News.  Guest post by Dr. Keisha N. Blain

April 4, 1968: The front pages of black newspapers after assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

March 9, 1957Pittsburgh Courier celebrates Ghana's independence with 32-page supplement

April 5, 1933
: Hamilton Lodge Ball and drag performances in New York Amsterdam News

Archived Posts:

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This page references:

  1. Norfolk Journal and Guide - April 19, 1947
  2. Cleveland Call and Post - March 13, 1954 - Connie Morgan
  3. Chicago Defender - April 15, 1939
  4. NY Amsterdam News - March 25, 1944 - Garvey
  5. Atlanta Daily World - December 2, 1931
  6. Chicago Defender - March 26, 1955 - Colvin
  7. NY Amsterdam News - January 29, 1972 - Madame President?
  8. NY Amsterdam News - March 27, 1971 - DeLee
  9. Cleveland Call and Post - June 26, 1982
  10. Norfolk Journal and Guide - March 31, 1934
  11. Chicago Defender - February 22, 1965
  12. Los Angeles Sentinel - April 11, 1968
  13. Norfolk Journal and Guide - February 25, 1939
  14. NY Amsterdam News - April 5, 1933
  15. Pittsburgh Courier - March 9, 1957 - Ghana