Trial access: Pittsburgh Courier

Until June 30, 2018, the Library has access to the newspaper Pittsburgh Courier in its various iterations: The Pittsburgh Courier (1911-1950), Courier (1950-1954), Pittsburgh Courier (1955-1966), and the New Pittsburgh Courier  (1996-2002).

This important African-American press title was founded in 1910 by Robert Lee Vann. At first the paper focused on local interests, but later addressed the social concerns that arose due to the influx of African Americans to Pittsburgh during the Great Migration. Vann used the paper as a platform to encourage prominent African Americans to serve their community; to promote education; and to counter the “negative coverage in the mainstream press by emphasizing African American achievement.”

Muhammad, Baiyina W. “Black Press: Newspapers in Major Cities.” In Encyclopedia of African American Business, edited by Jessie Carney Smith, Millicent Lownes-Jackson, and Linda T. Wynn, 1:79–88. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2006.

Primary Sources: Golden State Mutual Insurance Company records (UCLA)

photograph of gathering of young black men Over 2400 digitized items have been made available online at Calisphere from the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company records held at UCLA’s Spccial Collections in the Charles E. Young Research Library. The company was founded in 1925 in Los Angeles to provide dignified employment for African Americans and to provide them with insurance protection. The collection includes moving images, sound recordings, photographs, film strips, and slides. A finding aid for the entire collection is available at the Online Archive of California.

Exhibit: The Gift to Sing: Highlights of the Leon F. Litwack & Bancroft Library African American Collections

I’m sharing this announcement of Bancroft’s new exhibit:

The Bancroft Library just opened its fall/winter exhibition, The Gift to Sing: Highlights of the Leon F. Litwack & Bancroft Library African American Collections. Leon Litwack is a historian and legendary professor who taught here from 1964 to 2007. He won the Pulitzer Prize for History and the National Book Award for his 1979 book Been In the Storm So Long: The Aftermath of Slavery. He has been collecting books relating to African American history and culture since the 1940s and his collection is now perhaps the best in private hands. Ultimately, it will be coming to The Bancroft Library but highlights, along with related material from Bancroft’s collection, will be on display until February.

Highlights from Professor Litwack’s collection include Bobby Seale’s copy of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, a copy of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave inscribed by William Lloyd Garrison and Ida B. Wells’ incredibly rare and important pamphlet on lynching, The Red Record.

Bancroft highlights include the first printing of Phillis Wheatley’s collection of poems from 1773 and early works printed in California.

The Bancroft Library Gallery is open from Monday to Friday, 10-4.

David Faulds
Curator of Rare Books and Literary Manuscripts

Manuscripts of Slavery Collection from the XULA Library Archives & Special Collections

Bill of sale for slaveThe Xavier University of Louisiana Library Archives and Special Collections is in the process of digitizing and making accessible the Charles F. Heartman Manuscripts of Slavery Collection, which includes materials dating from 1724 to 1897 relating to the social, economic, civil, and legal status of slaves and free people of color in Louisiana. Currently there are over 2,100 viewable items on the website, consisting of over 8,000 manuscript pages.

According to the collection guide, “approximately half of the Charles F. Heartman collection consists of municipal records from city of New Orleans. Clerical books, especially those of the Third Municipality, provide valuable information on the labor and leisure activities of slaves in the early nineteenth century. The city also had the largest concentration of Free People of Color in the nation, and encompassing tax records and business bonds reflect their economic activity. There are also rosters of Negro soldiers in the U.S. Army during the Civil War, and records of societies of Freemen dating from Reconstruction and beyond.” The collection includes records in French, English, and Spanish.

Primary Sources: Independent Voices

cover of Berkeley Barb issue

Independent Voices is a digital collection of magazines, journals, newspapers, and newsletters housed in the alternative and small press archives of participating libraries and historical institutions.

The focus is on materials published during the 1960s-1980s that stem primarily from the second wave of feminism, LGBT activism, GI and student protest movements, and the Black, Chicano(a), and Native American movements.

Primary Sources: Los Angeles Sentinel, 1934-2005

A fairly recent edition to the Library’s collection of ProQuest historical newspapers is the Los Angeles Sentinel, with an almost complete run from 1934-2005. The Sentinel was established in 1933 by Col Leon H. Washington who began his career in newspapers at the The California Eagle, the oldest black newspaper in the state. The Sentinel started out as a free-circulation publication, but within a year readership increased enough for Washington to turn it into a subscription-based publication, soon rivaling The California Eagle in prominence and readership. To to this day the newspaper puts emphasis on issues concerning the African-American community and it’s readers.

Primary Sources: Slavery and the Law

Slavery and the Law  is an archival database of petitions on race, slavery, and free blacks that were submitted to state legislatures and county courthouses between 1775 and 1867. These petitions were collected by Loren Schweninger over a four year period from hundreds of courthouses and historical societies in 10 states and the District of Columbia. They document the realities of slavery at the most immediate local level and with amazing candor. Slavery and the Law also includes the important State Slavery Statutes collection, a comprehensive record of the laws governing American slavery from 1789-1865.

Included in this resource:

Judicial Cases Concerning American Slavery and the Negro by Helen Tunnicliff Catterall

Law of Freedom and Bondage in the United States by John Codman Hurd

Race, Slavery, and Free Blacks, Series I: Petitions to Southern Legislatures, 1777-1867

Race, Slavery, and Free Blacks, Series II: Petitions to Southern County Courts, Part A: Georgia (1796-1867), Florida (1821-1867), Alabama (1821-1867), Mississippi (1822-1867)

Race, Slavery, and Free Blacks, Series II: Petitions to Southern County Courts, Part B: Maryland (1775-1866), Delaware (1779-1857), District of Columbia (1803-1865)

Race, Slavery, and Free Blacks, Series II: Petitions to Southern County Courts, Part C: Virginia (1775-1867) and Kentucky (1790-1864)

Race, Slavery, and Free Blacks, Series II: Petitions to Southern County Courts, Part D: North Carolina (1775-1867) and South Carolina (1784-1867)

Race, Slavery, and Free Blacks, Series II: Petitions to Southern County Courts, Part E: Arkansas (1824-1867), Missouri (1806-1860), Tennessee (1791-1867), and Texas (1832-1867) 

Race, Slavery, and Free Blacks, Series II: Petitions to Southern County Courts, Part F: Louisiana (1795-1863)

State Slavery Statutes

Primary Sources: Baltimore Afro-American newspaper

The Baltimore Afro-American, a digitized newspaper recently added to the Library’s collection of Historical Newspapers from ProQuest, was founded in 1892. After the newspaper failed in 1896, one of its employees, John Henry Murphy, Sr., purchased the printing presses. From 1897-1922 the paper was under his control and it is still run by his descendants. 
The newspaper first focused on the internal and external affairs of Baltimore’s black community, including education, politics, social uplift, the promotion of black business, and civil rights. As its circulation broadened along the Atlantic coast, it increasingly addressed these issues on the national stage. 
The newspaper can be browsed by issue, searched separately, or searched along with other newspapers that make up the ProQuest database. PDFs of the articles can be saved or printed. 

Primary Sources: NAACP Papers: Education, Voting, Housing, Employment

Another purchase of the Law Library gives us access to the NAACP Papers on Education, Voting, Housing, Employment

The Education files in this collection document the NAACP’s systematic assault on segregated education that culminated in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 and subsequent efforts to implement the Brown decision. The 1916–1950 files in this collection document the NAACP’s campaign against the “white primary,” discriminatory registration practices, and the “grandfather clause.” Files from 1956–1965 chronicle the NAACP’s efforts to capitalize on the 1957 Civil Rights Act and the much stronger Voting Rights Act of 1965. This collection also documents the NAACP’s wide-ranging campaign regarding equal employment opportunities. The armed forces portion is an exceptionally rich documentary source on African Americans in the armed forces between 1918 and the early 1950s and includes the complete extant files of the NAACP’s Department of Veterans Affairs.