$2 Million Granted to Howard University to Digitize Its Archive of Thousands of Black Newspapers

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Howard University received a donation of $2 million to be used to digitize their Howard Black Press Archives, the largest collection of newspapers from the U.S., Africa, and the African diaspora. 

During the peak of the civil rights movement, a large portion of the mainstream news coverage excluded the views of Black people in its reporting. The narrative in print newspapers failed to include how black people felt about the protests, the racism they experienced in the United States, and how it impacted their lives. Due to this, black newspapers displayed in-depth coverage that balanced out what the white media had omitted. 

The $2 million grant will aid Howard University’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center in making available numerous articles that told stories of the impact of historical events about black people that have been very difficult to access. Digitizing the Black Press Archives will allow anyone to access Howard’s collection of more than 2,000 newspapers front he Africa, the United States, and the African diaspora online.

Jonathan Logan Family Foundation awarded Howard University with the grant, which supports organizations that advance social justice by promoting investigative journalism, the arts, and documentary film. Once the digitizing process is completed, the Black Press Archives will be the largest collection of its kind in the world. 

Historians and Scholars have expressed their excitement about digitizing black newspapers because the collection allows readers to gain perspective of how the Black media covered historical events during a time period when mainstream newspapers did not value or seek Black people’s point of view. 

“We were only getting a very one-sided version of our history,” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and founder of the Center for Journalism and Democracy at Howard Nikole Hannah-Jones said. “Newspapers catalogs the day-to-day in our society to help us understand the politics of our society, the culture of our society. The fuller version of all that can be found within the Black archives at Howard. So, it’s extremely exciting that this money is going to help preserve this precious archive, but also make it accessible to millions of people across the world.”

The Black Press Archives provides 2,847 microfilm reels of newspapers that total over 100,000 individual issues of publications from Black newspapers in Africa, America, and other nations.



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