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AAS 190 - Freshman Seminar: News Coverage of Ethnic Minorities

Newspapers as Primary or Secondary Sources

Primary sources were either created during the time period being studied or were created at a later date by a participant in the events being studied (ex: memoirs).  They reflect the individual viewpoint of a participant or observer.  Primary sources enable the researcher to get as close as possible to what actually happened during a historical event or time period.


A secondary source is a work that interprets or analyzes a historical event or phenomenon.  It is generally at least one step removed from the event and is often based on primary sources.  --- Definitions courtesy of UC Berkeley.


Note:  In the humanities, age is an important factor in determining whether an article is a primary or secondary source. For example, a recently-published journal or newspaper article on the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case would be read as a secondary source because the author is interpreting a historical event. However, an article on the case that was published in 1955 could be read as a primary source that reveals how writers were interpreting the decision immediately after it was handed down. -- Ithaca College Library - Primary and Secondary sources 


Find Ethnic Newspapers

Multi-Ethnic Databases

Ethnic Newswatch via Proquest Newspapers (great source)


This collection contains U. S. newspapers, magazines, and journals of ethnic, minority, and native presses, searchable in English and Spanish. This database includes both current (1990-present) and historical (1960-1989) indexes.


To find newspapers by geography and ethnicity in ethnic newswatch follow these steps:


1. Select "Advanced" at the top of the page.

2. From the Advanced Search Page find the "Location" box and select "look up locations."

3. Enter a city or state name. Select the city or state. Click add to search.

4. Scroll down to the category databases. Deselect all then select "Ethnic Newswatch."

5. Click "Search."


Chronicling America

Library of Congress website of digitized newspapers. Note: Newspapers are from before 1922.


To find newspapers by geography and ethnicity in Chronicling America:

1. Select the "All Digitized Newspapers, 1836-1922" tab at the top of the page.

2. Select an ethnicity or a state and ethnicity. 

3. Click "Go"



African American Newspapers


Proquest Newspapers

This collection includes many major African American Newspapers including the Atlanta Daily World, Baltimore Afro-American, Chicago Defender, Cleveland Call and Post, Daily Defender, Los Angeles, New York Amsterdam News, Norfolk New Journal, Philadelphia Tribune, and the Pittsburgh Courier. 


African-American newspapers, 1827-1998

This database contains about 270 U.S newspapers chronicling a century and a half of the African American experience.




Hispanic American Newspapers


Hispanic American Newspapers

This database is a compilation of Spanish-language newspapers - some published in both Spanish and English - printed in the U.S. during the 19th and 20th centuries. Can be searched simultaneously with other historical newspapers via the America's Historical Newspapers database.



Native American Newspapers

Ethnic Newswatch

Recent news articles from the Native Press.


Georgia Historic Newspapers
This database includes The Cherokee Phoenix. America's Historical Newspapers database also includes Native American newspapers written in the Shawnee language.


Jewish American Newspapers

America's Jewish Newspapers 

Excellent collection of American Jewish Newspapers from Proquest.


Other Ethnic Groups


Ethnic American Newspapers from the Balch Collection

When complete, this database will provide access to more than 130 fully searchable newspapers in 10 languages from 25 states. Coverage will include Americans of Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Jewish, Lithuanian, Polish, Slovak, and Welsh descent during the time period 1799-1971.


Finding Titles

Need to know if we have a specific title in print or online? Search discoverE and ejournals!

Need more information about your newspaper?

To learn about your newspaper, try reference databases like Credo Reference Unlimited and Oxford African American Studies Center.

Recommended Searches

Try searching by: 

  • Newspaper Title (Amsterdam News, Chicago Defender, other major African American Newspaper)
  • Editor or Publisher

Credo Reference Unlimited

Credo Ready-Reference services feature full-text, aggregated content from hundreds of reference books covering every major subject. 

Reference Universe

Another useful reference database.

Oxford African American Studies Center

Core texts includes: Africana, The Encyclopedia of African American History; Black Women in America, and The African American National Biography. In addition, the site includes over 300 carefully edited primary source documents with commentaries, approximately 2,300 images and over 300 charts, tables, graphs, maps, and timelines. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., editor-in-chief. **If you have problems logging into OAASC, try using Oxford Reference Online. It contains many of the same core encyclopedias on African American History.

Ulrichsweb provides factual information about periodicals such as start year, title change information, and place of publication.

American National Biography

Successor to the renowned Dictionary of American Biography, the ANB is a premier source of biographical information on over 18,000 people from all eras who have influenced and shaped American history and culture.

Recommended Searches:

  • Editor or Publisher
  • Journalist

If you do not find information about your newspaper in one of the databases above, the following print resources may be helpful:

A Reference Guide to Afro-American Publications and Editors: 1827-1946 (great source!)
By Vilma Raskin Potter
REFERENCE Z6944 N39P63 1993
Newspaper titles, places of publication, and founding dates are provided. Introductory chapters also provide good background information on the original list of presses developed by Warren Henry Brown as well as African American women journalists.

Biblographic Checklist of African American Newspapers (great source!)
By Barbara K. Henritze
On page xxviii, see the list of African American Newspapers published by individual states to gain a perspective on the range of African American newspapers that have been in publication from the 1800s - 1995 (5,539 as of 1995). The checklist includes publication titles, city and state of publication, frequency, years of publication, and citations to sources in which these papers were mentioned. Source codes are indexed in Appendix A.

Ethnic Periodicals in Contemporary America: An Annotated Guide (great source!)
Compiled by Sandra L. Jones Ireland
REFERENCE Z6953.5 A1 I74 1990
290 ethnic interest United States-published periodicals are profiled here. Newspapers, magazines, bulletins, newsletters, and journals are listed. A wide range of ethnicities and languages are included. Covers early 20th Century - 1990.

The Standard Periodical Directory: 26th edition, 2013
REFERENCE Z6951 .S78 V.36 2013
On page 669, a listing of basic factual information for General Ethnic Periodicals in publication in the United States and Canada begins. Periodicals are listed by subject and also alphabetically. For specific ethnic newspapers, use the index at the back of the book to locate page numbers of listings. Earlier years are in the stacks and in storage.

Ulrichs Periodicals Directory, 2014
REFERENCE Z6941 .U4 52nd ed. Volume 2  (There are 4 volumes)
On page 3352 of volume 2, a listing of basic factual information for International, including the U.S., Ethnic Interests publications begins.