Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers


The black press offers a rich trove of sources to explore everyday moments in the history of black women. African-American newspapers covered Shirley Chisholm’s presidential campaign, civil rights activism by Clara Luper and Gloria Richardson, sporting achievements by Alice Coachman and the Tuskegee Institute women’s track team, and voter registration efforts by Maggie Bozeman and Julia Wilder. These papers featured obituaries on iconic women like Harriet Tubman, as well as figures like Sisseretta Jones, whose fame had receded by the time of her death. Social pages covered debutante balls and going away parties for WWII defense workers, while advertisements encouraged women readers to buy wigs, shoes, and plastic sofa covers. Articles and editorials by black women journalists and columnists, such as Betty Washington, Rebecca Stiles Taylor Dodson, and Mary McLeod Bethune also offer insights into the intellectual production of black women, showing how they navigated their contemporary events and sought to influence the opinions of black newspaper readers. The examples listed below highlight this impressive range of sources. With more than sixty articles, there are more than enough for each day of Women’s History Month.

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