I decided to do some research on African-American newspapers in order to get a sense of the types of articles that were published in the past. As I began looking for sources, I came across relatively old articles made by Baltimore Afro-American company which was founded in 1892 by a former slave known as John Murphy. Like many other newspapers, Baltimore published articles about sports, societal or cultural issues, food and even humorous stories. The image below, shows a very unconventional article published in 1893 with the title: “Best way to get rid of rats”. The author of the article suggests that people can kill rats by feeding them “emetic tartar”, a substance that will make them sick and will force them to leave the house.
Many of the articles that I found were associated to robbery or crime stories. For instance, the image below was published in 1925, under the title “Good Lord, How He Can Shoot”. The article describes a robbery in which Andrew bennett (African-American individual in the middle of the picture) stopped three bandits. He injured one of the bandits with a pistol , although he never used a gun before. In the picture, he is handing the gun to a detective.
Something that surprised me is that I literally found over 2000 articles related to marital issues (e.g. cheating on another person, child custody, economic issues). It appears that sharing personal issues or stories with the public was a common practice. The article below shows an article published in 1941 with the title, “Wife says Hubby won’t Pay Rent”. In this article, the wife explains that her husband spends the whole day at home drinking alcohol and he doesn’t provide anything for the family.
Finally, as expected, I found many articles related to racial issues affecting African-American communities. The article below was published in 1946, with the title “Asks Federal Laws to Punish Racists”. The article describes a convention that took place in Atlantic city with the goal of making racist actions or prejudice into a federal crime.
Clearly a lot can be learn about different issues affecting individuals and the community by looking at newspapers. Baltimore is one of the many newspapers that can help us achieve those goals.