CHNC News! Historic African American Newspapers Now Available


In a few short years CHNC has grown tremendously and made some exciting changes.  We have a new and improved website, reached 1 million pages and have added many new titles.  We could not have done this without the dedication of our long-term partners and the new partners we have made.

It’s always exciting to work with new CHNC partners but we have many partners that we continue work with year after year. History Colorado (HC) has been a generous supporter and partner of CHNC since even before the original collection went live in 2005.  CHNC began as a joint endeavor of the Colorado State Library, History Colorado, and the Collaborative Digitization Program (CDP). It was started with two grants  — a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant provided by the Colorado State Library and an Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant. These grants, which ended in 2005, provided the funding to license the original software, purchase the hardware that hosts the newspaper images and database, and to digitize the first 97,000 pages of newspapers.

HC also holds the largest collection of Colorado newspapers in the state, with more than 1,000 titles available on microfilm. Much of this important community news no longer exists in paper form and is only available in HC’s microfilm collection.  HC generously makes this microfilm available to CHNC and our partners for digitization and inclusion in the online collection.

In 2016 HC received an National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant to digitize 100,000 pages of Colorado newspapers and make them available through the Library of Congress Chronicling America website.  This site offers free access to digitized pre 1923 historic newspapers from across the United States. HC is also adding this content to CHNC. During the next year HC will be adding pages from 18 Colorado newspapers to Chronicling America and to CHNC.

While ongoing support for maintaining and providing access to the CHNC is paid for with state funds administered by the Colorado State Library, new pages are added when community funding is located to pay the costs of digitization. Even though we have recently negotiated lower overall pricing, this can still be a financial challenge for many communities.  Many of the titles being added by HC through this grant funding cover groups and geographic areas that are underrepresented in CHNC due in large part to financial barriers.

Denver Star. August 17, 1918

HC most recently digitized and added Denver African-American newspapers,  the Statesman (1905-1912), and The Denver Star (1912-1918).  The Statesman was first published by Joseph D. D. River in 1889.  In 1912, The Denver Star began to bill itself as “The paper formerly known as the Statesman.” In 1913, it was noted that “the papers formerly known as The Statesman and The Independent, have been merged into The Denver Star.”  While these papers covered news from African-American communities in “Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and the West”, they also covered local news from Denver’s Five Points district.  Five Points, sometimes referred to as the “Harlem of the West” is one of Denver’s oldest neighborhoods.  These newspapers offer researchers a vast amount of information on Denver’s African American culture and community, including its residents, businesses and aspects of everyday life.

These newspapers are a wonderful addition to CHNC. We are thankful for HC’s generous support and this opportunity to partner with them on this and future additions to Colorado’s online collection.  Make sure to check CHNC throughout the year to see History Colorado’s other additions!

Further Reading

If you would like to learn more about becoming a CHNC partner or how to fund a CHNC project please contact me at ljeremias@coloradovirtuallibrary.org.

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