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Researching Periodicals From the African Diaspora: Influential African-American Periodicals
On this page, researchers can find a list of influential Black American periodicals that are accessible in the Research and Reference Division and some are available as an e-resource to researchers with a valid NYPL card. Annotated descriptions for the publications listed on this page come from the database African American Experience, Black Journals of the United States and Wikipedia.
Anglo-African Magazine was a monthly magazine that began publication in pre-civil war America (1859 lasting through 1865) and was devoted to disseminating African American political and intellectual thought. Schomburg Center holdings include issues from 1859 and 1860.
Black Enterprise was established in 1970 by Earl Graves Sr. with the mission of helping African Americans close the wealth gap, and the magazine has played a vital role in educating black readers on financial matters and empowering black businesses, entrepreneurs, professionals, and families.
The Brownies' Book was the first magazine published for African-American children and youth. Its creation was mentioned in the yearly children's issue of The Crisis in October 1919. The first issue was published during the Harlem Renaissance in January 1920, with issues published monthly until December 1921.
The Crisis was founded in 1910 by W.E.B. Dubois and it was the official publication of the N.A.A.C.P. It covered a variety of topics including civil liberties, racism, labor, health, the humanities, sciences, sports and more.
Ebony, which began publication in 1945, served as the Black counterpart to the magazines such as "Life" and "Look," and it documented the accomplishments of African Americans in business and celebrities in the entertainment industry.
Fire!! was a short-lived (one issue in 1926) literary magazine published at the peak of the Harlem Renaissance that which featured some of the most important emerging voices of the African American literary avant-garde.
Freedomways which launched in 1961 endeavored to provide a forum addressing all problems confronting Blacks in America; strengthen the ties between people of African descent and throughout the diaspora; and explore new economic, political and social systems. For the spring 1966 issue, Ernest Kaiser, a former Schomburg Center staff member, compiled and summarized the previous five years of Freedomways.
Jet magazine, which was publishing beginning in 1951, was a companion to other Johnson Publication Co. magazines including Ebony and Tan Confessions. Jet reported on influential African Americans across industries. It usually featured a popular celebrity its cover an one of its best remembered section was the "The Beauty of the Week" centerfold.
The Messenger was published in Harlem and founded by A. Philip Randolph and Chandler Owen. The Messenger was a reflection of the creative explosion of the Harlem Renaissance ran essays, poetry, feature articles, cultural criticism, and articles about labor, business, education, women, etc.
Negro Digest (which was later re-titled Black World) was the first publication that was produced by Johnson Publications Co. in 1942. It covered topics relevant to the lives of Black Americans including politics, education, the performing arts, industry, etc.
Opportunity: Journal of Negro Life was published in 1923 in association with the National Urban League. This periodical tackled a host of issues including migration, social work, religion, education, migration, and housing.
Tan Confession was a short lived publication (1950-1952) that was part of the Johnson Publishing Co. portfolio and it evolved out of the confession magazine genre of its time. The publication was was geared toward Black women readers.