Bringing Periodicals From the African Diaspora To Your Fingertips

By A.J. Muhammad, Librarian III
June 5, 2020
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Interested in locating periodicals from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and don’t know where to begin or how to start your search? The Researching Periodicals From the African Diaspora LibGuide is here to help! The LibGuide was created to assist researchers with discovering periodicals collected by the Schomburg Center from the diaspora and is organized by geographic region: the West, Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and Asia. Here are some of the highlights of the LibGuide.

William Pickens and unidentified woman in the office of

William Pickens and unidentified woman in the office of "The Crisis"; Schomburg Center For Reseach in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division; William Pickens Photograph Collection; Photagrapher: William Pickens; Image ID: 1953742

African American Periodical Resources

Using materials such as bibliographies, indexes and secondary source works (the titles of which are included on the LibGuide) and the periodicals themselves, scholars can trace the publication of African American periodicals from their inception in the 19th century through the present day. The digitized version of select periodicals (The Crisis, Black Enterprise, Ebony, Jet, Vibeand others) are available via Google Books and we have put these resources in the LibGuide. We also share tools that researchers can use to locate periodicals by state and subject. As patrons with valid NYPL cards may access the full text version of articles from African American periodicals via databases, we have listed databases that allow researchers to access e-journals that go as far back as the 19th century. Also included are the titles of influential African American periodicals with an annotation about these publications.

Journal of Negro Life, July 1926, [Front Cover]

Opportunity: Journal of Negro Life, July 1926, [Front Cover]; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division; Illustrated by Gwendolyn Bennett; Image ID: 5073663

Resources for Caribbean, Canadian, Central and Southern American Periodicals

One of the strengths of the Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, the research department which houses the periodicals at the Schomburg Center, is a rich collection of periodicals from the western hemisphere including obscure publications or ones with short runs. We include suggestions on finding these titles on the page in the LibGuide for Caribbean, Canadian, Central and Southern American periodicals. We’ve added a link to dLOC (the Digital Library of the Caribbean), which is a cooperative digital library from and about the circum-Caribbean to the LibGuide. dLOC contains a Caribbean Newspaper digital collection of newspapers in different languages from the Caribbean, Mexico, South American, Central American and the U.S.

Caribbean Studies

Cover of the Caribbean Studies journal

Sub-Saharan African Periodicals Resources

Accessing the thousands of periodicals from Sub-Saharan Africa in the Schomburg Center collections shouldn’t be daunting for researchers and in the LibGuide we share tips for locating titles in the library catalog and connect you to databases where you can retrieve full text articles from African periodicals with a valid NYPL card. On the Sub-Saharan African periodicals page on the LibGuide we also spotlight influential African periodicals including literary journals such as Okyeame, and Drum, which was a groundbreaking magazine known for its iconic photo essays of life in South Africa during apartheid. The Schomburg Center also has other editions of Drum from other regions in African including East Africa and West Africa.

Digital Resources

As platforms focusing on disseminating information about the global Black experience have increased over the past couple of decades and both general interest and scholarly content is being created exclusively in digital format, we have included links to websites including African Portal, The Grio, The Rootand also Black Perspectives (which is an initiative of the African American Intellectual Historical Society).

Lastly, creating this LibGuide provided us with the chance to dig into the stacks and search through our holdings and in the process we found unique covers of some of the periodicals at the Schomburg including the Opportunity: A Journal of Negro Life from the U.S, Nigeria’s Indigo: A Black African Monthly, and Kenya’s FAWE News: The News Magazine About Girls’ and Women’s Education in Africaand others.

>>> Go to the LibGuide