Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bridging the Past

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law in August, but in many respects, this month marks the Act's true anniversary. Indeed, most observers would agree that the immediate impetus behind this landmark legislation was the Selma-to-Montgomery march for voting rights, which started on March 7, 1965 ("Bloody Sunday").

Besides being a good time to reflect on this history, it is also a good time to read about it. Now through March 15, UW students, faculty, and staff have access to the Pittsburgh Courier, the New York Amsterdam News, and the Baltimore Afro-American—three preeminent African American newspapers that chronicled and helped shape the civil rights movement in this country.

These titles are being evaluated as part of a broader ProQuest Historical Newspapers trial. Currently, when it comes to the pantheon of the historical Black press, the UW library system subscribes only to the Chicago Defender. Users, for their part, can provide feedback to the library staff by clicking the ask us! link.
Newspapers like the Courier, the Amsterdam News, and the Afro-American are wonderful resources in any context, but they are especially useful for purposes of conducting civil-rights research. With any luck, these titles will become part of UW's regular subscription package. For now, we have an extraordinary opportunity to read the words that shaped our history.

Photo credits: (top) Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Miscellaneous Items in High Demand (Collection), LC-DIG-ppmsca-08102. Peter Pettus, photographer. (lower) Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection, LC-USF33-012992-M3. Russell Lee, photographer.

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