Explore Black History with Black Life in America

Celebrate Black History Month by learning more about African American lives and history.

Newspapers and other primary source documents are a great way to supplement book research. Reading directly from these sources can help you understand more about the everyday experiences of Black people.

That’s why the library subscribes to Black Life in America, the most comprehensive digital collection of primary source documents related to Black American life. This online resource provides access to more than 19,000 global media outlets, including the largest and richest collection of African American newspapers.

Not Sure Where to Start?

Black Life in America offers more than 800 Suggested Searches, organized by historical eras, themes, topical areas, and events. These curated searches take the guesswork out of finding useful content.

Examples of Suggested Searches include:

  • Emancipation Proclamation
  • Josephine Baker
  • Tuskegee Airmen
  • Brown v. Board of Education
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
Screen shot of Suggested Search categories in Black Life in America.
Screen shot of Suggested Searches categories on Black Life in America.

Other Suggested Searches focus on more contemporary topics, like Black Lives Matter or the movie Black Panther. And because the resource is updated daily, you’ll also find Suggested Searches on current events.

Search Local History

You’ll find articles from the Lexington Herald, Lexington Herald-Leader, The Jessamine Journal, and other Kentucky newspapers in Black Life in America.

And some notable former residents, such as Morgan and Marvin Smith and Rev. Gabriel Burdett, appeared in national news outlets.

For example, Rev. Gabriel Burdett is mentioned in the article, “From Lexington. Convention of Kentucky Freedmen—The Objects in View—Excellent Speeches by the Delegates,” which appeared in the Cincinnati Daily Gazette, on Nov. 27, 1867.

Excerpt from the article "From Lexington. Convention of Kentucky Freedmen--The Objects in View--Excellent Speeches by the Delegates."
Excerpt from the article “From Lexington. Convention of Kentucky Freedmen—The Objects in View—Excellent Speeches by the Delegates.”

Access Black Life in America

Find the link to Black Life in America on our Genealogy and Local History or A to Z Databases webpages. If you are logging in from home, enter your library card number.

Learn More

Learn & Go: Black Life in America
Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024
3:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Stop by to learn more, test your knowledge of Black history, and enter to win a prize!

Or watch a brief introductory video by clicking on the link below.