AFRO goes digital

The Mellon Foundation has provided nearly half a million dollars to The Johns Hopkins University to assist in the cataloging and digitization of the unique archives of the Afro American Newspaper in Baltimore, making them searchable and available online.


African American women and supporters march for the right to vote. 1939, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Photo from the AFRO archives.

According to a story in New American Media:

The AFRO has recognized the value of preserving its historical pages since it was founded in 1892. The company has stored thousands of photos, articles, business documents, journals, letters etc. dating back to the late 1800s. Many writings, artwork and photographs are contained from individuals including Langston Hughes, Romare Bearden, Sam Lacy and others. It has been referred to as the largest single source of 20th century African-American history in the world.

Another great thing about this support is the possibility of training a new set of archival digitization students at JHU, AFRO, and Morgan State University, whose faculty will participate in providing the training.

Valuable collections like this rarely get external support due to the smaller size of their collections, and their lack of connection to large research universities. This will be a marvelous resource.