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University of Michigan-Flint Archive Collaborates to Digitize Flint's Historical Black Newspapers

26 Apr 2024 8:32 AM | Anonymous

Newspapers are notoriously difficult documents to preserve. Newsprint is, by definition, a low-cost and non-archival paper. That means it's all too easy for the history contained in those newspapers – particularly smaller publications without the resources to house a dedicated archive – to be lost. 

"Unless they were microfilmed or someone digitized them, chances are historical papers no longer exist," said Callum Carr, associate archivist at the Genesee Historical Collections Center located in the University of Michigan-Flint's Frances Willson Thompson Library. "After a certain amount of time, that cheap paper is just going to be gone. And if it's been stored in somebody's basement, attic, or outbuilding, there's no hope."

Flint's Black historical newspapers could easily have been lost to the eroding effects of time. These publications, which ran from the late 1930s to the late 70s, chronicled the lives, perspectives and priorities of Flint's African American community. Outlets like The Bronze Reporter, The Flint Brownsville News and the Flint Spokesman covered topics ranging from who in town was going off to college to police brutality and systemic issues within the public school system. 

"These documents feel like small-town papers despite being published during Flint's boom years," Carr said. "They were written for a community within a community. We often talk about neighborhoods like St. John Street and Floral Park, but people don't really understand how these places were largely closed off from the rest of Flint."

You can read more in an article by Logan McGrady published in the web site at:

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