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New eResource: Black Life in America

Sean's picture

Three new digital newspaper databases from Newsbank were added in late July. I've already written blog posts about two of the three, America's News and HeritageHub. This post will focus on the third one, Black Life in America. Black Life in America from Newsbank offers comprehensive coverage of the African American experience from the early 18th century to the present day. Sourced from more than 19,000 American and global news sources, including over 400 current and historical Black publications. It is an easy-to-use online resource that is updated daily. It is free to use with a valid FRVPLD card, and it can be accessed from home.


Accessing Black Life in America

1. Go to the Research Page on the library's website.

2. The resources on this page are listed alphabetically. Black Life in America is at the top in the B's. Click on the Black Life in America logo or where it says "Access Black Life in America here" to open the Black Life in America homepage.

Screenshot of Research Page on Library's website


3. If you are accessing from home, you will now see a Newsbank login screen prompting you for your library card number. Type in your card number and then click "Log in."

Screenshot of NewsBank library card login screen


4. You will now be at the Black Life in America homepage. NOTE: If you are accessing from within the library, you will not get the prompt from the previous step and instead will get taken right to the Black Life in America homepage.

Screenshot of the Black Life in America homepage


Using Black Life in America

Now that we are at the Black Life in America homepage, there are a few different ways to use this resource. There is a "Suggested Searches" section below the main search bar that has categories organized by time period. You can click through these categories to view various topics, and when you click on a topic, you will get a list of newspaper articles that fit the topic. You can also use the main search bar to do a basic search by typing in any keyword, such as a name, event or topic. This will search every newspaper available for the keyword(s) you put in, but then there are filters along the left hand side you can use to narrow down the results, including source type, year, source name, and source location.

Screenshot of a search results screen on Black Life in America website


Back on the homepage, there are a few additional search options below the search bar. There's "More Search Options," "Date Search," and "Map Search." No matter which one you click on, you get taken to the same advanced search screen. At the top of this page, there is a search bar with an additional search field below it (it is set to date range by default). You can change this field to a different type by clicking the arrow next to "Date(s)" and you can add additional search fields by clicking the "+" button. Below that is a map of the world that you can use to limit your search by a certain location. You can click on a continent on the map or click on one on the list to the left on the map and the map will zoom in to specific countries, and so on. At any point, if you click on the boxes next to any continents, countries, states, etc. listed to the left of the map, those locations will be added to your search automatically. You just have to click the blue "Search" button towards the top right side of the page to run the search. Like the other two resources, some articles will come up as scanned images from the actual newspapers, and others will come up with just the text of the article.


This pretty much sums up how to use Black Life in America. Black Life in America is a great resource for researching black history and culture. There are over 19,000 American and global news sources, including over 400 current and historical Black publications. Access it for free now with a valid FRVPLD card. If you have any questions about Black Life in America, please feel free to stop by the Information Desk, call us at 847-428-3661, or email us at