MORGANTOWN. W.VA. — West Virginia University Libraries’ West Virginia & Regional History Center is seeking copies of or information about three African-American newspapers published in the early 20th century in Huntington in an effort to preserve their content through the National Digital Newspaper Program.
WVRHC Curator Stewart Plein said very little is known about The Breeze, The Huntington Enterprise and The West Virginia Spokesman, all published in Huntington about 100 years ago.
“Although I have found references to all of these newspapers in my historical research, I have yet to locate even a single surviving issue in any library,” Plein said.
Her goal is to borrow any existing issues of the newspapers, scan them and return the originals to the owners, and add the electronic versions to the NDNP, a partnership between the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize newspapers published in the United States more than a century ago and make them available on the Chronicling America website.
The WVRHC has been involved with the project since receiving a $266,000 NEH grant in 2011 to begin digitizing newspapers published in West Virginia from 1836 to 1922. Additional grants followed, with $135,000 in 2013 and $155,000 in 2015.
WVU will soon add another 100,000 newspaper pages to its already 200,000-page contribution, which is searchable online. By August 2017, all known issues of West Virginia’s African-American newspapers from the 19th and early 20th centuries will have been digitized.
Thanks to the NDNP, researchers have immediate access to reporting on the growing antebellum conflict between eastern and western Virginia, John Brown’s Raid, the Civil War, West Virginia’s statehood movement and establishment, West Virginia’s Constitution of 1872, Reconstruction and the United States’ Centennial, as well as coal mining labor disputes and the development of the gas industry.
More information about the newspapers included is available on the WVRHC’s site.
CONTACT: Monte Maxwell, communications coordinator for West Virginia University Libraries