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2009 Journalism History Review, published Summer 2009

Review published in FGS Forum, Winter 2008, Volume 20, Number 4, page 29.
Copyright 2008

Finding and Using African American Newspapers, By Timothy N. Pinnick. Published by The Gregath Publishing, P.O. Box 505, Wyandotte, OK 74370. <www.gregathcompany.com>, 2008, 71 pp. Softcover $12.

This booklet provides guidelines, samples and strategies for locating Black newspapers. It is an excellent companion to The Bibliographic Checklist of African American Newspapers by Barbara K. Hertize. Mr. Pinnick makes the case that newspaper research can help find: an exact or nearly exact event date for an ancestor; additional information on the event that will not be found in vital records; and the names and location of immediate family members including the married names of daughters or sisters.

Additionally African American Newspapers may help reveal the slave owner, which is often the most difficult aspect of African American genealogy. Identification might come from a run-away slave ad, placed in newspapers in the North or the South. Or researchers might associate an ancestor with a specific white family or owner through an article or obituary. Other gems include the notices published by former slaves after the Civil War seeking information on family members, and the social columns of African American newspapers that tell of the comings and goings of African Americans in the community.

Pinnick's tips on usage remind us that some newspapers are available online. Also, a large Northern city may have had more than one Black newspaper, so check all newspapers in the metropolitan area.

Overall, this is a practical and useful guide which clearly displays the author's attention to detail.

Kenyatta D. Berry
Los Gatos, California

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