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Throughout history, trailblazers in Black media have used the power of storytelling to reclaim their narratives as mainstream publications gave a narrow lens into the American experience. Howard University received an endowment to preserve and honor the voices of these Black writers, editors and publishers who instrumentally shaped the landscape of journalism.

The $2 million grant—provided by the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation—will be donated to the Howard University Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. The gift will support the digitization of the HBCU’s Black Press Archive; a vast collection that features over 2,000 newspaper titles from the United States and Africa, 2,847 microfilm reels of newspapers and over 100,000 newspaper issues.

The digital conversion of these pieces of journalism will make them accessible to the masses and ensure they are etched in history for generations to come. The endowment will also be used to fund scholarships for students, hire staff and purchase supplies and equipment for the digitization process.

“For generations, the stories of Black people in America were not deemed worthy of telling by the newspapers delivered to the homes of white people. Those journals documented only one version of the lived American experience,” Nikole Hannah-Jones, the inaugural Knight Chair in Race and Journalism at Howard University’s Cathy Hughes School of Communications, said in a statement. “The Black press served–and continues to serve–to celebrate, commemorate and honor Black lives in this country and to push this nation to live up to its highest ideals. Howard University has always understood the value and necessity of uplifting, documenting and fighting for Black lives, and the students we will support through the center will utilize and learn from this impressive archive. I am deeply grateful that the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation has chosen to fund the processing and digitization of the Black Press Archives, which are a tremendous gift not just to Howard but to the nation and the world.”

Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick added the endowment is “an important milestone that advances Howard’s mission to share the story of the Black experience with the world.”

News about the grant comes after Getty Images awarded four HBCUs with $500,000 to preserve their historic photos.


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