Jun 4, 2021

Minnesota’s Oldest Black-Owned Newspaper Puts Its Archive Online

The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder has documented daily life in the Twin Cities’ Black community for more than 85 years. But until recently, finding stories from that rich past meant slogging through stacks of old newsprint.

Now, that history can be found with a few clicks. Archives reaching back to 1934 are online now at the Minnesota Historical Society’s digital newspaper hub.

“We’ve, over the years, have had a lot of phone calls about old articles. Because our archive system is kind of archaic, it wasn’t very user-friendly. You’d be back there digging through old papers forever,” said Tracey Williams-Dillard, owner and publisher of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, the state’s oldest Black-owned newspaper.

“With it being digitized, now you can put a name in and all the articles that have that name, and it will pop up now,” she said. “This is super cool.”

Almost 11,000 pages of the Minneapolis Spokesman, one of the forerunners of today’s Spokesman-Recorder, can be accessed through the hub, said Anne Levin, the digital newspapers manager at the Minnesota Historical Society.

Issues of the St. Paul Recorder, Twin-City Herald and Timely Digest will also be added to the digital hub in the next few months. Currently, about 8,530 pages of the Recorder are available, covering the years from 1934 to 1941. About 1,800 pages of the Herald and more than 200 pages of the Timely Digest are also digitized.

You can read more in an article by Matt Mikus published in the MPRnews web site at:

The Minnesota Digital Newspaper Hub may be found at: