The biggest challenges of African American history research are locating and accessing resources. Many parents want to be able to provide an accurate view of history for their children. You might think that the best resources are out of reach if you are not a scholar, but there is much available to you through archives, libraries, and societies. This first article in a series highlights the collections at the Ohio Historical Society, “The African American Experience in Ohio 1850-1920,” and links you to resources that will help you get started.
Begin with the several great examples included in the “Our Favorites” section. The interview of Julia Ann James, an ex-slave who settled in Clark County, Ohio is one of the chosen manuscripts. She tells of her experiences as a slave when the war broke out in North Carolina.
Not all of the resources from this collection are available for online viewing. They can be accessed from the microfilm reading room at the Ohio Historical Society or purchased from them.
One of the collections on 8 rolls of microfilm is the papers of George A. Myers 1890-1929. The finding aid created for this collection tells how at one time he was not able to enroll in Baltimore College because he was Black and how he moved to Cleveland and went on to become a delegate for the Republican National Convention in 1892, 1896, and 1900. See “The George A. Myers Papers, 1890-1896, Finding Aid Overview.”
The image of the actual manumission paper of Sam Barnett can be viewed from the site compliments of The National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center.
The Colored Citizen was a Black newspaper published in Cincinnati 1863-1869. Articles from page 2 of the May 19, 1866 issue are available from this collection. The newspaper description is as follows:
“The Colored Citizen was established November 7, 1863 in Cincinnati. The newspaper was published by an association of black residents of Cincinnati, Louisville, Zanesville, St. Louis, Chicago, Columbus, Indianapolis and other major cities of the Midwest. It was primarily a journal of general news and literature with an emphasis on news pertinent to African Americans. The editors considered the press as the most powerful means of refuting lies and slanders of critics of African Americans.” See “The Colored Citizen.”
Browse other resources in this collection which include:
Be sure to follow the Ohio Historical Society Collections blog. See “African American Manuscripts at OHS.”
“Hunt for History” is a series dedicated to sharing resources online and offline that can help you learn about the African American experience throughout history. Be sure to click “subscribe” above so you do not miss the next National African American History Examiner article.