Rare Black History resources now available through University of Waterloo library

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Amiri Baraka

Amiri Baraka addressing the Malcom X Festival in San Antonio Park, Oakland, California.

Amiri Baraka addressing the Malcom X Festival in San Antonio Park, Oakland, California. Photo by David Sasaki from San Diego, USA on Wikimedia.

Black News


Copies now available through Special Collections & Archives at the University of Waterloo library.
Black News title page. Text: Featuring Congress of African People. National and International Section Fundisha. Hand-drawn image of people around a table.
Black News cover. Image of many children and youth.
Cover of Black News  with title, "Mozambique Revolution."

Library and graduate student collaboration

During Black History Month in 2024, the University of Waterloo library announced the acquisition of exciting and relevant research resources. They include:

  • Black News, a rare collection of Brooklyn-based newspapers from the 1970s that offer a rare glimpse into the experiences of Black communities at a critical moment in the history of the Civil Rights Movement.
  • The digitized papers of poet and activist, Amiri Baraka.
Vera Zoricic

When Vera Zoricic, PhD student in history at Waterloo was on an MA research trip in 2001 to Schomburg in New York City, she became aware of resources that "capture Black community activism at its height during the 1970s in the greater New York City region as a legacy of the Civil Rights period." 

Fast forward to 2023 when Vera, now a PhD student in history with a research focus on Digital Black History, approached the history liaison librarian, Mike Chee. She wondered "about the possibility of bringing these valuable resources to Waterloo."

"It is quite a coup," says Vera, for the library to acquire Black News, "as it is a very rare and very valuable collection. To my knowledge only the Brooklyn Public Library has the complete physical collection. Black News captures an era of cultural nationalist sentiments in Brooklyn, New York. It is a time of community building and Black pride," she explains.

Amiri Baraka (1934-2014) was a poet, playwright, activist, and educator. According to Black History in America, Baraka "became influential during the 1960s as a spokesperson for radical black literature and theater."

The post from the library explains the team effort at the library to make these resources available. For Vera, the support and collaboration from the library for her research is a "pleasure and a privilege."

All Tri-U History graduate students should have access to the Amiri Baraka’s digitized papers. If you have problems, please see our library information page and/or contact your librarian whose contact is listed on that page. To view Black News, interested parties should contact Waterloo's Special Collections & Archives. According to their website, appointments are encouraged.