Issues of the Black newspaper from 1943-1960 are now available online.

Savannah Tribune front page announcing the Supreme Court decision outlawing school segregation

The newly digitized issues of the Savannah Tribune cover seminal moments in civil rights history, such as the Supreme Court's decision outlawing segregation, as well as daily life for Savannah's Black community.

Credit: Digital Library of Georgia

Civil rights movement-era issues of The Savannah Tribune, a historic Black newspaper, are now available online

The Digital Library of Georgia and Live Oak Public Libraries have digitized issues of the paper from 1943 to 1960, and made it searchable online for free.

It includes the paper’s coverage of Black soldiers coming home from World War II, bus boycotts and sit-ins during the civil rights movement and the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954 by the U.S. Supreme Court that outlawed racial segregation of children in public schools.

Digital Library Director Sheila McAlister said there’s also a wealth of local information, from ads to church news to obituaries.

“It’s a really great way to understand Savannah’s Black community socially and also economically and politically,” she said.

The Savannah Tribune was founded in 1875 as The Colored Tribune; the name changed the following year. It was one of the earliest, and is one of the longest-running, Black-owned newspapers in the South.

Most historic newspapers available digitally are written from a white perspective, McAlister said, so it’s key to digitize Black newspapers as well.

The Savannah newspaper’s archives also add to what’s available online about Georgia’s history.

“A lot of the time in Georgia, people will focus on what happened in Atlanta but not elsewhere in the state,” she said. “So I think having this newspaper content available for this super important time period for, you know, Savannah, the oldest community probably in Georgia, is really important.”

The digitization of The Savannah Tribune is part of a broader project to put Georgia newspapers online, called the Georgia Newspaper Project. The effort recently digitized its two millionth page: a front page of the Augusta News-Review, another historic Black paper.