Stanford University Press
Newspaper clipping of women
Stanford University Press


Black Quotidian by Matthew F. Delmont

The following documents the original digital publication Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers by Matthew F. Delmont (Stanford University Press, 2019). DOI: 10.21627/2019bq ISBN: 9781503607040

Download video transcript.


Black Quotidian explores everyday lives of African Americans in the twentieth century. Drawing on an archive of digitized African-American newspapers, author Matthew F. Delmont has employed the Scalar platform developed by the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture to guide readers through a wealth of primary resources that reveal how the Black press popularized African-American history and valued the lives of both famous and ordinary Black people.

Claiming the right of Black people to experience and enjoy the mundane aspects of daily life has taken on a renewed resonance in the era of Black Lives Matter, an era marked by quotidian violence, fear, and mourning. Framed by introductory chapters on the history of Black newspapers, a trove of short posts on individual newspaper stories brings the rich archive of African-American newspapers to life, giving readers access to a variety of media objects, including videos, photographs, and music.

By presenting this layer as a blog with 365 daily entries, the author offers a critique of Black History Month as a limiting initiative and emphasizes the need to explore beyond the iconic figures and moments that have come to stand in for the complexity of African-American history. Themes highlighted include, among others, civil rights, arts, sports, politics, and women in African-American newspapers. As a work of digital history, Black Quotidian models an innovative approach to research exploration and scholarly communication. As a teaching resource, Black Quotidian fosters self-driven exploration of primary resources within and beyond the curriculum.

The project was originally published November 2019 at It is the fifth publication of Stanford University Press’s initiative for the publication of interactive scholarly works funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Technical Requirements

This project is viewable at time of publication via any active JavaScript-enabled browser (Safari 14, Chrome 93, Firefox 91, Internet Explorer/Edge 93, Opera 78) on desktop, tablet, or mobile device connected to the internet. Because it contains audio and video, it is best experienced on a device equipped with audio output.

Technical Specifications

The project relies on the Scalar 2.5.10 platform run in a LAMP server environment running Cloudlinux 7.7. Custom CSS styles and JavaScript have been added to the base Scalar scripts and styles. To rebuild the project, a user may import the project data file in the SDR collection to an empty Scalar 2.5.10 application. The following configurations should be applied in the Dashboard:


  • Title: <span data-hide-versions="true">Black Quotidian</span>
  • Subtitle: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers
  • Description: [blank]
  • URI segment: bq
  • Table of Contents:
    1. Overview
    2. Introduction
    3. History
    4. Themes
    5. Archive
    6. Resources
    7. Acknowledgements
    8. Author Bio


  • Interface: Scalar 2
  • Navigation: No
  • Background image: media/CD – 9-8-45 – first page - color 1 web.png
  • Thumbnail image: media/book_thumbnail.jpg
  • Custom style:
        @import url('/cover/build/bq/assets/css/c_local/50_contexts/scalar_interior.css');
        @import url('/cover/build/bq/assets/css/c_local/50_contexts/overview.css');
        @import url('/cover/build/bq/assets/css/c_local/50_contexts/themes.css');
        @import url('/cover/build/bq/assets/css/c_local/50_contexts/media_grid.css');
        @import url('/cover/build/bq/assets/css/c_local/50_contexts/footer.css');
        .title_card {background: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0) linear-gradient(to bottom, rgba(0, 0, 0, 0) 0%, rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.2) 30%, rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.2) 100%) repeat scroll 0 0;}
        /* Remove note icons */
        sup { top: -.1em; }
        .texteo_icon_note { background: none; padding-left: 0; }
        /* End of path link style */
        a.nav_btn.primary {
          font-family: "Lato", Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif;
          font-size: 1.25em;
          background-color: #026697;
          color: #1C242D;
          background-color: transparent;
          position: relative;
          padding: 0;
          text-decoration: underline;
          a.nav_btn.primary:before {
            content: '>';
            position: absolute;
            left: -1.5em;
            color: #FFD970;
          /* Remove comment icons */
          #comment_control {
            background: url();
  • Custom JavaScript:
    $(document).ready(function() {
      $('body').on('pageLoadComplete',function() {
        $('body').find('> footer, #footer').remove();
        $('body').append('<footer><div><div>©2019 Stanford University | <a href="" title="Terms of Use">Terms of Use</a></div><div>ISBN 9781503607040  |  DOI 10.21627/2019bq  |  OCLC <a href="" target="_blank">1125984179</a></div><div>Published by <a href="" title="Visit SUP">Stanford University Press</a></div></div></footer>');
          var tp = $('');
          if (tp.length>0) {
            tp.find(' > span .sp-block').wrapAll('<div class="menu-grid" />');
          // Styles Content list universally
          $(document).ready(function() {
            $('body').bind('pageLoadComplete',function() {
              $(' .relationships').each(function() {
                if ($(this).find('.path_of').length > 0) {


  • Scope: Book
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publisher logo: [blank]
Additionally, the media tar file in the SDR collection should be uncompressed and loaded into the bq/media subdirectory.

User Experience

publication cover page
Figure 1

After clicking enter on the landing page (see fig. 1), visitors arrive at the project overview page, where they will find four options: Introduction, History, Themes, and Archive (see fig. 2). Visitors can navigate the project in different ways. Those who are interested in the project’s methodology, theoretical frameworks, and scholarly contributions, should start with the Introduction pathway. The three pages on this pathway lead into the History pathway, which discusses the important role the black press played in advancing Negro History Week and later, Black History Month. The three pages on this pathway lead into the Themes pathway.

publication overview page
Figure 2

Visitors who are less interested in questions of method, theory, and history are encouraged to go directly to the Themes pathway from the overview page. The Themes pathway includes eight options: Women, Arts & Culture, Civil Rights & Black Freedom, Sports, Politics & Voting, Youth, Racial Violence, and Military & Veterans (see fig. 3). Each of these thematic pathways includes between twenty-five and fifty web pages, each of which highlights one or more historical newspaper articles related to that theme.

publication themes page
Figure 3

Visitors who are interested in browsing the daily posts more randomly, can select Archive from the overview page. By clicking on January – Archived Posts (or February – Archived Posts, etc.) visitors can view all of the posts for that month (see figs. 4-5). Once visitors have selected a post, they will find a navigation button on the bottom of the page that will take them to the next page (see fig. 6).

publication archived posts page
Figure 4

publication january archived posts page
Figure 5

publication post page
Figure 6

To go back at any point, visitors can either click on the compass icon in the toolbar to find recently viewed pages or use the back button on their browser. To return to the overview page or to a specific pathway, visitors can select the Table of Contents icon in the top left of the toolbar at the top of the page (see fig. 7).

publication post page showing table of contents drop-down
Figure 7

Clicking on the looking glass icon in the toolbar at the top of the page will allow you to search for specific people, places, events, or dates.

There are over 365 daily posts, and visitors are not expected to view every page in this project. Rather than encouraging visitors to read cover to cover, as though it were a book, the project is designed to immerse visitors and lure them deeper and deeper into the material. Whether visitors spend fifteen minutes or fifteen weeks with Black Quotidian, they will come away knowing more about African-American history and newspapers.


The project is built within Scalar, a content management system that automatically generates URLs that match the author-defined page or media title. What appears in the address bar reflects that naming structure of those pages’ or objects’ titles. However, the content is not stored as separate HTML units but rather compiled as an RDF-XML/JSON file. The database structure is defined by the open-source Scalar platform, and the scripts that render the content draw it from the RDF data. This data constitutes 612 unique URL pages and 1,333 pieces of media, including image, pdf, and video. A separate media directory contains most of these objects while a limited number are embedded from YouTube or Creative Commons. All local media can be found in the compressed media package in the SDR archive collection for the project, and the Scalar RDF-XML/JSON file containing the project’s full text and relationships is also stored in the SDR collection.

A web archive of this project can be accessed via the Archive link on the project’s cover page at or downloaded from the Stanford Digital Repository collection at


Author: Matthew F. Delmont

Contributing writers:
Jodi Silvio
Ivan Monroy
Tracy Stefanov
Brian Lloyd
Emilie Theobald
Alexander Cooper
Monique Vanderlaan
Kerri Ryer
Chase Miller
Todd Daily
Keisha Smith
Avi Buckles
Jeffrey Joynt
Michael Embry
Geoff Schumacher
John Loll
Adam Pinkerton
Tiffanie Butcher
Kristopher Boatman
Caryn Tijsseling, Rubin McMillan
Stephen Huff
Candace F. Bryson
Keisha N. Blain
Stanley Bowling
Lucy Caplan
Julian Chambliss
Catrien Egbert
Deidre B. Flowers
Michael Glass
Nick Juravich, Yasmin Mitchel
Lillian G. Page
Mark Speltz
Daniel Arico
Caroline Arkesteyn
Alex Bishop
Connor Callahan
Samuel Carter
Trent Cork
Katelyn Culver
Austin Demers
Thomas Esposito
Mark Fowler
Derek Gilman
Ethan Hill
Luke Johnson
Samanvay Kasarala
Robert Kinser
Samuel Kramer
Caitlin Sullivan
Matthew Lee
Blake Miller
Andrew Mullinnix
Kelly Monfredini
Charles Zazzera
Aaron Nostwich
Daniel Obren
Niccolo Peterson
Ariel Sumendap
Bryce Rooney
Paige Ross
Ellie Siwicki
Paige Champman
Lauren Sendlebach
Andrew Spargo
Katherine Garnett
Denver Studebaker
Filomena Matoshi
Nathan Volkert
Jordan Washington
Shelby Worth
Bridget McEvoy
Christian Ruggiero
Courtney Canavan
Victoria Thomas
Vincent Wiedemann
Morgan Quartulli
Madison Wolf
Ashley Hogan
Ivan Montoya
Matthew Peters
Nicholas Matson
Andrew Reda
Amanda D’Addona
Nicole D’Addona
Madeleine Berry
Chris Sullivan
Damian Hondares
Dominique Brown
Bal Artis
Emeline Blevins
Tenaya Bien
Canyon Teague
Dominique Harrington
Madeleine Jordan-Lord
Bailey Duplessie
Megan Wirtz
Keshara Moore
Maddy Dunbar
Aggy Barnowski
Natalia Chaney
Karissa Lim


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Sam Wineburg and Chauncey Monte-Sano, “‘Famous Americans’: The Changing Pantheon of American Heroes,” Journal of American History, March 2008, pp. 1187-94.

Carter G. Woodson, “Carter Woodson Lauds ‘Forgotten Negroes’ Who Played Major Roles in Race’s March of Progress,” Pittsburgh Courier, February 24, 1934.

Carter G. Woodson, “The Celebration of Negro History Week, 1927,” The Journal of Negro History 12, no. 2 (April 1927): 109.

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P.  B. Young, “The Passing Scene: Sin of Omission as Demonstrated Again in an American History Book,” Norfolk Guide and Journal, November