The Black History Research Guide

(click the banner above to link to the guide)

This guide was designed to make finding resources and material on our region's Black history both easier and more accessible. The guide brings together maps, books, documents, images, audio, and video recordings into separate categories that include links to the items record or, if it has been digitized, the item itself! When looking through the guide you will notice items that are both bold and blue and blue. Items that are both bold and blue link directly to a digital item. Items that are blue but not bold link to that item's record. Please let us know if you are interested in accessing any of these items.

This guide begins with material on early Pacific Northwest and American West Black history and includes other categories such as Tacoma specific Black history, Tacoma's Black owned newspapers, community groups, and personals histories, to name a few. Within each category are materials from past and present. For instance, in the "Tacoma Black History" section you will find both a digitized 1929 Tacoma census of "individuals and business who were compassionate toward Black patronage", alongside the 2022 Black Lives Matter Mural Project Collection

The 1929 Census and History of Tacoma and Pierce County Negroes, State of Washington was published by the Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of the World, or I.B.P.O., an African-American fraternal order. This census includes listings and advertisements for businesses places and professionals along with an alphabetical list of the Black residents of Pierce County. The 2022 Black Lives Matter Mural Project Collection includes oral histories, digital images, and event flyers related to the development and creation of a Black Lives Matter mural produced in Tollefson Plaza. These are only two of the many resources available in the guide. We encourage you to explore the other materials and let us know what you think!

This guide will now accompany our other guides on the Northwest Room's homepage and will be continually added to and expanded. So please check back regularly.


Click here to visit the guide!