The recent election, reflecting the great strides made socially & politically by the African-American community, brought to mind another opportunity in newspaper collecting not thought of by most. In preparing issues for a future Supplement the “Detroit Free Press” of June 12, 1963 struck me as a interesting  contrast to the election of just a few days prior. The headline proclaimed: “NEGROES ENROLL AT ‘BAMA”, noting the struggles African-Americans had just to enroll in universities across the country during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Zoom forward just 45 years and the headline of the “USA Today” read “America Makes History – OBAMA WINS” noting America’s first African-American president. (We have this pair listed on eBay. Click here to view. ) I don’t believe it’s a stretch to say that in 1963 the thought of an African-American president in any person’s lifetime was considered a serious possibility, yet it happened, and indeed America did make history.
Carrying forward with this “contrasting pairs” idea, a fascinating collection of newspapers could be built around this theme. How about a December, 1903 issue report on the Wright brothers’ first flight alongside an issue of July 21, 1969 announcing man landing on the moon? How about an 1844 newspaper on the first successful telegraph transmission alongside an issue announcing the launching of the Telstar satellite, noting the achievements in distance communication? How about a 1920 newspaper reporting the ratification of the Suffrage Amendment giving women the right to vote, along side an issue just 64 years later reporting Geraldine Ferraro as the first female Vice Presidential candidate representing a major American political party? Consider the contrast in perspectives of having both a Yankee and Confederate newspaper  for the same Civil War date. The advantage that newspapers offer to this interesting theme is they offer physical evidence of achievements & accomplishments…one can display such headline issues side by side.
What other “contrasting pairs” do you believe would be intriguing additions to an historical newspaper collection, and why?