New Resource: LSU Libraries is Digitizing Louisiana Prison Newspapers

image of the cover of The Angolite prison news magazine

Since 1948, LSU Libraries has committed significant resources to the preservation of historic and current newspapers published in Louisiana. As part of that ongoing effort, the Libraries has collaborated with Reveal Digital on their initiative, American Prison Newspapers 1800–2020: Voices from the Inside, which aims to digitize newspapers published in prisons from nearly every state in the United States and make them available on an open access basis.

According to Hans Rasmussen, LSU Libraries’ Louisiana Newspaper Librarian and head of Special Collections’ Technical Services, “LSU Libraries’ contribution to the American Prison Newspapers project will benefit anyone interested in the history of prisons and the lives of prisoners in Louisiana in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Prison newspapers were often ephemeral publications that can be hard to find, so having them available online broadens their reach beyond anything a brick-and-mortar library could do. Best of all, they’re free to anyone with no subscription required.”

According to Reveal Digital, “[T]hese publications represent a vast dimension of media history. [They] depict and report on all manner of life within the walls of prisons, from the quotidian to the upsetting. Incarcerated journalists walk a tightrope between oversight by administration–even censorship–and seeking to report accurately on their experiences inside. Some publications were produced with the sanction of institutional authorities; others were produced underground.”

The following Louisiana prison newspapers have been digitized as part of this effort and are available online at JSTOR’s American Prison Newspapers webpage.

  • Chainlink Chronicle (Washington Correctional Institute)
  • The Angolite (Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola)
  • Angola Prison Rodeo (Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola)
  • The Turning Point (Louisiana Correctional and Industrial School)
  • Insider (Louisiana Correctional and Industrial School)
  • Weekly Rebel News / The Rebel News / The Rebel (Louisiana Correctional and Industrial School)
  • Times Square View (David Wade Correctional Center)
  • Straight Low (Dixon Correctional Institute)
  • Hunt Walk Talk (Elayn Hunt Correctional Center)
  • Walk Talk / Walk Talk bi-weekly (Elayn Hunt Correctional Center)

For more information on conducting news research, both current and historical, view our News & Newspapers research guide.

For more information about historical Louisiana newspapers, view our Louisiana Newspapers research guide.

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