The Edmonds archive stretches from 1852-1950. It is comprised of photographs, interviews, letters, an extensive rare books collection, and electronic periodicals and a host of government issued documents including- voter registration forms,Black Angeleno business registries, and Senate hearing testimonies of former slaves in Mississippi.  The cornerstone of the collection is the The Liberator newspaper archive, owned and operated by J.L. Edmonds from 1900-1914. This unique collection preserves Black Angeleno legacy and  transforms the narrative of the American West to help create opportunities for social and psychological healing.   

In the Fall of 2017, the Edmonds family partnered with the Los Angeles Public Library and California Revealed to begin digitizing The Liberator archives in order to make this one-of-a-kind collection.

"The Liberator" is an early 20th-century Los Angeles African American newspaper, whose owner and editor, Jefferson Lewis Edmonds, was born enslaved and spent twenty years in bondage before...


The Liberator was a Los Angeles- based monthly publication (turned weekly in 1905) that highlighted major local, national and international news, with a special focus on social justice and political advancement within Black communities on the national level.

 Jefferson used his paper to promote Los Angeles as a destination for African American migration. The paper declared the city to be a haven compared to the constant threat of violence in the south. However it also served as a platform for Jefferson to speak out against the racism and injustices occurring in Los Angeles. The Liberator took great care in illuminating  the beauty of Black Angeleno life.  It advertised and promoted black- owned businesses and emphasized the importance of education and homeownership. Issues regularly featured poetry, wedding and graduation announcements and personal ads for those seeking partners for a new life out west.