10 December 2019 Blogs, Academic, Community College, Faculty, Librarian, Student/Researcher

The History and Impact of the African American Police League

Check out our podcast to learn more about the organization critical to
the local and national Black freedom movement

By Courtney Suciu

The African American Police League (AAPL) was formed in Chicago in 1968 in the struggle against discrimination and brutality from the Chicago Police Department. They also sought to improve relations between African Americans and police. The organization had a major impact on city politics and activism – and influenced national efforts against racial bias in law enforcement.

Through a partnership with the Chicago History Museum, ProQuest has digitized a wealth of valuable records the from AAPL, including annual reports, court files, meeting minutes, correspondence, clippings, topical files, newsletters, police brutality files, and publications and flyers covering the work of the organization and its members.

We recently spoke with archivist Julie Wroblewski for our podcast about the history of the AAPL and the value of digitizing these documents for students, researchers and community activists.

The podcast is recommended for anyone interested in:

  • Historical challenges between law enforcement and communities of color
  • Social change and activism at the local level and why local histories matter
  • The history of race relations and community activism in Chicago
  • The importance of primary source materials and making them widely available
  • Learning about what archivists do and why it is such a critical role

In his recent Booklist review of the AAPL module from History Vault, Michael Ruzicka noted “the importance of the material —given the overall lack of certain law-enforcement statistics—makes this an invaluable primary-source destination.” Read the review in its entirety.

Listen to the podcast or read a case study about the AAPL.


Courtney Suciu is ProQuest’s lead blog writer. Her loves include libraries, literacy and researching extraordinary stories related to the arts and humanities. She has a Master’s Degree in English literature and a background in teaching, journalism and marketing. Follow her @QuirkySuciu