New York Times Historical is a great database that gives you access to New York Times articles going all the way back to 1851.
This resource gives you insight into the different ways people talked about and debated issues at the time they were occurring. This is especially useful for putting events in political/social/cultural context.
From the Library Databases page you'll note that the databases are in alphabetical order by title. Click on "N" and that will pop you down where you need to be.
When you have a specific time period you want to search within, make sure you use the Advanced Search. It makes your search more refined from the beginning.
Start by adding your search terms in the box(es) at the top.
Under the Publication Date pull-down menu select Specific Date Range since you know the time period you want to search. If you're working with an exact date I recommend looking at dates from a little before and maybe a month after. You want to be sure you're getting a full picture of the event you're exploring.
Document Type is the final place you'll refine your search. There are a number of document types you can choose from, but I recommend selecting: Article, Editorial, and Front Page Article.
From here you can click Search and see what results come up!