Skip to main content

African American Studies: History

Primary and selected secondary sources for research in African American Studies at Princeton University.

Articles and databases

African American Communities

"Focusing predominantly on Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, New York, and towns and cities in North Carolina this resource presents multiple aspects of the African American community through pamphlets, newspapers and periodicals, correspondence, official records, reports and in-depth oral histories, revealing the prevalent challenges of racism, discrimination and integration, and a unique African American culture and identity."

African American Historical Serials Collection

"The African American Historical Serials Collection is a complete, centralized and accessible resource of formerly fragmentary, widely dispersed and endangered materials that document the history of African American life and religious organizations from primary source materials published between 1829 and 1922."

Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922 Full text of more than 12,000 printed works, including lesser known imprints published from the early 16th century to the early 20th century.

America: History and Life  (1954+)

Note: Print predecessor Writings on American History covering 1904-1954 is in Firestone's Trustee Reading Room (DR) Z1236.L331.

American History & Culture Online  (1500-1926)

Digital library of works written or published in the United States, as well as items printed elsewhere, that document the history of the Americas from 1492 to the mid-1800s. Based on Sabin's Bibliotheca Americana. 

Black Studies Center    

Scholarly essays and access to articles in Black Studies journals. Combines the Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience, the International Index to Black Periodicals (IIBP), and the full-text of The Chicago Defender, an important Black newspaper, from 1935-1975.

Early American Imprints  (1801-1819)  

Note: (not yet complete) Digital library of works published in America in the early 19th century. Materials include fiction and non-fiction covering every aspect of American life in the period. 

Dissertation Abstracts (ProQuest Digital Dissertations)  (1861+; full text 1997+)  

Access to citations and abstracts for every title in the Dissertation Abstracts database. Dissertations written from 1997 forward are available full text. The database includes citations to dissertations from 1861 to those accepted last semester. Citations for dissertations and master's theses published from 1980 forward have abstracts.

Harpweek  

HeritageQuest Online  

Includes all of the images, & extensive indexing, from the 1790 - 1930 U.S. federal censuses. Offers more than 20,000 book titles, including nearly 8,000 family histories & over 12,000 local histories. Additionally, there are more than 250 primary-source documents such as tax lists, city directories, probate records, and more.  Search for individuals in Freedman’s Bank (1865-1874), which was founded to serve African Americans.

History Compass  (2003+)  

Peer reviewed survey articles across the historical disciplines. 

History Reference Center  

Full text from more than 2,000 reference books, encyclopedias and non-fiction books, cover to cover full text for more than 120 history periodicals, more than 59,600 historical documents, 49,600 biographies of historical figures, more than 110,200 historical photos and maps, and more than 80 hours of historical video.

JSTOR    

Full text archive of core journals in select disciplines. Journal issues from the most recent 3-5 years are usually NOT available electronically through JSTOR.

Lexis-Nexis Academic  

Comprehensive database of legal materials, including cases, statutes, and regulations of the U.S. government and the various state governments; case law from 1789 to present; current and historical statutes and regulations from 1980 forward. Provides full text of many major national and regional newspapers, including the full text of the New York Times. 

Making of the Modern World Digital Archive  (1450-1850)

Digital edition of the Goldsmiths'-Kress collections of books on that document economic and business activity in the West, from the last half of the 15th century to the mid-19th century. Materials include books, pamphlets and ephemera and cover a broad range of topics in political science, history, sociology, and banking, finance, transportation and manufacturing.

Nineteenth Century Masterfile  (Nineteenth Century+)

Combines various general, scientific, religious, psychological, and legal indexes covering the nineteenth century.

Poole's Index to Periodical Literature  (Nineteenth Century+)  

Combines various general, scientific, religious, psychological, and legal indexes covering the nineteenth century.

ProQuest Research Library  (Mid 1970s+. (Highly selective earlier coverage))

Abstracting, indexing, and select full text of many core scholarly journals, magazines and major newspapers for information on a broad range of subjects.

Urban Studies Abstracts  (1973+)  

Covers urban affairs, community development, urban history, etc.

Digital history projects

Civil Rights Movement Veterns 

The Civil Rights Movement Vetrans website was created by and is maintained by veterans of organizations like SNCC and CORE. It is designed to be a site about the Movement "by those who actually lived it."

Digital Harlem: Everyday Life 1915-1930 - Visit the Digital Harlem Blog for an overview of the site and search tips.

O Say Can You See

"This project explores multigenerational black, white, and mixed family networks in early Washington, D.C., by collecting, digitizing, making accessible, and analyzing thousands of case files from the Circuit Court for the District of Columbia, Maryland state courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court. We include petitions for freedom, civil, criminal, and chancery cases. And we incorporate where possible related documents about these families from special collections, archives, churches, and local historical societies. Scholars from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Maryland will collaborate by uncovering the web of litigants, jurists, legal actors, and participants in this community, and by placing these family networks in the foreground of our interpretive framework of slavery and national formation."

E-books

Full-text books in humanities, social sciences, gender studies, African American Studies, Latino Studies, and Native American Studies. Also contains the electronic version of The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography, a fully searchable collection of over 4,000 interviews with former slaves.

Encyclopedias and guides

Africana: the Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience.  Kwame Anthony Appiah, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., editors.  2nd ed. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. (DR) DT14.A37435 2005

Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History.  Edited by Jack Salzman, David Lionel Smith and Cornel West.  New York: Macmillan Library Reference, c1996.  (F) E185 .E54 1996

Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History: the Black Experience in the Americas.

Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present: From the Age of Segregation to the Twenty-first Century

The Encyclopedia of African American Military History, by William Weir.  Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 2004.  (F) UB418.A47 W45 2004

The Encyclopedia of Civil Rights in America

Encyclopedia of slave resistance and rebellion, edited by Junius P. Rodriguez.  Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2007.  (F) E447 .E53 2007

The Harvard guide to African-American history.  Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, editor-in-chief. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001.  (DR) E185 .H326 2001

Negro Year Book: An Annual Encyclopedia of the Negro. Nashville: Sunday School Union Print, 1912-1952. (F) E185.5 N41 Location has: 1912, 1914/15, 1918/19, 1921/22, 1925/26, 1931/32, 1937/38, 1941/46, 1952; (ReCapMicrofilm 04543 1918, 1925/26

Oxford African American Studies Center  

Genealogy

Proguest African American Heritage - Provides key genealogical and historical records specific to tracing the lives of African  Americans.  It contains information vital to African American genealogical research, including U.S. federal census, freedman and slave records, birth, marriage, and death records, church records, court and legal records, genealogies and family histories.

Images

Images of African Americans from the 19th century  A selection of images from Photographs and Prints Division of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.          

Images of African-American Slavery and Freedom from the Collections of the Library of Congress.  Selected sets of images on frequently requested topics, focusing on images for which there are no known restrictions.

Photographs of African Americans During the Civil War: A List of Images in the Civil War Photograph Collection of the Library of Congress. A selection of photographs in the Civil War Photograph Collection that include African Americans.

In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience

In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience "presents a new interpretation of African-American history, one that focuses on the self-motivated activities of peoples of African descent to remake themselves and their worlds.  The new interpretation of African-American history that we present here also puts the Caribbean, Haitian, and contemporary African immigrations into the unfolding of the African-American migration experience."

Oral history

Behind the Veil: Documenting African American Life in the Jim Crow South - “A selection of 100 recorded oral history interviews chronicling African American life during the age of legal segregation in the American South, from the 1890s to the 1950s.”

The History Makers

Videos and full transcripts for interviews with 100 contemporary African Americans.

Oral History Online  

Provides indexing, plus some full text, for English-language oral histories that are publicly available on the Web and that are held by repositories and archives around the world. Primarily covers 20th-century America, but there is some content for other times and places.

Sixties: Primary Documents and Personal Narratives 1960-1974  

Contains letters, diaries, oral histories, posters, pamphlets, and rare audio and video materials documenting the key events, trends, and movements in 1960s America.

Negro Motorist Green Book

Negro Motorist Green Book

“The Negro traveler's inconveniences,” writes Wendell P. Alston in The Negro Motorist Green Book for 1949, “are many and they are increasing because today so many more are traveling, individually and in groups….

The Green Book with its list of hotels, boarding houses, restaurnts, beauty shops, barber shops and various other services can most certainly help resolve your tracel problems.  It was the idea of Victor H. Green, the publisher, in introducing the Green Book, to save the travelers of his race from as many difficulties and embarrassments as possible.”gro

Librarian for History and African American Studies