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African American Studies

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

Digital sources

Black Economic Empowerment: The National Negro Business League

The National Negro Business League was a business organization founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1900 by Booker T. Washington, with the support of Andrew Carnegie. The mission and main goal of the National Negro Business League was "to promote the commercial and financial development of the Negro." The organization was formally incorporated in 1901 in New York, and established 320 chapters across the United States.  Date range: 1901-1928

The Black Liberation Army and the Program of Armed Struggle (BLA) was an underground, black nationalist-Marxist militant organization that operated from 1970 to 1981. Composed largely of former Black Panthers (BPP), the organization’s program was one of "armed struggle" and its stated goal was to "take up arms for the liberation and self-determination of black people in the United States." The BLA carried out a series of bombings, robberies (what participants termed "expropriations"), and prison breaks.Date range: 1970-1983

Black Nationalism and the Revolutionary Action Movement: The Papers of Muhammad Ahmad (Max Stanford)  This collection of RAM records reproduces the writings and statements of the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) and its leaders. It also covers organizations that evolved from or were influenced by RAM and persons that had close ties to RAM. The most prominent organization that evolved from RAM was the African People’s Party. Organizations influenced by RAM include the Black Panther Party, League of Revolutionary Black Workers, Youth Organization for Black Unity, African Liberation Support Committee, and the Republic of New Africa. Individuals associated with RAM and documented in this collection include Robert F. Williams, Malcolm X, Amiri Baraka, General Gordon Baker Jr., Yuri Kochiyama, Donald Freeman, James and Grace Lee Boggs, Herman Ferguson, Askia Muhammad Toure (Rolland Snellings), and Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael). Date range:  1962-1999

The NAACP Papers collection consists of 6 modules. The NAACP Papers collections contains internal memos, legal briefings, and direct action summaries from national, legal, and branch offices throughout the country. It charts the NAACP's work and delivers a first-hand view into crucial issues. With a timeline that runs from 1909 to 1972, the NAACP Papers document the realities of segregation in the early 20th century to the triumphs of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and beyond.The Black Freedom Struggle in the 20th Century consists of four modules: two modules of Federal Government Records, and two modules of Organizational Records and Personal Papers, offering unique documentation and a variety of perspectives on the 20th century fight for freedom. Major collections in these modules include Civil Rights records from the Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and George H. W. Bush presidencies; the Martin Luther King FBI File and FBI Files on locations of major civil rights demonstrations like Montgomery and Selma, Alabama or St. Augustine, Florida; and the records of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), National Association of Colored Women's Clubs (NACWC), Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).

NAACP Papers: Board of Directors, Annual Conferences, Major Speeches, and National Staff Files  

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NAACP Papers: Branch Department, Branch Files, and Youth Department Files  

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NAACP Papers: Special Subjects  Search this Module  Browse Collections

NAACP Papers: The NAACP's Major Campaigns--Education, Voting, Housing, Employment, Armed Forces  

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NAACP Papers: The NAACP's Major Campaigns--Legal Department Files  Search this Module  Browse Collections

NAACP Papers: The NAACP's Major Campaigns--Scottsboro, Anti-Lynching, Criminal Justice, Peonage, Labor,

and Segregation and Discrimination Complaints and Responses 

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*Printed guides to accompany microfilm are housed in Microform Services on A-floor in Firestone Library.

American Civil Liberties Union Archives, 1917-1950

MC001  Seeley G. Mudd Library          ACLU Finding aid

315 linear ft. (1886 bound volumes, 12 archival boxes on 288 reels of microfilm). Bound scrapbook volumes for the years 1912, 1917-1946, with an extensive subject card file index. Consists of the records of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), documenting its activities in protecting individual rights under the leadership of Roger Baldwin.

American Missionary Association Archives, Microfilm edition from the Amistad Research Center

ReCap Microfilm 05360                      Printed guide (FilmB) Z7817.A45          261 reels

Microfilm of collection of manuscripts deposited in the Amistad Research Center, Fisk University, Nashville.

American Negro Historical Society Collection, 1790-1905

ReCap Microfilm 11981            (FilmB) E185.93.P41 A5 1998          12 reels

Reproduces a variety of materials that illustrate the black experience in the 19th and 20th centuries, chiefly in Philadelphia.

Archives of the Race Relations Department of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries, 1942-1976

ReCap Microfilm 12000                      Printed guide: none          58 reels

The collection is the complete records of the Race Relations Department, comprised of correspondence, research data, records of the self-surveys, news releases and newspaper clippings, photographs, and the records of the Institutes, which contain registers of participants, manuscript copies of lectures, reports of workshops and other records.

Black Academy of Arts and Letters Records, 1968-1980

ReCap Microfilm 11829        Printed guide: none          10 reels

Cultural organization founded in 1969 to recognize outstanding Blacks in the fields of arts and letters.  Files of the Board of Directors containing correspondence, agendas, minutes, and records of three board committees. Administrative records including material on the founding of the Academy, nominations for awards, and records relating to daily operations, including correspondence, memoranda, financial papers, and mailing list. Annual meeting files which encompass planning and programming for annual meetings, 1970-1972, and related correspondence, programs, transcripts of meetings, and financial records. 

Series I: Board of Directors files, 1969-1973

Series II: Administrative records, 1968-1980

Series III: Annual meetings, 1970-1972

COINTELPRO: the Counterintelligence Program of the FBI

ReCap Microfilm 05649                      Printed guide: none          30 reels

Communist Party of the USA--Hoodwink (reels 1-17)--New left, Socialists Workers Party (reels 18-21)--Black nationalist hate groups(reels 22-25)--Special operations file, Espionage file (reel 26)--Nationalist groups (reel 27)--White hate groups (reels 28-30). “FBI files on various groups such as: Communist Party, White hate groups, African American nationalist hate groups, nationalist groups and other organizations.”

Commission on Interracial Cooperation Papers, 1914-1944

ReCap Microfilm 05550                      Printed guide (FilmB) E185.61.C655          55 reels

“The Commission on Interracial Cooperation (CIC) was formed in 1919 in response to these civil disturbances.  The CIC was a moderate coalition of whites and blacks, who recognized that promoting nonviolent change within the archaic Southern societal structure would in the long run better serve the cause of racial harmony.  Included in the collection is correspondence, minutes of CIC meetings, pamphlets and reports, and CIC educational material.” The CIC was to become the Southern Regional Council in 1944.

Communist infiltration of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and J. Edgar Hoover’s Official Confidential File on Martin Luther King, Jr.

ReCap Microfilm 05440                      Printed guide: none          9 reels

Congress of Racial Equality, Papers, 1941-1967

ReCap Microfilm 04276                      Printed guide: (FilmB)  Z1361.N39M46 1980          49 reels

“Strategies, tactics and ideologies of CORE are documented in these papers. Internal records, reports, project files, correspondence, convention notes, newsletters and other information related to civil rights organizations are included.”

Congress of Racial Equality Papers: Addendum, 1944-1968.

ReCap Microfilm 04562                      Printed guide; none           25 reels

“This collection offers materials recently released for micro-publication which were unavailable at the time of the 1980 program entitled The Papers of the Congress of Racial Equality, 1959-1976. The Addendum spans the years 1944-1968, with the largest portion of materials dealing with the 1961 to 1968 period when CORE adopted a more militant strategy in response to the Black Power movement. The collection was filmed from the holdings of the Library and Archives of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia.”

Microfilm edition of the Detroit Urban League Papers, 1916-1950, at the University of Michigan

ReCap Microfilm 09607                      Printed guide (FilmB) F574.D49 N454          35 reels

Freedmen’s Aid Society Records, 1866-1932

ReCap Microfilm 11661                      Printed guide (FilmB) LC2703.F743          120 reels

Consists of the records of the Freedmen's Aid Society, which was established by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1866 to set up schools for African Americans in the South.

Series 1. Letterpress correspondence

Series 2. Receipt books

Series 3. Steward missionary foundation

Series 4. Educational institutions

Series 5. General correspondence

Series 6. Correspondence between staff members

Series 7. Correspondence of a personal nature

Series 8. Remaining documents

Series 9. Annual reports, 1866-1924

Series 10. Reports of board and committee meetings, 1866-1924.

Negro Labor Committee Record Group, 1925-1969

ReCap Microfilm 11589     Online guide     Printed guide (FilmB) E184.6.G853          17 reels

Included in the manuscript collection are the personal files of Frank R. Crosswaith, founder and longtime chairman of the Negro Labor Committee.

New Deal Agencies and Black America in the 1930’s

ReCap Microfilm 05473     Printed guide (FilmB) E185.61.L47          25 reels

Materials found in this collection pertain primarily to the New Deal-black experience for the years between 1933 and 1940.  Materials were drawn from the following agencies, Office of Education, National Youth Administration, Department of Interior, Civilian Conservation Corps, Department of Labor U.S. Employment Service, National Recovery Administration, Department of Commerce, and Works Progress Administration.

Papers of the Civil Rights Congress. Parts 1-5

ReCap Microfilm 11925                      Printed guide (FilmB) E185.61.C59 1988          125 reels

Part I: Case files (40 microfilm reels) 

Part II: Files of William L. Patterson and the National Office (42 microfilm reels)

Part III: Publications (19 microfilm reels)

Part IV: Communist Party USA files (16 microfilm reels)

Part V: Citizens Emergency Defense Conference files (8 microfilm reels).

Papers of the Congress of Racial Equality, 1941-1967

ReCap Microfilm 04276            Printed guide (FilmB) Z1361.N39 M46 1980    49 reels

Papers of the Congress of Racial Equality: Addendum, 1944-1968

ReCap Microfilm 04562            Printed Guide (FilmB) E185.61.P36     25 reels

Papers of the NAACP

ReCap Microfilm 05354      Online guides    Printed guide (FilmB) Z1361.N39 G84      500+ reels

Papers of the National Negro Congress, 1933-1947

ReCap Microfilm 11689                      Printed guide (FilmB) E185.61.N374          94 reels

Part I: Records and correspondence, 1933-1942

Part II: Records and correspondence, 1943-1947

Part III: Financial records, 1940-1947, and publications

Part IV: Negro Labor Victory Committee, 1942-1945

Records of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, 1895-1992

ReCap Microfilm 09022                      Printed guide (FilmB) E185.86.R426          41 reels

Part I: Minutes of national conventions, publications, and president's office correspondence. Online guide
Part II: President's Office Files, 1958-1968.  Online guide 

Records of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters

ReCap Microfilm 11720                      Printed guide (FilmB) HD6515.R362 B76          50 reels

Part I: Records of the BSCP, 1925-1969 

Part II:  Records of the Ladies Auxiliary of the BSCP, 1931-1968 

Part III:  Records of the BSCP relations with the Pullman Company, 1925-1968

Records of the National Negro Business League

ReCap Microfilm 10600                      Printed guide (FilmB) HD2425.R426          14 reels

Part I: Annual conference proceedings and organizational records, 1900-1919

Part II: Correspondence and business records, 1900-1923

Records of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, 1954-1970

ReCap Microfilm 10096                      Printed guide (FilmB) E185.61.S687          82 reels

Part I: Records of the President’s office (21 reels)

Part II: Records of the Executive Director and Treasurer (22 reels)

Part III: Records of the Public Relations Dept. (10 reels)

Part IV: Records of the Program Dept. (29 reels).

Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union Papers, 1934-1970

ReCap Microfilm 06126                      Printed guide (FilmB) Z7164.T7 S56          60 reels

“A collection consisting of correspondence, reports, press releases, legal documents, pamphlets, and other materials. It documents the formation of the union and its activities to improve the lot of sharecroppers, tenant farmers, small landowners and migratory farm workers; its relations with government agencies, and other unions/organizations.”

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Papers, 1959-1972

ReCap Microfilm 04530                      Printed guide (FilmB) E185.5.xS78          73 reels

“One of the most important civil rights groups in the late '50s and early '60s, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was also to become one of the most controversial in its later years. Formed by student activists nationwide in response to the burgeoning student sit-in movement in 1960, the SNCC adopted the Gandhian theories of nonviolent direct action, which had been formulated by CORE in the 1940s.  The collection includes correspondence, project files, internal reports, and printed materials generated by the SNCC organization as it challenged racial barriers, faced internal crises, and sought a leadership role in the fight for desegregation, voter's rights, and black power.”

Universal Negro Improvement Association, Records of the Central Division, New York, 1918-1959

ReCap Microfilm 11989     Printed guide (FilmB) E185.86.U55 1988      6 reels

Collection also contains records related to organizations affiliated with the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) including Garvey Clubs, and the Pan-African Community League, among others.

Universal Negro Improvement Association Records, 1921-1986

ReCap Microfilm 11994     Printed guide (FilmB) E185.86.U48 A12 1994     16 reels

Correspondence, reports, conference proceedings, speeches, minute and ledger books, membership certificates, and much more relating to the Universal Negro Improvement Association. Founded by Marcus Garvey in 1914 as a philanthropic and fraternal ogranization to promote pan-Africanism, the UNIA developed into a radical political group that advocated repatriation to Africa, among other things. The major portion of this collection dates from the period 1940-1950.