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African American Studies: Primary Sources

About this guide to primary sources

The collections listed in this guide will help you navigate through the library's holdings of primary resources in digital format and on microfilm pertaining to the culture and history of African Americans.  Click on the tabs above to explore personal papers of noted individuals, organizational records, and more in the field of Africa American Studies.

What are primary sources?

"Primary sources are original records created at the time historical events occurred or well after events in the form of memoirs and oral histories. Primary sources may include letters, manuscripts, diaries, journals, newspapers, speeches, interviews, memoirs, documents produced by government agencies such as Congress or the Office of the President, photographs, audio recordings, moving pictures or video recordings, research data, and objects or artifacts such as works of art or ancient roads, buildings, tools, and weapons. These sources serve as the raw material to interpret the past, and when they are used along with previous interpretations by historians, they provide the resources necessary for historical research." ("Using Primary Sources on the Web", American Library Association, December 16, 2008.)