National Archives at Atlanta

Records on African-American History

What to Know Before You Visit NARA in Atlanta

8:30 A.M. - 5:00 P.M., Monday - Friday, and third Saturday of the month
*By 4:45 P.M., all original records must be returned to Regional Archives staff and all accounts must be settled.

Reservations Required

The mission of the National Archives and Records Administration is to serve the American people and their government by safeguarding their interests in Federal records and other documentary materials, by promoting effectiveness and efficiency in the administration of those materials, and by advancing knowledge of the history of the nation.

Our Customer Service Values::
We will treat all of our customers with courtesy. We will meet or beat our established deadlines for providing customer service. We will provide to our customers competent service by knowledgeable staff. We will provide informational products to meet our customers' needs.

Public Research Rooms, Lockers, and Refreshments:
Personal belongings may be stored in lockers located adjacent to the lobby. Pocketbooks, briefcases, and other closed containers may not be taken into the Public Research Rooms (Textual Research Room, Microfilm Research Room, and Finding Aids Room). In addition, cell phones are not allowed in any of the Public Research Rooms; NARA has provided courtesy phones for local and credit card calls. Researchers may take a pencil, paper, and working notes into the Microfilm Research and Finding Aids Rooms. Working notes are not permitted in the Textual Research Room. Inquiries should be made about typewriters, laptop computers, etc. Eating, drinking and smoking are not permitted in any of the Public Research Rooms. Soft drink and snack vending machines are available in the building.

Obtaining Reproductions:
Copying textual and microfilmed records may be done in the Public Research Rooms on self-service equipment. Microfilm-to-paper copies can be obtained from coin-operated equipment; payment for paper-to-paper copies is tendered at the end of each day at the attendant's desk. By 4:45 P.M., all original records must be returned to Regional Archives staff and all accounts must be settled.

Requests by Telephone and Mail:
Researchers are responsible for conducting their own research. Regional Archives staff members and volunteers will attempt to answer specific requests received by mail or telephone. The Region cannot, however, do extensive research for the public. Copies of identified textual records may be ordered by mail for a fee, but the Region cannot provide copies from microfilm publications by mail.

Records Relating to African-American History

The following National Archives microfilm publications and textual records are available to assist research in the history of African-Americans, Africa, and other areas of the African diaspora from the mid-18th century to the 20th century. Points of interest include slavery, the slave trade, colonization, blacks in the military before WWI, service in the American Diplomatic Corps, activities of the Freedmen's Bureau, relations with Indian nations, Federal court cases, employment, conscription in WWI and WWII, and other topics.

Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands:
Selected Series of Records Issued by the Commissioner of the
Bureau, 1865-1872.
7 Rolls. M 742dp

Registers and Letters Received by the Commissioner of the Bureau,
74 Rolls. M 752 dp

Records of the Education Division, 1865-1871.
35 Rolls. M 803 dp

Records of the Assistant Commissioners for:

  • Alabama, 1865-1870.
    23 Rolls. M 809 dp
  • Georgia, 1865-1870.
    36 Rolls. M 798 dp
  • Mississippi, 1865-1870.
    50 Rolls. M 826 dp
  • North Carolina, 1865-1870.
    38 Rolls. M 843 dp
  • South Carolina, 1865-1870.
    44 Rolls. M 869 dp
  • Tennessee, 1865-1870.
    34 Rolls. M 999 dp

Records of the Superintendents of Education for:

  • Alabama, 1865-1870.
    8 Rolls. M 810 dp
  • Arkansas, 1865-1871.
    5 Rolls. M 980 dp
  • Georgia, 1865-1870.
    28 Rolls. M 799 dp
  • Louisiana, 1864-1869.
    12 Rolls. M1026 dp
  • North Carolina, 1865-1870.
    16 Rolls. M 844 dp
  • Tennessee, 1865-1869.
    34 Rolls. M1000 dp
  • Texas, 1865-1870.
    18 Rolls. M 822 dp
  • Virginia, 1865-1870.
    20 Rolls. M1053dp

Indexes to Deposit Ledgers in Branches of the Freedman's Savings
and Trust Company, 1865-1874.
5 Rolls. M 817 dp

Registers of Signatures of Depositors in Branches of the
Freedman's Savings and Trust Company, 1865-1874.
27 Rolls. M 816 dp

Military Records:
the Negro in the Military Service of the United States,
5 Rolls. M 858 dp

Official Battle Lists of the Civil War, 1861-1865.
2 Rolls. M 823 dp

Index to Union Volunteers in Units of U.S. Colored Troops,
98 Rolls. M 589 dp

Compiled Records Showing Service of Military Units in Volunteer
Union Organizations, 1861-1865.
Rolls 204-217 (U.S. Colored Troops). M 594 dp

Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who served
Between 1861 and 1900.
Rolls 570-579 (U.S. Colored Troops). T 289

Southern Claims Commission, 1871-1880:
Commission Correspondence and Lists of Claimants.
14 Rolls. M 87 dp

Southern Claims Commission, 1871-1880:
Approved Claims--Georgia.
761 Fiche. M1658 dp

Letters Received (Main Series) by the Adjutant General:
Roll 618. M 567 dp

Records relating to John Brown's raid at Harper's Ferry,
Virginia, 1859.
21 various Rolls. M 619 dp

Various reports, statements, proceedings and correspondence
relating to racial violence, riots (New Orleans, Memphis,
Norfolk), land, money, property, overall conditions of blacks in
NC, SC, and VA, during and after the Civil War, and also the
American Freedmen's Inquiry Commission, 1863-64.
12 various Rolls. M 666 dp

Reports, statements and correspondence relating to Ku Klux Klan
activities and violence in AL, GA, LA, MS, MO, NC, and SC.
Roll 317. M 689 dp

Papers relating to expedition of the 10th Cavalry into Mexico.
Letters sent by the [Military] Department of Florida and
Successor Commands, 1861-1869.
2 Rolls. M1096 dp

Records Relating to the Army Career of Henry Ossian Flipper, 1873-1887.
1 Roll. T1027

Documents Relating to Military and Naval Service of Blacks Awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor from the Civil War to the Spanish-American War.
4 Rolls. M 929 dp

World War I Selective Service System Records, 1917-1918:

Regardless of race or nationality, 24 million American male residents born between 1873 and 1900 were required to register for the U.S. military draft in 1917 and 1918. The records document the conscription process and present information on individual registrants as well as neighborhoods, communities and cities.

Naval Records:

Correspondence of the Secretary of the Navy Relating to African Colonization, 1819-1844.
2 Rolls. M 205 dp

Letters Received by the Secretary of the Navy From Commanding
Officers of Squadrons, African Squadron, 1843-1861.
Rolls 101-112. M 89 dp

Letter Books of Commodore Matthew C. Perry, 1843-1845.
1 Roll. M 206 dp

State Department Records:

Diplomatic Despatches from American Ministers in:
Brazil, 1809-1906.
74 Rolls. M 121
Cuba, 1902-1906.
18 Rolls. T 158
Dominican Republic, 1883-1906.
15 Rolls. M 93
Haiti, 1862-1906.
47 Rolls. M 82
Liberia, 1863-1906.
14 Rolls. M 170
Morocco, 1905-1906.
1 Roll. T 725
Panama, 1903-1906.
5 Rolls. T 726
Special Agents, 1794-1906.
21 Rolls. M 37 dp
(Colonial Powers):
France, 1789-1906.
128 Rolls. M 34 dp
Great Britain, 1791-1906.
200 Rolls. M 30 dp
Netherlands, 1794-1906.
46 Rolls. M 42
Portugal, 1790-1906.
41 Rolls. M 43
Spain, 1792-1906.
134 Rolls. M 31 dp

(Consular Despatches):

Algiers, Algeria, 1785-1906.
19 Rolls. M 23

Cap-Haitien, Haiti, 1897-1906.
17 Rolls. M 9

Monrovia, Liberia, 1852-1906.
7 Rolls. M 169 dp

Pretoria, South Africa, 1898-1902.
3 Rolls. T 660

Puerto Rico, 1821-1899.
31 Rolls. M 76

Santiago De Cuba, Cuba, 1799-1906.
1 Roll. T 55

St. Bartholomew, French West Indies, 1799-1899.
3 Rolls. M 72

(Foreign Legations communications to the State Department):
Brazil, 1824-1906.
8 Rolls. M 49 dp
Central America, 1823-1906.
10 Rolls. T 34
Colombia, 1810-1906.
11 Rolls. M 51
Cuba, 1844-1906.
2 Rolls. T 800
Dominican Republic, 1844-1906.
3 Rolls. T 801
France, 1789-1906.
32 Rolls. M 53 dp
Great Britain, 1791-1906.
145 Rolls. M 50
Haiti, 1861-1906.
1 Roll. T 803

Honduras, 1878-1906.
1 Roll. T 796

Liberia, 1862-1898.
1 Roll. T 807

Madagascar, 1883-1894.
1 Roll. T 806

Nicaragua, 1862-1906.
4 Rolls. T 797

Panama, 1903-1906.
1 Roll. T 812

Portugal, 1796-1906.
8 Rolls. M 57

Spain, 1790-1906.
31 Rolls. M 59 dp

Tunisia, 1805-1906.
1 Roll. M 67

Venezuela, 1835-1906.
8 Rolls. T 93

(Notes to Foreign Legations and Consulates):

Notes to Foreign Ambassadors and Consuls in the United States,
5 Rolls. M 38

Notes to Foreign Legations in the United States, 1834-1906.
Rolls 35-36, 58-60. M 99

Diplomatic and Consular Instructions, 1791-1801.
5 Rolls. M 28 dp

Diplomatic Instructions, 1801-1906.
175 Rolls. M 77 dp

Consular Instructions, 1801-1834.
7 Rolls. M 78

Registers of Consular Communications Sent, 1870-1906.
Rolls 33-44. M 17

Domestic Letters, 1784-1906.
171 Rolls. M 40

U.S. Census Records:

Useful source of demographic and individual information for the period 1790-1920. Census records are arranged by year, state, county, and location. Indexes can help locate individuals.

1790 Census.
12 Rolls. M 637

1800 Census.
52 Rolls. M 32

1810 Census.
71 Rolls. M 252

1820 Census.
142 Rolls. M 33

1830 Census.
201 Rolls. M 19

1840 Census.
580 Rolls. M 704

1850 Census (first Census naming everyone in the family).
1009 Rolls. M 432

1860 Census.
1438 Rolls. M 653

1870 Census.
1743 Rolls. M 593

1880 Census.
1454 Rolls. T 9

1880 Soundex Indexes (47 states and territories).
2367 Rolls. T 734 through T 780

1885 Florida State Census.
13 Rolls. M 845

1890 Census (largely destroyed by fire in 1921).
3 Rolls. M 407

1890 Census Index.
2 Rolls. M 496

1890 Census of Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans
(residents of KY through WY).
118 Rolls. M 123

1900 Census.
1854 Rolls. T 623

1900 Soundex Indexes (54 states and territories).
7846 Rolls. T1030 through T1083

1910 Census.
1784 Rolls. T 624

1910 Soundex Indexes (21 states).
4642 Rolls. T1259 through T1279

1920 Census.
2076 Rolls. T 625

1920 Soundex Indexes (58 states and territories).
8583 Rolls. M1548 through M1605

Other Records:
Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 (see Index, volume
3, under Negro).
204 Rolls. M 247 dp

Miscellaneous Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.
9 Rolls. M 332 dp

Records Relating to the African Slave Trade and Negro Colonization, 1854-1872.
10 Rolls. M 160 dp

Records of the Senate Select Committee that Investigated John Brown's Raid at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, in 1859.
3 Rolls. M1196

Index to Official Published Documents Relating to Cuba and the Insular Possessions of the United States, 1876-1906.
3 Rolls. M 24 dp

Special Files of the Office of Indian Affairs, 1807-1904.
Rolls 1, 5, 13, 75, 76, and 81. M 574 dp

Enrollment Cards for the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914.
93 Rolls. M1186

Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes
IN Indian Territory, 1907.
3 Rolls. T 529

Transcripts of the Hearings of the House Select Committee that Investigated the Race Riots in East St. Louis, Illinois, 1917.
7 Rolls. M1167 dp

Textual Records:
U.S. District Court Records, 1716-1970:

These records, including records of a British Vice-Admiralty Court in Charleston, SC, 1716-1760, can provide information from Federal district and circuit court cases. Prominent matters include the slave ship "Wanderer" and other cases involving the illegal importation of slaves, peonage cases in the 19th and 20th centuries, and civil rights issues of the 1950's and 1960's, such as "Briggs vs. Elliot" and "Browder vs. Gayle".

Records of the Committee on Fair Employment Practices, 1941-1946:

Forerunner to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the
FEPC dealt with racial and religious discrimination in the
Southeast Region during World War II. Administrative records and
case files are available.

Records of the War Manpower Commission (WWII):

As WWII demanded more able bodies to participate in combat, war industries also demanded resources to sustain America's war effort. To increase production of war supplies, black Americans were hired in unprecedented numbers and utilized in unprecedented ways. Records of the War Manpower Commission can be used to document policies regarding the use of this pool of labor from 1942 to 1945.