African American Heritage


What records about the Black Experience can be found at the National Archives (NARA) in History?

There are a great deal of records at the Archives where you can find primary source information from different time periods in American History where African Americans played major and significant roles, including:

  • American Slavery
  • the Civil War
  • Reconstruction
  • Great Depression
  • New Deal
  • Interwar Years
  • Cold War

This section of the Black History Guide is broken up chronologically by key historic time periods and guides users to records at NARA that relate to African Americans. Choose a time period to get started:

National Archives Identifier 530504

(Coming Soon) 

  African American Civil War Soldier, National Archives Identifier 849136

The Civil War
(Coming Soon) 

  National Archives Identifier 594264

(Coming Soon) 

National Archives Identifier 195425

Great Depression & New Deal
(Coming Soon) 

  African Americans serving white people on a train car, National Archives Identifier 1633447

Interwar Years
(Coming Soon) 

  Children looking at Civil Defense exhibit, National Archives Identifier 6234458

Cold War
(Coming Soon)

Featured Documents

Below are commonly requested and researched documents from American History relating to the Black Experience:


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can I trace my ancestors back through slavery at the Archives?

    Possibly! NARA retains the records of the Census Bureau (Record Group 29). The first census was taken in 1790, and basic population statistics have been recorded ever since, inclusive of enslaved and freed people.