Archives Library Information Center (ALIC)

Black History

Online Resources

National Research Collection

NARA Resources

The American Image: Portrait of Black Chicago
An exhibit of photographs taken by John White of Chicago during the 1970s. The site consists of an introduction and three parts.
Black Family Research: Using Records of the Post Civil War Federal Agencies at the National Archives
Reconstruction-era federal records document the black family's struggle for freedom and equality and provide insight into the federal government's policy toward the nearly 4 million African Americans freed at the close of the American Civil War.
Freedman's Bureau Preservation Project
Reginald Washington's Prologue article on NARA's preservation of post-Civil War era records documenting the federal government's assistance to newly freed slaves.
NARA Records pertaining to American Slavery and the International Slave Trade
Compiled by Walter B. Hill, Jr.
NARA's microfilm publications on Black studies.
To search this catalog online:
  1. From the main Microfilm Catalog page, click Advanced Search (next to the Search button)
  2. In the right hand column, under Subject Catalog, select "Black Studies"
  3. Hit "Search"
Prologue, Summer 1997, Vol. 29, No. 2
"This issue of Prologue focuses on the use of federal records in African American historical research. Sixteen articles by NARA staff and other historians explore the depth and breadth of material in the National Archives relative to African Americans. This issue examines the Civil War and Reconstruction, labor issues, civil rights, pictorial records, and research aids.
Researching African Americans in the U.S. Army, 1866-1890: Buffalo Soldiers and Black Infantrymen
An article by Trevor Plante from the Spring 2001 issue of the NARA publication Prologue.

Other Federal Sites

African American Heritage
This National Park Service site provides links to information about people, places, stories, museum collections, travel and lesson plans.
The African-American Mosaic
This is a Library of Congress resource guide for the study of black history and culture.
African American Odyssey
According to Choice magazine, this Library of Congress virtual exhibition was designed to "give a comprehensive, rich picture of more than 200 years of African American struggle and achievement."
Afro-American Genealogical Research
Instructions from the Library of Congress on how to begin Afro-American genealogical research.
The Daniel A.P. Murray Pamphlet Collection
Full-text manuscripts documenting African American history and culture from the early 19th through the 20th centuries. Includes the Timeline of African American History, 1852-1925. From the Library of Congress.
NAACP: A Century in the Fight for Freedom
The Library of Congress presents "a retrospective of the major personalities, events, and achievements that shaped the NAACP's ™s history during its first 100 years." Of special interest is the NAACP Interactive Timeline .
National Museum of African American History
This is the site of the future National Museum of African American History, which is scheduled to be completed in 2015.
Sources for Images on African American History
A bibliographic reference aid from the Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs Division.

Non-Federal Web Sites

African American Biographical Database
According to Chadwyck-Healey, this database is the largest electronic collection of biographical information on African Americans, 1790-1950. Click "Search" in the left-hand panel to access tips for locating individuals or searching full-text subjects.
African American History: Digital Library
This site links to black history information in libraries across the country. Subjects range from personal papers and manuscripts to sheet music to transcripts of speeches.
African American Oral History Collection
The Oral History Center at the University of Louisville has digitized and made available online a series of interviews conducted in the 1970s to document the life of African Americans in Louisville.
African American Women Writers of the 19th Century
The New York Public Library provides an online collection of some 52 full-text works.
African American Women's History Resources at Rubenstein Library
"This guide highlights material within the holdings of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library ranging from the early days of slavery to the present that document African American women's stories."
The African American World
A compilation of PBS and NPR sites that focus on the African American experience. Sites are organized into History, Arts & Culture, Race & Society, and Profiles. Includes a timeline, Reference Room, and links for kids and teachers.
African-Americans - Biography, Autobiography, and History
This web site, hosted by the Avalon Project at Yale Law School, makes accessible a number of full-text books by notable black authors including Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and Martin Luther King Jr.
Africans in America
This well-organized PBS site was designed as a teaching guide for a six-hour television series covering the history of slavery in the U.S.
After Slavery: Race, Labor and Politics in the Post-Emancipation Carolinas
This web site is an international research collaboration drawing together developments of the post-emancipation South and understanding the period to be an important part of American labor history.
Black History, American History
A collection of essays by African American public intellectuals which have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly over the years. The contributors include Frederick Douglass (1866), Booker T. Washington, (1896, 1899) and W.E.B. DuBois (1897, 1902) and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1963).
Black History Month has assembled this collection of resources and features to honor Black History month.
The Encyclopedia Britannica's Guide to Black History
Encyclopedia Britannica's online guide to African American History covers the years 1619-1999. This site offers a comprehensive time line and information on terms, people, and eras relating to black history.
Hutchins Center for African & African American Research
At Harvard University, "The Hutchins Center for African and African American Research supports research on the history and culture of people of African descent the world over and provides a forum for collaboration and the ongoing exchange of ideas."
The John Henrik Clarke Africana Library
The Cornell University library provides a special collection focusing on the history and culture of people of African ancestry.
John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture
Part of the Duke University's David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, this collection highlights archival material concerning African American history and culture, with particular strengths in nineteenth century slavery and African American life in the post-World War II civil rights era
Moorland-Spingarn Research Center
The MSRC at Howard University is recognized as one of the world's largest and most comprehensive repositories for the documentation of the history and culture of people of African descent in Africa, the Americas, and other parts of the world.
The Negro Travelers Green Book
The University of South Carolina Libraries has digitized the 1956 edition of The Negro Travelers Green Book, which provided African American tourists with information about places to stay, dine, and sightsee safely during the era of segregation. In addition to the digitized book, the site also includes interactive maps.
Research Quick Start Guides: African American Studies
This Stanford University site is good for beginning black history research.
This Day in Black History
"A community driven, interactive online periodical about the black experience. Each day, highlights black icons, events, and more that have shaped the world on that day in history."
Unknown No Longer
The Virginia Historical Society has created this database of enslaved Virginians, drawing on their collection of unpublished documents. The database provides the names of slaves, along with other relevant information about each person. Users can also browse the collection, and a message board is available.

State, Regional, and Local Research

The African-American Experience in Ohio, 1850-1920
Search or browse the Ohio Historical Society's collections relating to African Americans in Ohio.
African Americans - Archives Dept.
Listing of collections relating to African Americans in Wisconsin and particularly the Milwaukee area.
Allegany County African American History
Western Maryland's Historical Library provides a list of African American individuals, groups and organizations of Allegany and surrounding counties.
Avery Research Center
The College of Charleston, South Carolina, documents the "unique historical and cultural heritage of African Americans in Charleston and the South Carolina Low Country."
Black Archives of Mid-America
This project is a collaboration between the Black Archives of Mid-America Inc. and the Kansas City Public Library. Funded by the Missouri State Library, it is the largest repository of African American history and artifacts in the Midwest, particularly in the four-state area of Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Oklahoma.
Documenting the American South
This collection at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, contains sources on Southern history, literature and culture from the colonial period through the first decades of the 20th century.
Missouri's African American History
This site is full of links to research in the Missouri State Archives. Of particular interest are:
National Archives for Black Women's History
(Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site, Washington, D.C.)
The mission of this site is to "identify, collect, develop, interpret, and preserve the legacy of Mary McLeod Bethune including her unique focus on the individual and collective history of African American women."
Race and Place: African American Community Histories
This web site on slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the era of Jim Crow, is by the Virginia Center for Digital History at the University of Virginia in collaboration with the Woodson Institute for Afro-American and African Studies at UVA.
Records relating to African Americans in the New York State Archives
New York State Archives Leaflet No. 8; 1997.


African Americans in the U.S. Army
Links to information about African Americans in the U.S. Army including artwork and photography, and information about specific units. From the U.S. Army Center for Military History.
Black Men in Navy Blue during the Civil War
A history of black sailors in the Navy during the Civil War. An article from the NARA publication, Prologue, by Joseph P. Reidy.
Black Wings: African American Pioneer Aviators
This online exhibit from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is about the black pioneers of aviation who learned to fly despite formidable obstacles.
Civil War: Black American Contributions to Union Intelligence
This publication originally appeared in the Winter 1998-1999 edition of Studies in Intelligence, a journal published by the Central Intelligence Agency's Center for the Study of Intelligence.
Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System
A database maintained by the National Park Service containing information about the men who served in the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. Researchers can find information about black soldiers by searching regiments by race.
Desegregation of the Armed Forces
This collection from the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum focuses on President Truman's decision to desegregate the U.S. Armed Forces. There are links to a chronology, documents, photographs, oral histories, and lesson plans.
Documenting African Americans in the Records of Military Agencies
This article by Lisha Penn from the NARA publication Prologue, (Summer 1997, vol. 29, no. 2) reports on her progress in developing Reference Information Paper 105 (RIP 105), Records of Military Agencies Relating to African Americans from the Post World War I Period to the Korean War.
Exploring the Life and History of the "Buffalo Soldiers"
Walter Hill, author of this article in The Record and an archivist at NARA, writes about the black military presence during the Civil War period and after the war, when the members of the 10th Cavalry acquired the name "Buffalo Soldiers" during the 1871 campaign against the Comanche Indians.
Teaching With Documents: Photographs of the 369th Infantry and African Americans during World War I
Historical background and photographs of the 369th Army Regiment. A celebration of one of World War I's finest units.
Teaching With Documents: The Fight for Equal Rights: Black Soldiers in the Civil War
This is a NARA "Teaching with Documents" lesson plan on Colored Troops during the Civil War.


James VanDerZee
This online exhibit from the Metropolitan Museum of Art displays 69 of James VanDerZee's photographs. VanDerZee was one of the first African American photographers of the 20th century. Self-taught, he became known as the photographer of choice for some of Harlem's most illustrious residents.
Selected Images from the Cook Photograph Collection
This collection includes nearly 300 images of African Americans dating from the 19th and early 20th centuries, primarily in the Richmond and central Virginia area.
Van Vechten Collection
The Carl Van Vechten Photographs Collection at the Library of Congress consists mainly of portraits of celebrities, including many from the Harlem Renaissance.


African-American Sheet Music, 1850-1920
This collection from the Library of Congress consists of 1,305 pieces of African American sheet music dating from 1850 through 1920, including many songs from the heyday of antebellum black face minstrelsy in the 1850s and from the abolitionist movement of the same period.
Archives of African American Music and Culture
Established in 1991, the AAAMC is a repository of materials covering musical idioms and cultural expressions from the post-World War II era. Maintained by Indiana University.
Black Film Center/Archive
A repository of films and related materials by and about African Americans. Hosted by Indiana University.
The Black Renaissance in Washington, D.C., 1920-1930s
This D.C. Public Library site, funded by a Carnegie Corporation of New York grant, documents the influence of the Black Renaissance in the D.C. area.
Center for Black Music Research
This Columbia College Chicago collection documents, collects, preserves, and disseminates information about black music in all parts of the world.
Freedom's Journal
The State Historical Society of Wisconsin has made available in digital format all 103 issues of the first African American owned and operated newspaper published in the United States (1827-1829).
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
This web site for the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture includes Digital Schomburg, a feature that offers online exhibitions, books, images, Africana Heritage Newsletters, and audio and video resources.