Research Guides

Africana Studies


There are many various resources relating to Africana Studies more broadly, and African-American history more specifically. Below we've organized the archival resources into a few sections to help break down thematically the places/topics that archival resources are likely to be found. ArchiveGrid is strongly encouraged as a search tool, to help navigate - you can search by person, place, or topic, and narrow to geographic location of the archival materials.

Various Digital Archival Resources

Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) - Digital Primary Source Sets - Includes many specific collections on 19th and 20th century topics, such as The Black Power Movement, Women and the Blues, and Busing & Beyond: School Desegregation in Boston.

The National Archive has a comprehensive listing of various topics relating to African American History, searchable by collection or topic, and similarly outlined here.

The Black Women’s Suffrage Digital Collection "is a collaborative project to provide digital access to materials documenting the roles and experiences of Black Women in the Women’s Suffrage Movement and, more broadly, women’s rights, voting rights, and civic activism between the 1850s and 1960."

Digital Exhibit about African Muslims in Early America, by the Smithsonian

Black History in Canada - Resource list from the ‚ÄčLibrary and Archives Canada (LAC) 

Freedom Archives - Black Liberation Movement - This collection contains materials from artists, organizers, organizations, publications and events in the Black Liberation Movement. These materials include audio, video and paper materials and draw from important moments such as Black Power, the Civil Rights Movement, New Afrikan politics, urban rebellions and the Black Arts Movement.

Civil Rights Movement Archive - Online resources hosted by Duke University

Civil Rights Digital Archive

University of Arkansas - 1970's-era student newspaper, Black Americans for Democracy (BAD) Times.

A Digital Collection Celebrating the Founding of the Historically Black College and University "is a collection of primary resources. It includes several thousand scanned pages, and collections are contributed from member libraries of the Historically Black College and University Library Alliance."

African History

African Studies - Columbia University offers an excellent guide to content related to various African countries, and an overview of which libraries offer access.

South African History Online (SAHO) - Website devoted to educator-friendly resources such as historical timelines, biography, about South African history. Established in 1998 and currently in partnership with multiple international universities.

West African Arabic Manuscript Database - "A database/union catalogue of Arabic and Arabic-script writing from West Africa," hosted by UC Berkeley.

Timeline of African Art History, from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Kenya National Archives - Sampling of images made digitally available via Google

The GALA Queer Archive - "The GALA Queer Archive (GALA) is a catalyst for the production, preservation and dissemination of information about the history, culture and contemporary experiences of LGBTQIA+ people in South Africa."

Slavery in the United States

Digital Library on American Slavery - Hosted by University of North Carolina Greensboro, includes "online access to all known runaway slave advertisements (more than 5000 items) published in North Carolina newspapers from 1751 to 1865."

People not Property - A collaborative endeavor between the UNCG University Libraries, North Carolina Division of Archives and Records, and North Carolina Registers of Deeds. The project is leading towards a unique, centralized database of bills of sales indexing the names of enslaved people from across North Carolina."

Library of Congress - Voices Remembering Slavery: Freed People Tell Their Stories - Oral History - "The recordings of former slaves in Voices Remembering Slavery: Freed People Tell Their Stories took place between 1932 and 1975 in nine states."

Library of Congress - Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938 contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves.  These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Project (FWP) of the Works Progress Administration, later renamed Work Projects Administration (WPA). 

Duke University - American Slavery Documents - "The type of materials include bills of sale, manumission papers, emancipation notes, bonds, auction notices and other assorted items. The documents represent nearly all of the states of the American south including: North Carolina, Virginia, Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi, but a few documents are from northern states like New York and New Jersey."

Freemen's Bureau - Index to documents relating to the Bureau (established in 1865), which "supervised all relief and educational activities relating to refugees and freedmen, including issuing rations, clothing and medicine."