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African American Studies: African-American Experience

This guide highlights resources on the African American experience, including topics such as Black Women in America, the Black Church in America and the Power of Black Music.

Recommended Databases

Online Resources

Photo Credit: Four African American women seated on steps of building at Atlanta University, Georgia (1899 or 1900). Askew, Thomas E. Retrieved from

African American Photographs Assembled for 1900 Paris Exposition - The Paris Exposition of 1900 included a display devoted to the history and "present conditions" of African Americans. W.E.B. Du Bois and special agent Thomas J. Calloway spearheaded the planning, collection and installation of the exhibit materials, which included 500 photographs.

African American Odyssey - This Special Presentation of the Library of Congress exhibition, The African-American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship, showcases the Library's incomparable African-American collections.

Documenting the American South - A collection of sources on Southern history, literature and culture from the colonial period through the first decades of the 20th century. Some of the collections are:

  • First-Person Narratives of the American South
  • Library of Southern Literature
  • North American Slave Narratives
  • The Church in the Southern Black Community and more.

American Black Journal - The collection includes interviews, round-table discussions, field-produced features and artistic performances featuring African Americans, many of who are among the nation's most recognized and controversial figures, and provides the visual and audio context of key debates and discussions surrounding African American history, culture, and politics.

State of Black America - National Urban League’s seminal annual publication contains commentary and analysis from leading figures and thought leaders in politics, the corporate arena, NGOs, academia and popular culture. SOBA also includes the Equality Index, a quantitative tool for tracking racial equality in America.


Searching with Keywords and Subject Headings

When searching a database or the library cataloag, use the following recommended keywords or subject words for African-American studies material:

"African-American" OR  "Afro-American" OR "Black" OR "Negro"

Different indexing words were used to during different time periods, so the best search term depends on the publication date of the material.

To locate items from a variety of dates, string all of the various search term together like this:

(African-American OR Afro-American OR Black OR Negro)

Books on African American history are usually assigned the Library of Congress Call number E185. 

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