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HIST 2161/AFRS 2161: African American History Survey 1860 to the Present

Collections for Your Paper

On this page, you'll find all the collections for your paper. We have placed them in the following categories: Civil Rights era, African-American Religion experience, Reconstruction era, African-American arts, Charlotte-based collections, Midwest collections,  African-American political experience, African-American military experience, African-Americans and healthcare, African-Americans and the Courts, Black Panthers, African-Americans and Higher Education, African-Americans and Sports, African-American activism, and wide-ranging databases. 

Civil Rights Era

Isaiah DeQuincey Newman- Newman was a Methodist preacher, an entrepreneur, and a prominent member of the Civil Rights movement from South Carolina. 

Marian Bruce Logan Collection of Civil Rights Activism, 1945-1989- Logan in her youth was a cabaret singer and spent much of the Civil Rights movement working with different initiatives including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a Student Emergency Fund she founded with Jackie Robinson, and Diner Sit-ins.  

Freedom Summer Digital Collection from the Wisconsin Historical Society- The Wisconsin Historical Society hosts one of the largest collections focused on the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964. 

The Jack Rabin Collection on Alabama Civil Rights and Southern Activists- This collection contains various materials from the Montgomery Improvements Association. 

FBI Civil Rights Files- This collection contains the FBI files from various civil rights leaders. These files were compiled during J. Edgar Hoover's tenure as FBI director. 

The Malcolm X Project at Columbia University-This archival project contains various oral histories, archival footage, and government documents focused on the life of Malcolm X. 

The Papers of Martin Luther King Jr. from Stanford University- These papers cover the primary sources that make up the print edition of The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Civil Rights Greensboro- These materials come from University of North Carolina Greensboro and showcase the local efforts for civil rights with materials spanning from World War II to the 1980s. 

Civil Rights in a Northern City: Philadelphia- This collection of archival materials focus on the advancements and challenges that were happening with the civil rights movement in the Philadelphia area and covers the years of Columbia Avenue Riots, Desegregation of Girard College, and the Philadelphia Transit Strike of 1944. 

Rosa Parks Papers from the Library of Congress- This set of papers highlights the collection from Rosa Parks. Highlights include reflections from Parks about race relations in Alabama as well as NAACP materials.  

Fannie Lou Hamer and the Civil Rights Movement in Rural Mississippi- Hamer was the youngest of twenty children and her parents were sharecroppers in Mississippi. She became well-known in the Civil Rights movement and worked with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Southern Christian Leadership, and helped co-found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. 

Voting Rights Act of 1965 from Public Digital Library of America- This collection from the Public Digital Library of America contains various primary documents 

Lyndon Johnson's Great Society from the Public Digital Library of America- President Lyndon Johnson sought to change the landscape of access to education, health care, and eradicating poverty through a series of policies known as the Great Society. A key piece of legislation is the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 which created Job Corps and Head Start and this collection includes correspondence, photographs, and TV clips about the passage of Medicare. 

Council on the Status of Women- This collection from the North Carolina State Archives showcases the materials from the Council on the Status of Women, which was commissioned by the Governor of North Carolina in 1963. The documents are wide-ranging from the state of daycares in the state to materials around the Equal Rights Amendment. 

African-American Religious Community

The Church in the Southern Black Community- This collection comes from the University of Carolina at Chapel Hill and includes materials across different religious traditions. 


Reconstruction Era

The Western Migration- This collection focuses on the migration of African-Americans from 1840 to the 1970s. This site focuses on the Early Black West, migration to Oklahoma, and settling in California. 

The Northern Migration- This site provides materials around the Northern Migration from the years of 1840 to 1890. 

The Fifteenth Amendment from Digital Public Library of America- This collection from the Digital Public Library of America and focuses on the primary documents around the Fifteenth Amendment, which ensures anyone is able to vote regardless of race. 

Mary Church Terrell Papers- This collection comes from the Library of Congress and the papers begin in 1851 and highlight Terrell's involvement in the Women's Suffrage movement. Her wide-ranging collection also focuses on the historical events that happened during the 20th century. 

African-Americans and the Arts

Chicago Renaissance from the Chicago Public Library- This collection showcases the music, literature, and art that were produced in Black Chicago and contains various primary documents including art exhibition catalogs, photographs and concert programs. 

Digital Harlem- This digital humanities project looks at life in Harlem and highlights the Nightclubs in the area as well as different parts of everyday life in Harlem including churches, sports, and major milestones that occurred in Harlem. 

Black Drama- Black Drama is a database that is accessible from Atkins Library and includes various plays from different Black writers. 

Women and the Blues- This Digital Public Library collection contains letters and photographs of women who were involved in the creation of Blues during the 1920s. 

Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston from Digital Public Library- This set of primary documents focuses on the story behind Their Eyes Were Watching God including photographs and letters about the manuscript. 

Visual Art During the Harlem Renaissance- While many people know about the literature that came out of the Harlem Renaissance, this collection includes photographs of different artists and sculptures as well as hand-written documents. 

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry- This collection focuses on primary documents behind the story of A Raisin in the Sun and includes photographs, articles, and news clips focusing on integration of housing. 

Armstrong Family Papers- The Armstrong family were performers from 1900 to 1930 and their papers include newspaper articles, programs, and a scrapbook of their performances. The family were magicians and performed for Black and white audiences alike. 

Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum Digital Collections- This library and museum is housed at The Ohio State University and contains various graphic novels, archival materials, and newspaper comic string pages and clippings. 

Oliver W. Harrington Collection at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum- Harrington was an African-American cartoonist from New York and was considered by Langston Hughes to be "America's greatest African-American cartoonist". He began as a cartoonist for the Amsterdam News after the Harlem Renaissance and later emigrated to Germany, which is why some of the cartoons are in German. 


Charlotte Collections

Fred D. (Frederick Douglas) Alexander Papers- Fred D. Alexander served as a city councilman (the first African-American councilman elected since Reconstruction Era) for Charlotte  and led the tearing down of the fence that segregated the Pinewood Cemetery and Elmwood Cemetery. 

Kelly M. Alexander Papers- Kelly Alexander served in the leadership for the NAACP and was a prominent fixture in the Charlotte community due to his position in the NAACP and led the family business, a funeral home here in Charlotte. 

Kelly M. Alexander Sr. Papers concerning the NAACP, 1948-1988- This set of materials focuses on the materials produced during Alexander's time working with the NAACP. Materials include items from Kelly Alexander, Benjamin Hooks, Benjamin Chavis, and Clarence Mitchell. 

Harvey Gantt Papers- Harvey Gantt served was Charlotte's first Black mayor and served the city from 1983 to 1987. He ran for United States Senate against Jesse Helms. Many of these materials focus on the Senate races and contain speeches from Gantt and television ads. 

Taylor and Richardson Family Albums- This photo album focuses on the life of Charles Samuel Lafayette Alexander Taylor who was a firefighter and barber in Charlotte. 

Charlotte Mayor's Committee on Race Relations Records, 1960-1965- As a response to diner sit-ins in Charlotte, the mayor the city James Saxon Smith started a Committee on Race Relations to develop a conversation between protestors and local business owners. This set of materials include correspondence and meeting minutes. 

Protest of Keith Lamont Scott Police Shooting photographs and videos- This collection showcases photographs and videos from those who participated in the protests that followed the Charlotte police shooting of Keith Lamontt Scott. 

Midwest Collections

Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City- This archive holds various and interesting materials that focus on the Black experience of Kansas City, Missouri. This collection contains materials on the Negro League Baseball, religious communities in Kansas City, and everyday life in Kansas City. 

African-American Community of Northeast Missouri- This wide-ranging collection showcases church community, education, music and the arts, and Sports from the Northeast area of Missouri. 

The African-American Experience in Ohio, 1850-1920- This collection from the Ohio Historical Society and includes newspapers, pieces from manuscript collections, and photographs. 

Chicago Defender- The Chicago Defender was a Chicago-based African-America newspaper that covered the years of 1910-1975. 

The Great Migration- This collection looks at the Great Migration that occurred from 1916-1930 where African-Americans left for Midwest and Northern cities. 

UNO Oral History Collection- This set of oral histories come from the University of Nebraska Omaha and contain oral histories from different community members including Indigenous members and African-American members of Omaha, Nebraska. 

Black History in Omaha- This database has various materials on different Black business, Black historical events, activism, and politics in Omaha, Nebraska. 

Exodusters: African American Migration to the Great Plains- This collection focuses on primary sources that discuss the migration of African-Americans from the Southern states of Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Tennessee to settle in Kansas after the end of slavery and the beginning of the Homestead Act of 1862. 

The Great Migration from the Digital Public Library of America- This set of documents look at the move by African-Americans to Northern and Midwestern cities. This collection showcases a major reason for migration: a move from working in a failing agricultural economy due to the weevil consuming cotton crops to labor in industrial factories. 

The Second Great Migration- This site discusses the Second Great Migration of folks leaving the South and moving to the Midwest, North, and Western United States. 

Glimpses of African-American Life in the West, 1865-1934- This set of documents focus on the Webb family and its matriarch, Carolina Webb. Webb's family had been enslaved people in Missouri and her parents moved the whole family north to Wisconsin after the Civil War. These materials include the papers of Carolina Webb, selections from the Webb family album, and the Webb TB album. 

African-Americans in Politics

Remembering Harold Washington from the Chicago Public Library- Harold Washington served as mayor of Chicago from 1983 to 1987 and was the first African-American in the position. These materials come from the Chicago Public Library, who has a branch named after Harold Washington. 

John Henry McCray Papers, 1929-1989- These papers, housed at the University of South Carolina, focus on the career of John H. McCray, who was a journalist and politician. 

Modjeska Monteith Simkins Papers, 1909-1992-Modjeska Simkins served as the South Carolina State Secretary for the NAACP and her papers document her time in that position as well as her other accomplishments including founding the Victory Savings Bank of Columbia. 

Rochester Black Freedom Struggle: Online Project- This site from the University of Rochester-New York works to provide materials around the push by student groups and community members to achieve equality in New York. 

Ida B. Wells Papers, 1884-1976- These papers come Ida B. Wells, a journalist and anti-lynching activist. Her collection includes correspondence from Frederick Douglass as well as speeches and articles. One note for this collection is that the digitized materials are inside the finding aid so look for the phrase "View digitized document". 

The Shirley Chisholm Project- This project includes materials from the personal papers of Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, who served in Congress from 1969 to 1981. Chisholm was the first Black woman to run for President and the first woman to run for the Democratic Party nomination and her tagline for that campaign was the she was "Unbought and Unbossed". 

Say It Plain Say It Loud- This site includes various speeches from African-American activists, politicians, and Civil Rights activists. Along with more well-known names of Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., there are also speeches from U.S. Representative Barbara Jordan of Texas, who became well-known for her speeches during the Watergate trial, and Mary Frances Berry, who is a professor at an Ivy League school and also served on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights for nearly a quarter century. 

African-Americans and Military Experience

Desegregation of the Armed Forces from the Truman Presidential Library- This collection comes from the Harry S Truman Presidential Library and Museum. The various pieces focus on the experience of African-American troops during World War II and the push to equality of opportunity in the armed forces. 

African American Soldiers in World War I- Many times, the story of African-American soldiers is lost when it comes to the history of World War I. This collection looks to highlight the story of these soldiers through memoirs, photographs, and letters. 

African-Americans and Healthcare

Houston Negro Hospital- This collection focuses on the Houston Negro Hospital which served African-American patients beginning in 1926 and was founded by a group of physicians and oilman Joseph Cullinan. When a new wing was added in 1961, the name was changed to Riverside General Hospital and is still a working hospital today. 

African-Americans and the Courts

Scottsboro Boys Trials Database- In 1931, nine African-American teenagers were falsely accused of raping two white women in a train car. Their case gained a lot of public traction and led to two influential Supreme Court cases that ensured African-Americans be added to jury pools for trials and extend competent counsel. The materials of this collection include various petitions from different groups for their release and legal documents. 

Long Road to Justice: The African-American Experience in the Massachusetts Courts- This wide-ranging collection focuses on the various cases that occurred in Massachusetts including court cases involving education, participation in the legal system as a jurors, and slavery. 

Black Panthers and Black Power Movement

Seattle Black Panther Party History and Memory Project- This collection focuses on the Seattle branch of the Black Panthers, which was the first formally recognized chapter of the Black Panthers outside of California. This wide-ranging collection includes news coverage, oral histories, and congressional hearings. 

Black Panthers Digital Collection at Michigan State University- This smaller collection that is focused on the Black Panthers but is not solely Michigan-based. There are materials from Louisiana, Maryland, and Michigan. 

The Black Power Movement- This set of documents comes from the Digital Public Library of America and encompasses various materials around the Black Power movement including items related to Black Panthers, television news clips, and the Black Power Forum. 

African-Americans and Education

Briggs v. Elliott Collection- This court case was the center of a challenge to desegregate the schools of Summerton, South Carolina. This case came after the ruling of Brown v. Board of Education and it was argued at the Federal Level at the United of States Supreme Court. The documents in this collection include newspaper articles, correspondence, and legal briefings. 

Martha Monteith Papers- Monteith was the first trained speech therapist to be employed by the South Carolina education public school system. This collection includes committee notes, speeches, and materials around Victory Savings Bank which her husband was the President of after its founding. 

Richard Theodore Greener Papers- Greener was the first black graduate from Harvard University, where he earned his degree in 1870, and took a teaching position at the University of South Carolina. At the University of South Carolina, he taught philosophy, Latin, and served as the University's librarian. He also served as a professor at Howard Law School and served as the Dean of the Law School. 

University of South Carolina Reconstruction Records- The University of South Carolina became the first state-sponsored state-sponsored Southern University to fully integrate after the Civil War. These records include scholarships list, faculty correspondence, and room and board lists for the students during this time period before Wade Hampton, who was elected governor, made it an all-white school in 1880. 

Black Americans for Democracy, Student Newspapers from University of Arkansas- The Black Americans for Democracy Student Newspaper was founded in 1970 and pushed for larger integration of the student body and student activities. 

Auburn Avenue Research Library Historic African American Education Collections- This digital collection spans the years of 1860 to the early 1950s and predominantly features materials from Georgia. 

African American Education from North Carolina State Archives- This set of materials including letters, photographs, and speeches come from the North Carolina State Archives. The collection includes materials related to Rosenwald schools and covers African-American education from elementary schools to universities. 

HBCU Library Alliance Digital Collection- a collection of primary resources from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The collection includes photographs, university correspondence, manuscripts, images of campus buildings, alumni letters, memorabilia, and programs from the early 1800's to today.

African-Americans and Sports

Jackie Robinson and Other Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s- This collection predominantly focuses on Jackie Robinson, the first African-American player to break the "color line" in the sport. However, there are various materials that also focus on the early history of baseball from the 1860s to the 1960s.

Negro League Baseball- The materials of this collection focus on the Negro League Baseball, which was established in 1890 after Jim Crow segregation took hold in the sport leading to the creation of the league. Its most famous player was Jackie Robinson, who integrated the majors in 1947. 

African-American Activism

Tyree Scott and United Construction Workers Association- Tyree Scott was a labor leader and Civil Rights activist who began to protest the exclusionary practices of the United Construction Workers Association. 

Documenting Ferguson- This digital collection showcases photographs, audio, and news coverage of the protests that occurred in Ferguson, Missouri after the shooting death of Michael Brown on August 9th, 2014. 

Ida B. Wells and Anti-Lynching Activism from the Digital Public Library of America- This collection focuses on the activism Ida B. Wells took on to stop lynching. Wells was a journalist and this collection includes some of her publications, photographs, and correspondence. 

African Activist Archive- As Civil Rights have changed in the United States, there emerged an expanded activism that sought to assist the struggles of those in African countries who have suffered from injustice, colonization, and apartheid. This collection has materials from United States based activists who were seeking to assist in change in African countries. 

Databases for Further Research

Accessible Archives- This database from Atkins Library looks across various historical publications to provide you with primary sources from newspapers and historical books. At the bottom of the landing page, you can select the specific publications you might want to use to narrow your topics. 

African American Communities- This database highlights materials from Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, and towns and cities from North Carolina. The collections include various materials from postcards, photographs, newspaper articles, and photographs but also cover a wide range of communities. 

 African American Newspapers- African-American Newspapers provides primary source newspapers for your research. 

National Museum of African American History and Culture- This collection of digital materials comes from the Smithsonian affiliated Museum of African American History and Culture. Given that this is from the Smithsonian, the types of materials available for you are wide-ranging from copies of Ebony magazine to the Black experience in the American West.