Search strategy
Here is a good, basic formula for getting started with your research in Africana Studies.
  1. Begin by using the keyword brainstorming worksheet docx to help you tweak your research question, identify keywords and related terms, and keep track of what you find.  
  2. Search in a library catalog (Summon, OBIS, OhioLINK and/or WorldCat) to find books and reference sources.  They provide BACKGROUND and CONTEXT, review and SUMMARIZE earlier work, help you FOCUS your topic and provide CITATIONS to important books, journal articles, conference papers, interviews, etc.
  3. Next, search research databases to find articles. The Library has hundreds of databases available, but the ones listed below are good places to begin.
  4. You may also wish to use Google or Google Scholar to search the Internet.  Take advantage of Google's advanced search features!
  5. Finally, use the CRAAP test worksheet pdf to evaluate the sources you find!
All Items by Source Type

Biographical Sources

African American Lives
Print Location: Main Reference E185.96 .A446 2004
OBIS record

The Historymakers Resource contains images Resource contains video Resource contains audio
Includes biographical information and audio and video clips about African Americans who have influenced history.


Academic Search Complete Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images
Multidisciplinary - good for nearly all subjects. Scholarly and trade journals, popular magazines, newspapers, conference proceedings, book reviews, and more.
African American Poetry (1760-1900) Restricted Resource Some full text available
Includes the full text of almost 3,000 poems written by African-American poets in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  

America: History and Life Restricted Resource
Index to research on the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present. Indexes articles and book reviews from more than 1,700 journals published in more than 40 languages.
Dates of Coverage: 1964 to date
American Race Relations: Global Perspectives, 1941-1996 Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images
Thousands of commentaries on African American, Hispanic American, Asian American and Native American history covering foreign reactions to America's struggles with racial justice from the Jim Crow era to the Civil Rights movements and beyond.
Apartheid: Global Perspectives, 1946-1996 Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images
Translated news broadcasts and publications of the international reaction to apartheid throughout the African Continent and around the world.
Black Studies Center Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images Resource contains video
Covers the Black experience from ancient Africa to the modern day from perspectives in history, literature, political science, sociology, philosophy, and religion. Also includes the full text backfile (1935 to 1975) of the influential black newspaper The Chicago Defender.
Caribbean History and Culture, 1535-1920 Restricted Resource Some full text available
Created from the renowned holdings of the Library Company of Philadelphia, Caribbean History and Culture, 1535-1920, is the largest and most significant collection of its kind. More than 1,200 fully cataloged and searchable books, pamphlets, almanacs, broadsides and ephemera cover the history of this broad region from the 16th century to the early 20th century.
Civil Rights in America: From Reconstruction to the Great Society Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images
Premier archive of official publications and primary source material related to civil rights in the United States from the 19th century through the 20th century.
JSTOR Restricted Resource Some full text available
Scholarly journal archive for the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences;  most journals 2-5 years out-of-date
Literary Reference Center Plus Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images
Information on thousands of authors and works, including: plot summaries, synopses and work overviews; literary criticism; author biographies, interviews and images; and book reviews.

Literature Resource Center Restricted Resource
Full-text database that includes author biographies and work overviews, literary criticism, and indexed books, essays, and articles on world literature.
note: on the Artemis platform with LitFinder database.
MLA International Bibliography Restricted Resource
Index to books, essays, and journal articles on modern languages, literatures, folklore and linguistics. Topics include literary theory, criticism, folk literature and belief systems, linguistics, semantics, translation, dramatic arts, and history of printing and publishing. Covers literature worldwide and includes materials in all genres and in foreign languages.
Dates of Coverage: 1926 to date
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Resource contains images
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center provides a collection of digital documents related to slavery, abolition, and emancipation.

Oxford African American Studies Center Restricted Resource Some full text available
African American and African history and culture including biographies, topical entries, primary source documents with commentary, images, maps, charts, tables, and more.
Oxford Reference Restricted Resource Some full text available
Hundreds of dictionaries, general reference, language reference, and subject reference works from Oxford University Press.
Race Relations in America, 1928-1976 Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images Resource contains audio
Sourced from the records of the Race Relations Department of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries, housed at the Amistad Research Center in New Orleans, this resource provides access to a wealth of documents highlighting different responses to the challenges of overcoming prejudice, segregation and racial tensions. These range from survey material, including interviews and statistics, to educational pamphlets, administrative correspondence, and photographs and speeches from the Annual Race Relations Institutes.
Slavery and Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive. Part I: Debates over Slavery and Abolition Restricted Resource Some full text available
Newspaper collections, books and scanned archival documents published in the antebellum era.
note: Access may be discontinued; contact library staff with questions.
Slavery in America : sources of U.S. history online Restricted Resource Some full text available
Contains more than 600 significant documents of the time -- personal narratives, pamphlets, addresses, monographs, sermons, and political speeches -- enabling students, faculty and patrons to study the institution of slavery from the 17th century through the end of the 19th century.


Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience
Print Location: Main Reference DT14 .A37435 2005
OBIS record
Encyclopedia of African American History 1619-1895: From the Colonial Period to the Age of Frederick Douglass
Print Location: Main Reference E185 .E545 2006
OBIS record

Encyclopedia of African American History 1896 to the Present: From the Age of Segregation to the Twenty-First Century
Print Location: Main Reference E185 .E5453 2009
OBIS record

Encyclopedia of African American Popular Culture
Print Location: Main Reference E174 .E54 2011
OBIS record

Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History Restricted Resource
A six-volume set covering all aspects of the African-American experience from 1619 to the present day.  Includes biographies, historical and thematic essays, and more.

note: This is an online version of a print source.
Encyclopedia of Slave Resistance and Rebellion
Print Location: Main Reference E447 .E53 2007
OBIS record

Handbooks & Guides

Oxford Companion to African American Literature
Print Location: Main Reference PS153.N5 O96 1997
OBIS record

The Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa
Print Location: Main Reference DS62.8 .G68 2011
OBIS record


Africa Knowledge Project Restricted Resource
Dedicated exclusively to academic research on Africa and its Diaspora, AKP focuses on critical Africa-centered, evidence-based knowledge and research from a diverse range of disciplines.
African Journals Online (AJOL) Some full text available
Use African Journals OnLine (AJOL) to find articles written by scholars on the continent of Africa.  Although there are not many articles on the art of Africa it is still an important place to check.
Journal of African American Studies Restricted Resource
The Journal of African American Studies examines topics concerning social transformations that impact the life chances of continental Africans and the African diaspora. It publishes original research on issues of professional and disciplinary concern for the social progress of people of African descent. The journal features empirical, methodological, and theoretical papers as well as literary criticism. It covers the full spectrum of this interdisciplinary field, containing diverse methods and perspectives that include anthropology, art, economics, law, literature, management science, political science, psychology, sociology, social policy research, and others.

Journal of Black Studies Restricted Resource
Journal of Black Studies is a bimonthly peer-reviewed academic journal that publishes papers in the fields of social sciences and ethnic studies concerning African-American culture. The journal's editors-in-chief are Molefi Kete Asante (Temple University) and Ama Mazama (Temple University). The journal was established in 1970 and is currently published by SAGE Publications.

Primary Sources

African American Newspapers (1827-1998) Restricted Resource Some full text available
Provides online access to hundreds of historical U.S. newspapers chronicling the African American experience.
Dates of Coverage: 1827-1998
African American Periodicals (1825-1995) Restricted Resource Some full text available
More than 170 periodicals by and about African Americans, published in 26 states. Includes academic and political journals, commercial magazines, institutional newsletters, bulletins, annual reports and more.
American Memory Resource contains images Resource contains audio
American Memory provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. It is a digital record of American history and creativity. These materials, from the collections of the Library of Congress and other institutions, chronicle historical events, people, places, and ideas that continue to shape America, serving the public as a resource for education and lifelong learning.
Archives Unbound Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images
Topically focused collections of historical documents.  
Caribbean Newspapers, Series 1: 1718-1876 Restricted Resource Some full text available
Historical Caribbean newspapers most published in the English language; some also in Spanish, French, and Danish.
Ethnic NewsWatch Restricted Resource Some full text available
Full-text coverage of newspapers, magazines and journals of the ethnic, minority and native press in America.
Dates of Coverage:  1959 to date
NAACP Papers (1909-1970) Restricted Resource
Internal memos, legal briefings, and direct action summaries from national, legal, and branch offices of the NAACP, including papers of prominent individuals.

Web Sites

Behind the Veil: Documenting African American Life in the Jim Crow South Some full text available Resource contains audio
A selection of 410 recorded oral history interviews chronicling African-American life during the age of legal segregation in the American South, from the 1890s to the 1950s.
Black Abolitionist Digital Archive Some full text available Resource contains images Resource contains audio
The Black Abolitionist Digital Archive is a collection of over 800 speeches by antebellum blacks and approximately 1,000 editorials from the period. These important documents provide a portrait of black involvement in the anti-slavery movement; scans of these documents are provided as images and PDF files.
This site provides "reference materials to the general public on six centuries of African American history. It includes an online encyclopedia of hundreds of famous and lesser known figures in African America, full text primary documents and major speeches of black activists and leaders from the 18th Century to the present." Searchable, or browse encyclopedia articles about people, places, churches, events, and organizations.
Civil Rights Digital Library
Documents the struggle for racial equality in the 1950s and 1960s through a digital video archive of historical news film, extensive links to related digital collections, and secondary Web-based learning resources such as contextual stories, encyclopedia articles, lesson plans, and activities.
Digital Schomburg
Digital Schomburg provides access to trusted information, interpretation and scholarship on the global black experience. Users worldwide can find exhibitions, books, articles, photographs, prints, audio and video streams, and selected external links for research in the history and cultures of the peoples of Africa and the African Diaspora. 
note: Digital Schomburg is a service of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the New York Public Library.
Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database
Track the journeys of over 67,000 Africans forced into slavery with this searchable database of passenger records from 35,000 trans-Atlantic slave ship voyages.
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