Researching African American History with New Library Resources

February is Black History Month, and the DePaul University Library is excited to introduce new databases for researching African American history. These three new resources contain a wealth of primary source material that documents African American lives and experience.

Interview with Patricia Hill
Patricia Hill, community activist and Chicago police officer, discusses the African American Police League.

HistoryMakers Digital Archive
These oral histories cover a broad scope of narratives of African Americans who have made significant contributions to American life, history, and culture.

HistoryMakers is a non-profit institution dedicated to recording and preserving oral history interviews with both well-known and unsung African Americans. You’ll find thousands of fascinating interviews with notables, including Barack Obama (recorded in 2001!), Nikki Giovanni, Angela Davis, and Robert Battle, but it’s the lesser-known subjects whose voices and memories provide profound insight into the African American experience of the 20th and 21st centuries. Search and filter results by gender, decade of birth and job type, and use the highlighted transcripts to follow along with these streaming video interviews.

ProQuest History Vault: NAACP Papers
Explore the NAACP’s involvement in civil rights activism with this rich collection of primary source documents.

This digitized collection of nearly two million pages of internal memos, legal briefings, and direct action summaries from national, legal, and branch offices throughout the country charts the NAACP’s work and delivers a first-hand view into crucial issues: lynching, school desegregation, and discrimination in the military, the criminal justice system, employment, and housing, among others. With a timeline running from the NAACP’s formation in 1909 through 1972, this collection documents decades of civil rights activism.

African American NewspapersPage from The Freedman's Record
Accessible Archives’ outstanding collection of 19th century African American newspapers now includes The Freedmen’s Record and The Negro Business League Herald.

This important source material—written by African Americans for African Americans—provides insights into cultural life and history of the 1800s. Eleven separate newspaper titles are rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day and include a great number of early biographies, vital statistics, essays and editorials, poetry and prose, and advertisements all of which embody the African American experience. Plain text and page images are available.

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