African-American Studies: Open Access


Umbra Search African American History (University of Minnesota)
Brings together hundreds of thousands of digitized materials from over 1,000 libraries and archives across the country.

Open Access Resources: General and United States

1853 Richmond and its Slave Market (Digital Scholarship Lab, University of Richmond, VA)
In the mid-nineteenth century, tens of thousands of men, women, and children were bought and sold in Richmond's slave market. This video provides a visual overview of the city in 1853, highlighting the auction houses and slave jails that were at that moment the nucleus of human trafficking in one of the most prominent hubs of the domestic slave trade.

African Activist Archive (Michigan State University)
The African Activist Archive is preserving and making available online the records of activism in the United States to support the struggles of African peoples against colonialism, apartheid, and social injustice from the 1950s through the 1990s.

Amistad Research Center
The Amistad Research Center is committed to collecting, preserving, and providing open access to original materials that reference the social and cultural importance of America's ethnic and racial history, the African Diaspora, human relations, and civil rights.

Black Abolitionist Archive (University of Detroit Mercy)
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.

Black Liberation 1969 Archive
The Black Liberation 1969 Archive chronicles the history of the black student protest movement at Swarthmore College by finally bringing forward the experiences of the students who organized and executed a series of nonviolent direct actions and negotiations at Swarthmore College.

Civil Rights Greensboro (University of North Carolina at Greensboro)
Civil Rights Greensboro provides access to archival resources documenting the modern civil rights era in Greensboro, North Carolina, from the 1940s to the early 1980s. During this formative period, Greensboro was an epicenter of activity, continuing a tradition that traces its roots back to the 19th century when members of the area's large Quaker population provided stops on the Underground Railroad.

Colored Conventions Project (Center for Black Digital Research, #DigBlk, at Penn State University)
The Colored Conventions Project (CCP) is an interdisciplinary research hub that uses digital tools to bring the buried history of nineteenth-century Black organizing to life. Mirroring the collective nature of the nineteenth-century Colored Conventions, CCP uses innovative inclusive partnerships to locate, transcribe, and archive the documentary record related to this nearly forgotten history and to curate engaging digital exhibits that highlight its significant events and themes.

Columbia University and Slavery
A website created by faculty, students, and staff to publicly present information about Columbia’s historical connections to the institution of slavery.

Digital Harlem: Everyday Life 1915-1930
The Digital Harlem website presents information, drawn from legal records, newspapers and other archival and published sources, about everyday life in New York City's Harlem neighborhood in the years 1915-1930. Most of the material relates to the years 1920, 1925, and 1930.

Digital Library on American Slavery (University of North Carolina at Greensboro)
The Digital Library on American Slavery is an expanding resource compiling various independent online collections focused upon race and slavery in the American South, made searchable through a single, simple interface. Although the current focus of DLAS is sources associated with North Carolina, there is considerable data contained herein relating to all 15 slave states and Washington, D.C., including detailed personal information about slaves, slaveholders, and free people of color.

Digital Schomburg (New York Public Library)
Relying on the expertise of distinguished curators and scholars, Digital Schomburg provides access to trusted information, interpretation, and scholarship on the global black experience 24/7. Users worldwide can find, in this virtual Schomburg Center, 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.

Documenting the American South (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Documenting the American South (DocSouth) is a digital publishing initiative that provides Internet access to texts, images, and audio files related to southern history, literature, and culture. Currently DocSouth includes sixteen thematic collections of books, diaries, posters, artifacts, letters, oral history interviews, and songs.

Equiano's World : Gustavus Vassa and the Abolition of the British Slave Trade
This project on Gustavus Vassa (Olaudah Equiano) focuses on the movement to abolish the trans-Atlantic slave trade and ultimately to emancipate the Africans and their descendants who had been enslaved. The subject of the project is the life story of Olaudah Equiano, the enslaved Igbo boy who was later known by the name given to him as a slave, Gustavus Vassa. 

Examination Days: The New York African Free School Collection (New-York Historical Society)
In 1787, at a time when slavery was crucial to the prosperity and expansion of New York, the New York African Free School was created by the New York Manumission Society, a group dedicated to advocating for African Americans. The school's explicit mission was to educate black children to take their place as equals to white American citizens. This digital archive contains a wide selection of drawings, essays, and other work by African Free School students.

F.B. Eyes Digital Archive: FBI Files on African American Authors and Literary Institutions Obtained through the U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
The F.B. Eyes Digital Archive makes available for the first time a collection of 51 FBI files on prominent African American authors and literary institutions, many of them unearthed through William J. Maxwell's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Now part of the public domain as unrestricted U.S. government documents, these once-secret files are arranged on this site as they were at FBI national headquarters, under the names of individual authors and institutions.

The Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress
Presents the papers of the nineteenth-century African American abolitionist who escaped from slavery and then risked his freedom by becoming an outspoken antislavery lecturer, writer, and publisher. The online collection, containing approximately 7,400 items (38,000 images), spans the years 1841-1964, with the bulk of the material dating from 1862 to 1865.

Legacy of Slavery in Maryland (The Maryland State Archives)
This site "seeks to preserve and promote the vast universe of experiences that have shaped the lives of Maryland's African American population." It provides access to "numerous source documents, exhibits and interactive online presentations"

Library of Congress > Digital Collections > African American History
Provides access to over twenty collections related to African-American history.

Making of America (University of Michigan)
Making of America (MoA) is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. The collection currently contains approximately 10,000 books and 50,000 journal articles with 19th century imprints.

MAAP: Mapping the African American Past
"African American history is a required component of the New York State social studies curriculum in 4th, 8th, and 11th grades. MAAP lessons, developed at Teachers College, Columbia University, help teachers at all levels engage content on this website through stories about building community, resisting slavery, and contributing to New York City's development." Includes lesson plans and interactive maps.

NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
"The NAACP legacy is long, our work consistent: to build Black political, social, and economic power to end racial injustice." This site includes a wide range of resources along with opportunities to become involved in action and advocacy. 

Payne Theological Seminary and A.M.E. Church Archive
The Payne Theological Seminary and A.M.E. Church Archive includes two subcollections organized into twenty-one thematic categories of images and textual materials for the study of the history of the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) denomination and Black Church tradition while chronicling the leadership and legacy of Payne Theological Seminary.

Readux Legacy (Emory Libraries & Information Technology)
Provides access to a varied range of collections built on the Emory Library repository, including: African American Literature (generally published in the latter half of the 19th century); Southern Imprints (varieties of literature published during the Civil War, 1861-1865); and Journals of the Georgia State House of Representatives (Records of sessions from 1847 - 2004). Users who log in will have the ability to make their own notes, and publish their marked-up editions online.

Slave Voyages (consortial endeavor hosted by Rice University)
The Trans-Atlantic and Intra-American slave trade databases are the culmination of several decades of independent and collaborative research by scholars drawing upon data in libraries and archives around the Atlantic world. The new SlaveVoyages website itself is the product of three years of development by a multi-disciplinary team of historians, librarians, curriculum specialists, cartographers, computer programmers, and web designers, in consultation with scholars of the slave trade from universities in Europe, Africa, South America, and North America.

Texas Slavery Project
"The Texas Slavery Project takes a deep look at the expansion of slavery in the borderlands between the United States and Mexico in the years between 1837 and 1845. Based at the Virginia Center for Digital History, the project offers a number of digital tools that allow users to explore the changing face of slavery in early Texas." Includes dynamic maps, a population database that contains counts of slaves and slaveholders in each Texas county, and primary sources.

Open Access Resources: Diaspora

#ADPHD (african diaspora, ph.d.)
African Diaspora, Ph.D. is a curated blog highlighting scholarship and scholars in the field of Atlantic African Diaspora history.

Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC)
A cooperative digital library for resources from and about the Caribbean and circum-Caribbean. The dLOC partner institutions are the core of dLOC. dLOC partners retain all rights to their materials and provide access to digitized versions of Caribbean cultural, historical and research materials currently held in archives, libraries, and private collections.

Slave Societies Digital Archive
The Slave Societies Digital Archive (formerly Ecclesiastical and Secular Sources for Slave Societies), directed by Jane Landers and hosted at Vanderbilt University, preserves endangered ecclesiastical and secular documents related to Africans and African-descended peoples in slave societies. SSDA holdings include more than 700,000 digital images drawn close to 2,000 unique volumes dating from the sixteenth through twentieth centuries that document the lives of an estimated four to six million individuals. This collection contains the most extensive serial records for the history of Africans in the Atlantic World, and also includes valuable information about the indigenous, European, and Asian populations who lived alongside them.