Ten Resources to Explore for Black History Month
By Susan Turkel
February is Black History Month, and Villanova kicked off its observance last week with the MLK Keynote Address by Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor on Wednesday and the Freedom School day of learning on Thursday.
Celebrate Black history anytime by visiting these online resources made available to you by Falvey Memorial Library!
1. African American Studies Center (Oxford University Press)
The African American Studies Center is a comprehensive collection of scholarship focusing on the individuals and events that have shaped African American history and culture. It includes more than 15,000 biographical entries, and thousands of encyclopedia articles and images. You’ll also find more than 500 primary source items, such as speeches, letters, legal documents, and poems.
2. Civil Rights and Social Justice collection (HeinOnline)
The Civil Rights and Social Justice collection brings together a variety of legal materials related to civil rights broadly defined, including protection from discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity, religion, age, and ability.
CRSJ includes full text access to legislative histories, hearings and prints, Supreme Court briefs, government reports, law review articles, and publications from the Commission on Civil Rights.
3. Black Drama, Third Edition (Alexander Street Press)
Black Drama contains more than 1700 full text works by playwrights from North America, English-speaking Africa, the Caribbean, and other African diaspora countries. These plays were written between 1850 through the present.
Black Drama contextualizes these plays by providing detailed information about productions, theaters, production companies, as well as ephemera such as playbills and posters.
Many of the works are rare, hard-to-find, or out of print. This unique database includes a large number of previously unpublished plays by writers such as Langston Hughes, Derek Walcott, Alice Childress, Amiri Baraka, Zora Neale Hurston, and many others.
4. Oxford Bibliographies on African American Studies
The Oxford Bibliographies are a set of peer-reviewed, annotated bibliographies with expert commentary on scholarship in a wide variety of disciplines. They’re a great place to start any research project!
Each bibliography entry includes a “FindIt” link, to help you access the recommended book or article via Falvey’s collections.
The African American Studies series includes bibliographies on a wide variety of topics; examples include Political Resistance, African American Doctors, the Fisk Jubilee Singers, Ida B. Wells, and Pan-Africanism.
5. Black Historical Newspapers (ProQuest) & African American Newspapers (Accessible Archives)
Newspapers are essential primary source documents, presenting commentary on political, social, and economic events as well as photographs, cartoons, and advertisements.
There have been newspapers published by and for African American in the U.S. since the early 19th century. For more information on using newspapers and magazines as primary source documents, see this guide.
Falvey offers two majors sources for finding these useful materials:
- African American Newspapers covering the 19th century (including Philadelphia’s Christian Reporter, Douglass’s Monthly, Freedom’s Journal, and the Weekly Advocate)
- Black Historical Newspapers covering the 20th century (including the Philadelphia Tribune, Chicago Defender, Baltimore African-American, New York Amsterdam News, and many more).
6. Ethnic Newswatch (ProQuest)
Ethnic Newswatch is a news database that provides a direct window into non-mainstream perspectives.
Use Ethnic Newswatch to find newspapers and magazines published by ethnic, cultural, and community presses, mostly in the United States.
This resource contains current content as well as material going back to the 1950s, and includes publications from African American, Hispanic, Arab/Middle Eastern, Jewish, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Indigenous communities.
7. Academic Video Online (Alexander Street Press)
Looking for something to watch? Academic Video Online offers more than 70,000 films and television episodes on a huge variety of topics.
The Black Studies in Video channel offers award-winning documentaries such as John Lewis: Good Trouble and Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People, and TV series such as Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr. and American Experience: Eyes on the Prize.
Each film can be streamed online, and comes with a searchable transcript and the ability to create and save film clips.
8. Slavery, Abolition, and Social Justice (Adam Matthew)
Slavery, Abolition, and Social Justice is an archival collection of scanned manuscripts, court documents, pamphlets, books, paintings, maps, and some secondary sources on many topics relating to slavery and abolition. It covers the period from 1490 to 2007.
9. African American Communities (Adam Matthew)
African American Communities is a multimedia collection of oral histories, correspondence, newspapers, pamphlets, images and official records that provides insights into a variety of African American experiences in the 20th century.
This resource draws its source materials from archives in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, and towns and cities in North Carolina. Explore 360 views of objects, read letters and articles, watch videos, and listen to oral history interviews on a variety of topics.
10. Research Guides
Falvey Librarians have created curated research guides to help you get started with your research. Each guide provides recommendations for encyclopedias and other reference works, primary source materials, and databases for locating relevant journal articles.
Check out any of the following:
- Africana Studies (subject guide)
- U.S. Black Freedom Movement (course guide)
- Black Catholic Experience (course guide)
- African American History During Slavery (course guide)
Stay tuned for more blog posts throughout the month featuring documentaries, books, and more, all with a focus on Black history!
Susan Turkel, MA, MLS, is a Social Sciences Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library.
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