Research in African American Studies

February is Black History Month and the Library has many resources to support research on African-American culture and life. Here are a few specialized sources for your research.

Frederick Douglass

African American Biographical Database

  • The African American Biographical Database contains biographical sketches of African-Americans from 1790-1950 taken from rare biographical dictionaries and other reference works
  • The database is available to all Wisconsin residents via Badgerlink

African American Newspapers

  • African American Newspapers, 1827-1998, enables users to search more than 270 African American newspapers published in the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • Created in partnership with the Wisconsin Historical Society, the Kansas State Historical Society and the Library of Congress, African American Newspapers chronicles a century and a half of the African American experience.

African American Periodicals

  • African American Periodicals, 1825-1995, features more than 170 wide-ranging periodicals by and about African Americans.
  • Published in 26 states, the publications include academic and poltical journals,commercial magazines, institutional newsletters, organizations’ bulletins, annual reports and other genres.

Ethnic News Watch

  • Ethnic News Watch is a bilingual (English/Spanish) database of magazine, newspaper and journal articles from the ethnic and minority press in the United States
  • Presents perspectives different from those found in the much of the mainstream media
  • Search by ethnic group, subject, document type (interview, editorial, etc.), geographic location and more

Black Drama 1850-present

  • Black Drama contains the text of 1200 plays by 215 playwrights
  • Search for plays by title, author, character (including occupation and race), scenes, literary period and theater
  • Locate unique and hard-to-find plays from the African-American theater.

African American Music Reference

  • African American Music Reference provides access to text reference, biographies, chronologies, sheet music, images, lyrics, liner notes, and discographies which chronicle the diverse history and culture of the African American experience through music.

Reference Universe can help you find articles in specialized encyclopedias, biographical sources, handbooks and other reference-type books. And don’t forget the HALCAT, the Library’s online catalog and the many other research databases available via the library’s Articles & Databases page that can help you with your research.

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