Black Studies Collections

Guide to African American reference

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History, Philosophy and Newspaper Library

Internet Links

Networked databases

Online Library Catalog

Subject bibliographies

African American Reference Sources


This is a broad guide covering humanities and social science aspects of African-American life and culture. It is a selective list of reference sources on African-American Studies available in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library.  As a guide, it will lead the user to more extensive material in the subject area.  

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The African-American Mosaic: A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture. 1993. Main Stacks 016.9730496.L616A


Afro-American Reference: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Resources. 1985. Main Stacks 016.97300496. D295A.  General bibliography covering "full interdisciplinary subject range of reference-type materials." Few journal articles.


Bibliographic Guide to Black Studies. 1975- . Main Reference 016.967.B47.  Annual acquisitions of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Arranged alphabetically and includes subject headings, author and title entries.


A Bibliography of the Negro in Africa and America. 1965 [c1928]. Afro-Americana 016.32526.W89B1965.  Monroe Work's classic bibliography.  Contains some 17,000 citations. Chapters are classified; for students of history and the social sciences. All published before 1928. 


Black Access: A Bibliography of Afro-American Bibliographies. 1984. Afro-Americana 016.9730496. N468BL.  Helps "locate information on virtually every aspect of Afro-American life, culture, and history."  Includes many separately published bibliographies.


Blacks in America: Bibliographic Essays. 1973. Afro-Americana 016.301451.B567. Includes bibliographic essays                         dealing with books and articles; and covers the period between 1500 to 1970.


Eight Negro bibliographies.   1970.  Main Stacks 016.301451 W67E.   Includes:  The freedom rides.--The Southern            students'  protest movement.--The University of Mississippi and James H. Meredith.--The Black Muslims in the  United States.--Martin  Luther King, Jr., 1929-1968.--The awesome thunder of Booker T. Washington.--The lynching records at Tuskegee Institute;  with lynching in America.--The perilous road of Marcus M. Garvey.  


Harvard Guide to African-American History.  2001.  Afro-Americana 973.0496073 H261.  Includes bibliographies of  reference tools and comprehensive and chronological histories.


Index to Afro-American Reference Resources. 1988. Afro-Americana 973.0496073.ST481.   Works indexed represent titles  generally considered to be reference books. In addition, this source indexes selected resources that fall outside the traditional reference area.



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African-American Women: A Biographical Dictionary. 1993. Afro-Americana 920.72.AF83. 


Black Americans in Autobiography. 1984. Afro- Americana 016.9209.B76B1984.   Annotated bibliography of autobiographies written by black Americans from the Civil War to 1973.


Black Biography 1790-1950: A Cumulative Index . 1991 . Afro-Americana 920.009296073.B5614.   Indexes 297 reference books microfilmed in Black Biographical Dictionaries, 1790-1950 . 1987. Microfiche 6. Volumes 1-2 arranges alphabetically 30,000 biographical sketches of historical figures. Volume 3 contains indexes by place of birth, occupation, religion, and sex.


Contemporary Black Biography. 1992- . Afro- Americana 920.009296.C767. 

Dictionary of American Negro Biography. 1st ed. 1982. Afro-Americana 920.009296.L828D.   "A comprehensive biographical dictionary based on scholarly research." No living persons included. Cut off date 1970. Persons with regional or local influence. Includes bibliographic references.


Dictionary of Literary Biography. 1978- .

v. 33: Afro-American Fiction Writers After 1955 . 1984.  Afro-Americana 928.1.D561.v.33

v. 38: Afro-American Writers After 1955: Dramatists and Prose Writers. 1985. Afro-Americana 928.1.D561. v.38

v. 41: Afro-American Poets Since 1955. 1985. Afro-Americana 928.1.D561.v.41

v. 50: Afro-American Writers Before the Harlem Renaissance. 1986. Afro-Americana 928.1.D561.v.50. 

v. 51: Afro-American Writers from the Harlem Renaissance to 1940. 1987. Afro-Americana 928.1.D561.v.51

v. 76: Afro-American Writers, 1940-1955. 1988. Afro-Americana 928.1.D561.v.76

Dictionary of Literary Biography Documentary Series: An Illustrated Chronicle.  V. 8: The Black Aesthetic Movement . 1991. English Reference Q.810.9.D561

In Black and White. 3rd ed. 1980. 2 vols. + suppl. Afro-Americana 016.920073.SP71980.    "A guide to magazine articles, newspaper articles, and books concerning more than 15,000 black individuals and groups," their careers and contributions to society. Includes index to occupations.


Notable Black American Women. 1992 + suppl. Afro-Americana 920.7208996.N843.


Who's Who Among African Americans. 9th ed. 1996- . Afro-Americana 920.073.W62171.


Who's Who in Colored America. Annual. 7 vols. 1927-1950. Main Stacks 920.9.W621.





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The African American Almanac . Includes statistics, biographies, sociological data, chronological history; extremely helpful.


African American Encyclopedia. 1993. 6 vols. Afro-Americana 973.0496073.AF832. 


Black American Reference Book. 1976. Afro-Americana 301.451. D29A1976. A comprehensive handbook of essays on all aspects of black life in the U.S. Contains statistical data, notes, and bibliographies.  


Black Authors: A Selected Annotated Bibliography. 1991. Undergrad Reference 013.0396073.N429B.   Similar to Monroe Work's Bibliography of the Negro in Africa and America (1928), attempts to identify works written, co-authored, or edited by black Americans. Includes over 3,200 titles in all subject areas, fiction and nonfiction, spanning over 200 years (1773-1990).


Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia. 2 vols. 1993. Afro-Americana 920.7208996.B561.   


Encyclopedia of African-American Culture & History.  Focuses on the experience of African-Americans throughout North and South America.


Encyclopedia of Black America. 1984. Afro-Americana 973.0496003.EN19.  Brief articles and biographies of 1,400 Afro-Americans. A progressive one volume  encyclopedic history of black Americans.


My Soul Looks Back, 'Less I Forget: A Collection of Quotations by People of Color. 1995, [c.1993]. Afro-Americana 081.08996073.M991993. 


The Negro Handbook. Annual. 1942-1949 . 4 vols. Main Stacks 325.26.N313.  An almanac of information about black Americans. Includes statistics, social issues (housing, crime, education, business, labor), sports, arts, religion, biographies, etc.  


The Negro Yearbook. Annual. 1912-1938. Main Stacks 325.26.N312.  Classic edited by Monroe Work.  Similar to the Negro Handbook, only it covers an earlier time period.


Quotations in Black. 1981. Afro-Americana 081.K57Q.   Includes over 1,100 quotations from more than 200 men and women, along with over 400 anonymous proverbs attributable to blacks.


Statistical Record of Black America. 1st ed. 1990- . Main stacks 305.896073.ST292





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Afro-American History; A Bibliography. 1974-1981. Afro-Americana 016.32526.S54A.   Over 3,000  abstracts from  America : History and Life since 1954; chronological arrangement.


Black Firsts: 2000 Years of Extraordinary Achievement  1994. Afro-Americana 909.0496073.B561.  Nearly 3,000 instances of firsts ranging from science to education to sports and entertainment are described.


Black Saga: The African American Experience. 1995. Afro-Americana 973.0496073.C462B.   Documents the African American experience in the United States from colonial times to the present in brief entries arranged in chronological order.


Chronology of African-American History. 1991. Afro-Americana 973.0496073.H784C1997.   Contains biographical information, significant events, legislation, court decisions, programs, manifestos, and data on social, economic, political and educational milestones.


Historic Landmarks of Black America. 1991. Afro-Americana 917.304928.C168H.  Historical sketches on more than 300 cites related to African American history.


The Historical and Cultural Atlas of African Americans. 1991. Afro-Americana 973.0496073.AS13h1998


Historical Statistics of Black America. 1995. Main Reference Q.973.0496073.H6293




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African-American Writers: A Dictionary.  From the 18th century to present, provides biographical information including important events in a writer's life, education, major works, honors and awards, and family and important associates.


Afro-American Fiction, 1853-1976: A Guide to Information Sources. 1979 . Main Stacks 016.813.M33A .   Bibliography of Afro-American fiction and critical bibliographies of some authors.


Afro-American Literature and Culture Since World War II: A Guide to Information Sources. 1979 . Main Stacks 016.813.P32A. Selective post-World War II until 1970; annotated bibliography by subjects.


Afro-American Poetry and Drama, 1760-1975: A Guide to Information Sources. 1979 . English Reference 016.81.AF85.  Comprehensive list of poetry, anthologies. Index, author section is useful as a checklist.


Bibliographical Guide to African-American Women Writers . 1993 . Afro-Americana 016.8108.J761B.   Writers are arranged in dictionary order with primary sources entered alphabetically by title followed by secondary sources entered by author.


Black American Women Novelists: An Annotated Bibliography. 1989 . Main Stacks 016.81309. W242B.   Offers biographies and commentaries.


Black Literature Criticism . 1992 . Afro-Americana 809.8896.B5616.    Covers 125 writers representing the United States , Africa , and Jamaica . Each entry presents a historical survey of critical response to the author's works.


Contemporary Black American Playwrights and Their Plays: A Biographical Directory and Dramatic Index . 1988 . Main Reference 812.09.P442C.   700 contemporary dramatists, screenwriters, radio and TV scriptwriters, 1950-1988. Attempts to be comprehensive.


Database of African American Poetry. Covers 54 eighteenth and nineteenth century African-American poets.


Index to Black American Literary Anthologies . 1979. Afro-Americana 016.81.K12I.   Designed to aid students in locating black American literature published in collections.


Index to Black Poetry . 1974 . Afro-Americana 016.811.C36I.   Ninety-four books and pamphlets by individual poets are indexed as well as 33 anthologies.


Index to Poetry by Black American Women . 1986 . Afro-Americana 016.81108.C366I.   Over 4,000 poems by 400 female poets are indexed; author, title, first line, subject approach.


Masterpieces of African-American Literature . 1992 . Afro-Americana 810.M393.   Essays on 149 works of literature arranged alphabetically by title.


Masterplots II: African American Literature Series . 3 vols. 1994 . Afro-Americana 810.9.M3932.   Contains 266 essays examining major writings in all genres from poetry to non-fiction, drama to novels.




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Afro-American Artists: A Bio-bibliographical Directory. 1973. Main Reference 709.73.C32A.  Covers 18th to 20th centuries and brings together data from exhibition catalogues, reviews, periodicals, books and questionnaires.


Afro-American Religious Music: A Bibliography and a Catalogue of Gospel Music  1979. Music Reference ML128.S4.J22.   Includes citations to music of established black churches in the United States , the Caribbean , South America , and West Africa .


American Black Women in the Arts and Social Sciences. 1994.  Main Stacks 016.396.W67A1994


Black Arts and Black Aesthetics. 2nd ed. 1981. Main Stacks 016.7001.F829B1981.   Defines "Black Arts" to mean "the philosophy of art which can be inferred from works by black Americans." Arranges materials into 2 categories: Articles and essays, and monographs. Each category is further subdivided into culture theory, dance, drama, music, Negritude, plastic arts, and poetry and fiction.


Black Dance: An Annotated Bibliography. 1989. Applied Health Sciences Stacks 016.7928.AD14B.   Documents black dance in all its forms. Mainly includes printed material published in the Western Hemisphere.


Black Entertainers in African American Newspaper Articles.  2002. Main Stacks Call Number: Q. 016.4791089 R262.   v. 1. An annotated bibliography of the Chicago defender, the Afro-American ( Baltimore ), the Los Angeles sentinel, and the New YorkAmsterdam news, 1910-1950.


Black Music Biography: An Annotated Bibliography. 1987. Main Reference 016.78092.F669B.   A survey of the history of the music of black Americans and of race relations in the United States . A collection of "brief career vignettes." Selective discography listed after each entry. 


Blacks in American Films and Television: An Encyclopedia. 1988. Afro-Americana 791.4308996. B567B.   A collection of synopses of important black-oriented films and television programs with credits for each production and critical commentary.


Blacks on Television: A Selectively Annotated Bibliography. 1985. Afro-Americana 016.791p;  Covers 45 years of black involvement in television (1939-1984) and contains more than 2,800 entries. 


Complete Annotated Resource Guide to Black American Art. 1978. Main Stacks 016.7040396073.H737C.   Focuses on survey and historical sources related to black visual artists in the U.S.


Dictionary of the Black Theatre: Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Selected Harlem Theatre. 1983. Afro-Americana 792.08996073.W834D.   Part I documents more than 300 shows from 1898 to 1981. Part II includes biographical entries of major performers, writers, and directors and notes on major organizations that have encouraged the black theatre in New York City in the 20th century.


Directory of African American Religious Bodies: A Compendium. 2nd ed. 1995. Afro-Americana 280. 08996073.D6281995.   Includes 5 essays on the African American religious experience and provides documentation of existing African American religious bodies, organizations, and agencies. 


Directory of Blacks in the Performing Arts. 2nd ed. 1990. Afro-Americana 792.025.M32D1990.  Contains information on approximately 1,100 black performing artists in film, television, radio, theatre, dance and musical performance.  


Encyclopedia of African American Popular Culture. 2011.  4 vols.  Afro-Americana 973.0496073.En1933.  Includes essays on art, artists, the arts; business and entrepreneurs; civil rights; cross-cultural influences; cultural movements; customs and traditions; dance and dancers; education and educators; festivals and celebrations; films, filmmakers, and actors; folklore influences; foods; the spoken word; law and legal issues; music and musicians; politics and political activities; protests and activists; and so on.


Encyclopedia of African American Religions. 1993. Afro-Americana 200.8996073.EN19.   Includes introductory essays, a chronology of African American religion, alphabetically arranged entries on churches, institutions, and people. Entries conclude with brief bibliographies. 


Images of Blacks in American Culture: A Reference Guide to Information Sources. 1988. Afro-Americana  700.973.IM1.   Explores images of Blacks as they have been presented in the study and development of American culture in 10 chapters. Suggested readings and bibliographies conclude each chapter.




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African-American Community Studies from North America: A Classified, Annotated Bibliography. 1991. Afro-Americana 016.305896.H321A.  Identifies and annotates the literature on African- American local (urban, town, rural) communities.


Black American Culture and Society: An Annotated Bibliography. 1994. Main Stacks 305.896073.B56182.  Includes chapters on family issues, drugs and drug- related crime, research on crime, health issues, and research on the aged.


The Black Family in the United States: A Revised, Updated, Selectively Annotated Bibliography. 1986. Main Stacks 016.30685.D294B.   Chronicles and accesses historical evolution of black families; up-to-date books, articles, and dissertations; annotated bibliography.


Black Immigration and Ethnicity in the United States: An Annotated Bibliography. 1985. Afro-Americana 016.305896073.B561.  U.S. Relates to the issues of black immigration of recent decades and its effects on the changing composition of the black population.


Black Males in the United States: An Annotated Bibliography From 1967 to 1987. 1988. Main Stacks 016.1558496.EV15B.   Annotated bibliography of published research literature on black males. Focuses on psychological and behavioral perspectives.


Encyclopedia of African-American Civil Rights: From Emancipation to the Present. 1992. Afro-Americana 305.896073.EN19.  Contains over 800 short articles on individuals, organizations, events, court cases, bibliographies, and a chronology of events. 


Encyclopedia of African American Education. 2010.  2 vols.  Afro-Americana 371.82996.En192. Themes include curriculum, economics, legal cases, psychology and human development, public policy, and segregation and desegregation, among others. Volume two includes "The Complete Bibliography of The Journal of Negro Education, 1932-2008."


The Progress of Afro-American Women: A Selected Bibliography and Resource Guide. 1980. Afro-Americana 016.9730496.SI58P.  Covers all aspects of Afro-American women in 19th and 20th century.




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Analytical guide and indexes to Alexander's magazine, 1905-1909. Main Stacks 371.9405 ALINDEX.


Analytical guide and indexes to the Colored American magazine, 1900-1909. 2 vols. Main Stacks 301.45105 C0INDEX.


Analytical Guide and Indexes to the Crisis, 1910-1960 . 3 vols.   Main Stacks 325.2605.CRINDEX.


Analytical guide and indexes to the Voice of the Negro, 1904-1907. Main Stacks 301.45105 VOIINDEX. 


Antebellum Black Newspapers . 1976 . Main Stacks 016.071471.J15A.   Indexes the New York Freedom's Journal (1827-1829), The Rights of All (1829), The Weekly Advocate (1837), and The Colored American (1837-1841). 


Black Index: Afro-Americana in Selected Periodicals, 1907- 1949 . Afro-Americana 016.97030496.N468B.   Articles relevant "to study of the Afro-American experience." Some little-known magazines and state historical publications indexed. 


Black Newspapers Index . 1986- . Newspaper 016.0713. IN21.   Continues Index to Black Newspapers. 1977-1985. Provides abstracts and indexing of all significant articles in the Afro-American, Muslim Journal, New York Amsterdam News, Chicago Defender, Cleveland Call & Post, Norfolk Journal & Guide, Los Angeles Sentinel, and Michigan Chronicle. 


Black Studies On Disc . 1995-2004 .  Afro-Americana Pan-African Workstation.   Contains 100,000 records for monographs and audiovisual material owned by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; and the last five years of periodical indexing from Index to Black Periodicals.


Blacks in Selected Newspapers, Censuses and Other Sources: An Index to Names and Subjects. 3 vols.  1977. Afro-Americana Q.016.9293 Ab16.  Indexes 19th and 20th century newspapers. 


Chicago Afro-American Union Analytic Catalog: An Index to Materials on the Afro-American in the Principal Libraries of Chicago .  5 vols.  1972 .  Afro-Americana Q.016.301451 C432.  Indexes articles published 1890 and 1940.


Dictionary Catalog of the Jesse E. Moorland Collection of Negro Life and History.  vol. 9.  1970.  Main Stacks Q.016.301451 H83d.  Includes an Index to African Periodicals and an Index to American Negro  Periodicals.


Ethnic Newswatch.  UIUC Online Collection. A full-text collection of  newspapers, magazines and journals of the ethnic and minority U.S. press.


Extant collections of early Black newspapers : a research guide to the Black press, 1880-1915, with an  index to the Boston Guardian, 1902-1904.  Newspaper 016.0713 C141E.


Guide to Negro Periodical Literature. [Also known as The Marshall Index ] Main Reference 011.34 M355g2002.


Kaiser Index to Black Resources, 1948-1986 . 5 vols. 1992 . Afro-Americana 016.9730496073.K123.   Contains 174,000 citations from over 150 periodicals.  


Index to Black Periodicals . 1950- . Main Reference 325.2605 IND 1A.  Indexes magazines and journals by authors and subjects. Covers all aspects of the African- American experience. Reviews included.


International Index to Black Periodicals (Included in the Proquest Black Studies Center package along with the Black Literature Index).




Here are a few exemplary home pages which indicate the variety of Internet Resources available in African American Studies.


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