Digital Collections

The University Library provides access to a number of digital collections that can be used in African American Studies research. Some of these collections have been digitized by departmental libraries or archives, while others have been purchased and are accessible only with a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign NetID.

Accessible to the public.

University of Illinois Library Digitized Collections

  • Amos Kennedy Digital Collection
    • The Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr., Collection in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign contains artists’ books, postcards, and posters. Kennedy is a letterpress printer, papermaker, book artist, and teacher who currently lives and works in York, Alabama. He was the first artist in residence at The Coleman Center for Arts and Culture, an organization founded in 1985 to further the arts in York. Through his strong graphics and bold typography, Kennedy addresses passionately issues of race, freedom, and equality, often incorporating proverbs and tales of the Kuba and Yoruba people of Africa, as well as the work of African-American poets such as Paul Laurence Dunbar.
  • Black Student Association Publications (Digital Surrogates)
    • Black Student Association Publications (Digital Surrogates), 1967-1974, contains digitized issues of Drums (1967-1969), The Black Rap (1969-1971), Yombo (1971-1973) and the Irepodun yearbook (1972-1973) containing feature articles, editorials, poetry, book reviews, cartoons, photographs, announcements, and advertisements about the University, Champaign-Urbana, police, Vietnam, racism, Black students, and white society.
  • Black Students for Revolution Records (Born Digital Records)
    • Born Digital Records and Audiovisual Material from the Black Students for Revolution Records contains photographs, videos, flyers, newspaper articles, social media records, and web clippings related to BSFR operations, protests, walkouts, and educational events.

Digitized Source Collections Purchased by the University Library

The Library provides access to many important of digital collections of research materials that are not freely available. These collections contain digital surrogates for a variety of materials (print, manuscript, audiovisual, etc.) that may be used as primary sources for  research related to African American Studies.

For a list of available collections, see our guide to Digital Collections related to African American history and culture. Some highlights include:

  • African American Communities
    • Focusing predominantly on Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, New York, and towns and cities in North Carolina this resource presents multiple aspects of the African American community through pamphlets, newspapers and periodicals, correspondence, official records, reports and in-depth oral histories.
  • Black Studies in Video
    • A collection of streaming documentaries and video footage, including coverage of a conference and reunion commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee.
  • ProQuest History Vault: Civil Rights and the Black Freedom Struggle
    • NAACP Papers and federal government records, organizational records, and personal papers regarding the Black Freedom Struggle in the 20th Century.
  • Slavery, Abolition & Social Justice
    • Documents key aspects of the history of slavery worldwide over six centuries, with 16 key areas of focus: slavery in the early Americas; African coast; the Middle Passage; slavery and agriculture; urban and domestic slavery; slave testimony; spiritualism and religion in slave communities; resistance and revolts; the Underground Railroad; the abolition movement and the slavery debate; legislation and politics; freed slaves, freedmen and free black settlements; education; slavery and the Islamic world; varieties of slave experience; slavery today and the legacy of slavery.