Black Studies Research Guide

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Try these databases first to find journal articles in this discipline.
  • Africa Knowledge Project (1999-Present)
    Africa Knowledge Project, known as AKP, promotes Critical African Studies. It disseminates Africa-centered, evidence-based knowledge on Africa and African Diaspora.
  • African Writers Series
    Complete texts of the Heinemann's African Writers Series.
  • America, History & Life (1964 to present)
    Covers the world's scholarly literature on the history and culture of the United States and Canada.
  • Black Studies Center (25,000 BC to present)
    Black Studies Center is a tool that supports research, teaching, and learning in Black Studies covering aspects of the black experience such as history, literature, political science, sociology, philosophy, and religion.
  • Historical Abstracts with Full Text (1955 to present)
    Scholarly literature about world history since 1450 (excluding the United States and Canada).
    Full-text backfiles of over two thousand leading academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. (Alumni access)
  • MLA International Bibliography (1926 to present)
    Covers critical scholarship on literature, language, linguistics, and folklore.
  • PAIS Index (1972 to present)
    Coverage of articles, selected books, government documents, research reports, etc., from a wide range of social sciences.
  • Project Muse
    Online database of more than 200 journals from nonprofit publishers. (Alumni access)

For more databases, use the subject filter on A-Z Databases


Use these encyclopedias and reference works to get started on a topic.

Primary Sources

Also see the Primary Sources research guide.
  • African American Newspapers (Readex) (1827-1998)
    Provides access to approximately 270 U.S. newspapers from more than 35 states and chronicles a century and a half of the African American experience.
  • African American Newspapers (Accessible Archives) (1827-1902)
    Starting with Freedom's Journal in 1827, the database will eventually contain all major African-American newspapers published in the U.S. during the 19th century.
  • Aluka
    Digital resources and data in three major content areas: African Cultural Heritage Sites and Landscapes, The African Plants Initiative and Struggles for Freedom in Southern Africa.
  • American Slavery Collection (1820-1922)
    This digital edition of the American Antiquarian Society's holdings of slavery and abolition materials delivers more than 3,500 works published over the course of more than 100 years.
  • Amherst College Digital Collections
    Digitized art works, photographs, manuscripts, books, and other media from Amherst College Archives & Special Collections and the library’s Art & Architecture Collection.
  • ArchiveGrid
    Primary-source collection descriptions from WorldCat records and archival finding aids.
  • Caribbean Newspapers (1718-1876)
    Fully searchable digitized collection of 18th- and 19th-century Caribbean newspapers, including 66 titles from 22 islands
  • Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice (1490-2007)
    Thousands of pamphlets, books, paintings, maps and images documenting the varieties and legacy of slavery, the social justice perspective, and the continued existence of slavery today.


Use these collections of historical and current newspapers (also see the Primary Sources tab or search the journal locator for specific titles).
  • Access World News (Newsbank) (date coverage varies)
    Electronic editions of over 2,600 local, regional, and national U.S. newspapers as well as 1,500 international sources. Fully searchable and browsable by map.
  • AllAfrica
    Content from newspapers, news agencies and publications from the African continent.
  • Alternative Press Index (1969 to present)
    Covers alternative, radical and left periodicals, newspapers and magazines.
  • Alt-PressWatch (1970 to present)
    Full-text newspapers, magazines, and journals of the alternative and independent press.
  • Ethnic NewsWatch (1959 to present)
    News and analysis from ethnic popular and scholarly publications.
  • Global Newsstream (ProQuest)
    Search the most recent global news, including major US dailies, with archives that stretch back into the 1980s from over 2,700 news sources that include newspapers, newswires, television and radio transcripts, blogs, and more in full-text format.


  • iPOLL
    Database contains survey questions and answers asked in the US over the last 70+ years by more than 150 survey organizations. Create a personal registration for access to full features.
  • Social Explorer (1790 to present)
    Access to data from the U.S. Census, American Community Survey, religious congregations, and other sources, with options to create thematic and interactive maps and reports.
  • Historical Statistics of the United States
    Standard source for quantitative information about the U.S., updated and includes 37,000 data series.


  • American Music
    Nearly 7,000 albums of music from America's past, including civil rights, political campaigns, Prohibition, wars, and more.
  • Kanopy Streaming Video
    Kanopy offers a broad selection of thousands of streaming films, documentaries, and theatrical releases covering a wide variety of subject areas, with additional new releases launched monthly. If close-captioning is not included, it can be requested. Interactive transcripts are included. Note that US feature films are not typically part of the Kanopy offerings.
  • Naxos Music Library Jazz
    One of the most comprehensive collections of Jazz music available online.


Start with these recommended freely available resources in this discipline.

Black Studies Resources in Archives & Special Collections
Resource guide for materials related to Black Studies and the black experience at Amherst college in Amherst College's Archives and Special Collections.

Digital Harlem 1915-1930 
Award-winning historical research project using mapping layers and public records to illustrate everyday life for African-American New Yorkers

Digital Schomburg 
Online exhibits, books, images, and other resources from the NYPL's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Who Speaks for the Negro?: An Archival Collection
Digital archive of the original reel-to-reel recordings that Warren compiled for each of his interviewees, as well as print materials related to the book of the same name, published in 1965.

    New Titles

    Modern Egypt : what everyone needs to know (Rutherford, Bruce K., author.) Frost Library; DT107.87 .R88 2019

    Total onslaught : war and revolution in southern Africa since 1945 (Moorcraft, Paul L., author.) Frost Library; DT1135 .M66 2018

    "Little research value" (Namhila, Ellen Ndeshi, author.) Frost Library; DT1555 .N35 2017

    New histories of South Africa's apartheid-era bantustans Frost Library; DT1760 .N49 2017

    A short history of South Africa (Nattrass, Gail, author.) Frost Library; DT1787 .N38 2017

    Africa's lost leader : South Africa's continental role since apartheid (Hamill, James, 1960- author.) Frost Library; DT1971 .H36 2018

    Always another country : a memoir of exile and home (Msimang, Sisonke, author.) Frost Library; DT1972.M75 A3 2018

    Mandela : his essential life (Hain, Peter, 1950-, author.) Frost Library; DT1974 .H35 2018

    Going to the mountain : life lessons from my grandfather, Nelson Mandela (Mandela, Ndaba, author.) Frost Library; DT1974 .M325 2018

    Africa : war and conflict in the twentieth century (Stapleton, Timothy J. (Timothy Joseph), 1967-, author.) Frost Library; DT21.5 .S74 2018

    To swim with crocodiles : land, violence, and belonging in South Africa, 1800-1996 (Kelly, Jill E., author.) Frost Library; DT2270 .K45 2018

    Pan-Africanism : a history (Adi, Hakim, author.) Frost Library; DT30 .A35 2018

    Slavery in the North : forgetting history and recovering memory (Ross, Marc Howard, author.) Frost Library; E441 .R797 2018

    Unrequited toil : a history of United States slavery (Schermerhorn, Calvin, 1975-, author.) Frost Library; E441 .S34 2018

    Contesting slave masculinity in the American South (Doddington, David Stefan, 1986- author.) Frost Library; E443 .D63 2018

    When rape was legal : the untold history of sexual violence during slavery (Feinstein, Rachel A., author.) Frost Library; E443 .F45 2018

    Masters of violence (Stubbs, Tristan, author.) Frost Library; E443 .S88 2018

    Slavery in the Connecticut Valley of Massachusetts (Romer, Robert H.) Frost Library; E445.M4 R65 2009

    Invisible masters : gender, race, and the economy of service in early New England (Ceppi, Elisabeth, author.) Frost Library; E446 .C47 2018

    Abolitionism : a very short introduction (Newman, Richard S., author.) Frost Library; E449 .N66 2018

    If I survive (Bernier, Celeste-Marie, author.) Frost Library; E449.D75 B47 2018

    Fugitive slaves and spaces of freedom in North America Frost Library; E450 .F957 2018

    Cuba then (Fernández, Ramiro (Ramiro A.), creator.) Frost Library; F1765 .C975 2018 x

    Cuba : a cultural history (West, Alan, 1953-, author.) Frost Library; F1776 .W47 2017

    Bay of Pigs : CIA's Cuban disaster, April 1961 (Carradice, Phil, author.) Frost Library; F1788 .C37 2018

    Cuba's forgotten decade : how the 1970s shaped the revolution Frost Library; F1788 .C8295 2018

    A dark inheritance : blood, race, and sex in colonial Jamaica (Newman, Brooke N., author.) Frost Library; F1896.A1 N49 2018

    Colonial phantoms (Ramírez, Dixa, author.) Frost Library; F1935 .R36 2018

    Writing Puerto Rico : our decolonial moment (Rebollo-Gil, Guillermo, 1979-, author.) Frost Library; F1976.4 .R43 2018

    Rhetorics haunting the National Mall : displaced and ephemeral public memories Frost Library; F203.5.M2 R47 2018

    Southern nation : Congress and white supremacy after reconstruction (Bateman, David A., author.) Frost Library; F216 .B38 2018

    The dynamics of southern politics : causes and consequences (McKee, Seth Charles, 1974-, author.) Frost Library; F216.2 .M42 2019

    The war against the pirates (Gough, Barry M., author.) Frost Library; F2161 .G68 2018

    Caribbean revolutions : Cold War armed movements (May, Rachel A., author.) Frost Library; F2183 .M395 2018

    Deferred dreams, defiant struggles Frost Library; HT1581 .J64 2018

    Stolen life (Moten, Fred, author.) Frost Library; HT1581 .M684 2018

    Decolonising the mind : the politics of language in African literature (Ngũgĩ wa Thiongʼo, 1938-) Frost Library; PL8010 .N48 1986

    From Trinity to Trinity (Hayashi, Kyōko, 1930-2017.) Frost Library; PL852.A82784 Z4613 2010

    Killing Commendatore (Murakami, Haruki, 1949- author.) Frost Library; PL856.U673 K5713 2018

    Heaven and hell : a novel of a Manchukuo childhood (Takarabe, Toriko, 1933- author.) Frost Library; PL862.A424134 T4613 2018

    Cult X (Nakamura, Fuminori, 1977-, author.) Frost Library; PL873.5.A339 C8513 2018

    Okuribi (Takahashi, Hiroki, 1979- author. 高橋弘希, 1979- author.) Frost Library; PL876.A3866 O48 2018