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African American Studies Resource Guide: African American Literature
This guide provides selected information resources in support of BLKST / HST- 469: 'African American Life-Slave & Free.' These resources include both those useful to the study of historical events and those appropriate for researching current issues.
This is the online version of the extensive series, the Dictionary of Literary Biography, (the main series, the Documentary Series and the Yearbook Series). The DLB provides biographies of important writers, and aims to include "the larger perspective of literary history..." The volumes are organized by topic, period, or genre. Users may search or browse through the complete online set. Some of the volumes relevant to African American Studies, (also owned in print) are listed below:
"The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is a national research library devoted to collecting, preserving and providing access to resources documenting the experiences of peoples of African descent throughout the world." In addition to maintaining the physical collection, the Schomburg Center also has extensive digital collections and online texts.
This site includes digitized images of Freedom's Journal, the first newspaper to be owned and operated by African-Americans. Freedom's Journal was published weekly in New York City, from March 1827 through March 1829. All 103 issues have been digitized.
"In 1899, Librarian of Congress Herbert Putnam asked Library of Congress staff member Daniel A. P. Murray 'to secure a copy of every book and pamphlet in existence, by a Negro Author, to be used in connection with the Exhibit of Negro Authorship at the Paris Exposition of 1900, and later placed in the Library of Congress.'" Now part of the Library of Congress's American Memory project, the Daniel A. P. Murray Pamphlet Collection spans from the early 19th through the early 20th centuries.
This online selection of 1,305 sheet music pieces from Brown University's John Hay Library, dates from 1850-1920. The collection includes songs from the antebellum black face minstrelsy in the 1850s and from the abolitionist movement. Some items relate to the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, others relate to African-American soldiers during the Civil War, and to the newly emancipated slaves. Post-Civil War music relates to Reconstruction, urbanization, and the northern migration of African Americans.
The Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature is located in the Chicago Public Library system's Carter G. Woodson Regional Library. Vivian Harsh, the Chicago Public Library's first African American librarian, began building the collection in 1932 when she became head of the George Cleveland Hall branch. The collection includes books, periodicals, microfilm, and manuscripts; its focus is primarily on African American literature and history in Illinois.
The Moorland Spingarn Research Center is devoted to "the documentation of the history and culture of people of African descent in Africa, the Americas, and other parts of the world." The Library Division and Manuscript Division each provide detailed descriptions of their individual collections.
Part of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at the University of South Carolina, the collection includes titles from Baker's personal and working library of 20th century children's authors and illustrators. Works include those by Virginia Hamilton and Tom Feelings, which emphasize the African-American experience in twentieth-century children's literature.
Charles L. Blockson, collector of Afro-Americana, donated his collection to Temple University in Philadelphia in 1983. The collection includes over 30,000 items in all formats related to the black experience, both in the U.S. and globally. The website provides links to the online catalogs of other libraries with African American and African collections.
Held in the Special Collections and Rare Books department of the University of Minnesota, the Givens Collection is devoted materials that document the literary and cultural history of African Americans. Most of the 8000 items are works of African American fiction, including rare first editions. The site also links to Literature & Life: The Givens Collection, a Public Television documentary.
One of the special collections of American Literature at Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. "Founded in 1941 by Carl Van Vechten, [...] as a memorial to Dr. James Weldon Johnson ..." Other papers include those of Dr. W. E. B. DuBois, Walter White and Poppy Cannon White, Dorothy Peterson, Chester Himes, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Jean Toomer, and smaller groups of papers of writers such as Arna Bontemps, Countee Cullen, Zora Neale Hurston, and Claude McKay.