A User’s Guide to BlackPast.org

DuSable Museum, Front Entrance
Front Entrance, DuSable Museum, Chicago, Illinois

Welcome to BlackPast.org, the largest free and unrestricted reference center on African American and Global African History currently on the Internet.  This website has nearly 8,000 pages reflecting the vast array of information on the history of people of African ancestry.  The User’s Guide is designed to help you access this information as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The fastest way to find specific information on BlackPast.org is to type in a name in the Search Bar which appears at the top of every page on the website. Type in “Fannie Lou Hamer,” for example.  The website search engine will then list every entry on the site related to Hamer. While you can type Fannie Lou Hamer, typing “Fannie Lou Hamer” using quotation marks, narrows your search. The search results page appears after a search is performed.

BlackPast.org has two major divisions:

African American History (AAH)

All sections in this division focus on the historical experiences of African Americans, that is, persons of African ancestry who have or are now living in the United States.

Global African History (GAH)

All sections in this division address the history of people of African ancestry who live or have lived outside the United States and its territories.

Each division is listed on the navigation bar at the top of the page as African American History or Global African history. Click on the name and a pull-down menu will appear with a list of sections or features under that heading. For example, “People” on this menu will include all entries of individual African Americans. Under “Perspectives” you will see all articles related to African American History. The same features related to Global African History appear under that pull down menu.

We want to call your attention to the Map links under AAH and GAH. Each is the first feature on the pull-down entry. When you click on the link for AAH, you will be taken to an outline map of the U.S. Hover your cursor over any state and all entries related to that state will appear. The same is true for the world map. Hover your cursor over any country and all the entries related to that country will appear.

Other pull-down menus on the navigation bar include Main Features, Special Features, and About Us. Pull down the Main and Special Features menus and you will find a wealth of historical information on various subjects. Pull down the About Us link and you will see a short video on BP as well as information related to the history, content contributors, Board of Directors, and Support team (staff) of BlackPast.org.

BlackPast.org includes:

  1. An online encyclopedia featuring nearly 8,000 entries which describe people, places and events in global African history written by nearly 1,000 academic, independent and student historians.  Their contributions make BlackPast.org one of the largest online encyclopedias devoted exclusively to the history of people of African ancestry wherever they are found.
  2. The complete text of more than 320 major speeches by African Americans from 1789 to today.
  3. More than 150 full text primary documents—court decisions, laws, organizational statements, treaties, government reports and executive orders which help describe the African American past.
  4. Four major timelines that show the history of people of African ancestry from 5,000 B.C.E. to today.
  5. Eight bibliographies listing the more than 5,000 major books on African American history categorized by author, title, subject, and date of publication.
  6. Both AAH and GAH Perspectives which features descriptions of important but little known events in black history often written by the individuals who participated in or witnessed them, or commentary on the important events of that day that will become history in the future.  Many of these accounts are instant primary sources.

BlackPast.org is constantly adding new information so please return often.  We welcome your suggestions for improvement.  If you have suggestions, please click: Quintard@blackpast.org.

Welcome to BlackPast.org