Web research can be very useful and lead to much useful and important information. While every effort has been made to list only “reliable” sites, researchers should be aware that control of sites change (often without notice) from time to time and, thus, the reliability and point of view of the website may change (for better or worse). One of the best uses of web information is to locate good primary and secondary sources that should be directly examined. Websites also go out of existence, so, for scholarly work, they are not reliable sources, like a published work which, presumably, will always be available in some library (Library of Congress) for examination. Beware especially of quoting or otherwise relying upon unidentified opinions found on websites.
Basic guide to web research:
- Use your library BEFORE you start your web research. You will learn many terms that will be useful in your web research. You should read at least one good, broad secondary source on the subject before starting your research.
- Learn how to do web research. Google has a very good set of instructions. USE THEM!
- Know the site you are using. Find out who is responsible for it. An example of a very good site is the Avalon Project at the Yale Law School (use Google to find it.)
- Find the original printed source of the information given on the site. You may have to use your library sources or a research librarian to help you. Cite both the internet source and the printed source.
Major Research Guides and Resources–African American History
- The Making of African American Identity, Pt. 1: 1500-1865
- The Making of African American Identity, Pt. 2: 1865-1917
- The Making of African American Identity, Pt. 3: 1917-1968
- Freedom’s Story, Teaching African American Literature and History
- Black Press USA
Excellent online news service provides current national and local news articles on this website sponsored by the National Newspaper Publishers Association and the Black Press. Billed as “your independent source of news for the African American community,” the website includes links to Black Press online newspapers organized by state, a history section, press releases, and a search engine. A bit slow loading (as of 6/18/01), but highly recommended.
- Ebony Online
Abstracts (not full text) of selected articles and features from current issue only. Abstracts function as a sort of expanded table of contents meant to lead the online reader to subscribe or otherwise seek out the physical magazine to continue reading the article of interest. No archived issues or articles, no search engine, no full table of contents or index.
- Freedom’s Journal
Full text digitized copies of the nation’s first African American owned and operated newspaper, 1827-1829. The first 20 issues are currently (6/00) available free online, with the remaining 80 some issues scheduled to follow. Adobe Acrobat reader necessary, and available online for downloading if needed. From the State Historical Society of Wisconsin Library, a leader in the collection, preservation, and promotion of African American periodicals.
- Google Cultural Institute: Black History and Culture
Google has gathered together a vast collection of more than 4,000 online primary sources including documents, photographs, and other artifacts that illustrate African American history. One document, for example, is Frederick Douglass’s handwritten 1857 letter to his former owner. Another shows the famous Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, site of the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” attack on Civil Rights marchers by Alabama State Troopers.
- Legal Defense Fund (NAACP) web page
- Library of Congress – Map Collections, 1500-2003
- NAACP Online
Homepage of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
- National Archives (Washington, D.C.)
- Vibe Online
Online version of this well-known youth-oriented music and culture magazine. Loaded with graphics, advertisements, illustrations, and articles.
- Western Journal of Black Studies
Online index to this well-known literary research journal; includes links to the reference sections of articles from 1977-present. Some sections are available to online subscribers only; subscriptions available to individuals for a fee. Copies of this journal, 1997-present, are available
OTHER NOTABLE RESOURCES
- African American Women Writers
Exemplary online resource presents text and images from the renowned Schomburg Center on the topic of African American women writers of the 19th century. Contents are searchable by title, author, and by literary genre (poetry, essays, etc.). Also includes a number of accompanying essays.
- Digital Schomburg: Images of African Americans from the 19th Century
One of many noteworthy projects from the Schomburg Center, this digital photo album is searchable by broad category (such as “family,” “education,” “civil war,” or by keywords. Also included are brief essays that give an introduction to the photographs, as well as the broader topic of searching the past.
- Flashbacks: African American Education
From the archives of the Atlantic Monthly magazine, historic essays from W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington on the topic of African American education. Also includes Bernard W. Harleston’s 1965 essay “Higher Education for the Negro,” Claude M. Steele’s 1992 “Race and the Schooling of Black Americans,” and Nicholas Lemann’s 1993 “Philadelphia: Black Nationalism on Campus.”
- Flashbacks: Black History, American History
More from the archives of the Atlantic Monthly, a number of important, full-text essays including Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “The Negro is your brother” (popularly known as the “Letter from Birmingham Jail”), a number of essay debates between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois (including “The Awakening of the Negro,” “Strivings of the Negro People,” and others), plus an interview with Du Bois.
- The African American Coal Miner Information Center
This site provides information on African American coal miners and coal mining families. It also includes a synopsis of African American coal mining experience and a growing list of miners in alphabetical order by last name, many with the place of birth.
African Americans (General)
- African American History in Allegany County, Maryland
- African American Voices in Congress
- Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries: African Americans in Civil War Medicine
- Great Black Heroes (Podcasts)
- Great Black Inventors
- Black History in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois
- Center for Black Music Research
- Charles L Blockson Afro-American Collection, Temple University
- Creole History in Louisiana
- The History Makers.org
- History of Black Theater in America
- National Gallery of Art – African American Artists
- Pointe Coupee Parish History
- The Faces of Science: African Americans in the Sciences
- The Internet African American History Challenge
- The Mark E. Mitchell Collection of African American History
- The National Caucus and Center on Black Aged
- Unified Committee for Afro-American History in St. Mary’s County, Maryland
- Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail
African American Women
- African American Women’s History on About.com
- American Women’s History: A Research Guide (African American Women)
- Association of Black Women’s Historians
- History of Black Women in Mathematics
- National Archives for Black Women’s History
- National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs
- National Council of Negro Women
African Americans to 1860
- A Recently Discovered (2015) Jupiter Hammon Poem
- American Slave Narratives
- The Barbados and the Carolinas Legacy Foundation
- Citizens ALL: African Americans in Connecticut 1700-1850
- God’s Little Acre: American’s Colonial African Cemetery (Newport, Rhode Island)
- New York City Freedom Trail
- Slave Rebellions (The History Channel)
- The Five Major Slave Rebellions (PBS)
- The Middle Passage
- The Slave Rebellion Website
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin and American Culture
The Civil War Era:
- African American Civil War Memorial
- Freedmen and Southern Society Project
- FREE BOY: A True Story of Slave and Master
- Freedmen’s Bureau Files
African Americans, 1877-1900
- African American Experience in Ohio, 1852-1920
- Afro-American Sources in Virginia
- Frontline: Booker T. & W.E.B. DuBois
African Americans, 1901-1945
- Black Baseball’s Negro Baseball Leagues
- Fritz Pollard Alliance
- Larry Lester’s History of Black Baseball
- Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association
- Now What a Time: Blues, Gospel, and the Fort Valley Music Festivals, 1938-1943
- Red Hot Jazz Archive: A History of Jazz before 1930
- The Double V Campaign, World War II campaign for civil rights
- The Langston Hughes Research Center
- Vermont Area 9th and 10th (Horse) Cavalry Association
- Without Sanctuary, a collection of photographs of lynchings (Warning: images are graphic)
African Americans, 1946-2000
- Artsy’s Romare Bearden Page
- Malcom X: A Research Site
- The 24th Infantry in Korea
- The Brown Decision in Norfolk, Virginia
- The Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change
African Americans in the 21st Century