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History: African American History

Find information sources for use in history assignments or to learn more about a history topic.

B&W photo W. E. B. Du Bois with the Fisk University class of 1888 Learn more about African American history with books and e-books from the library or articles in databases. or watch a streaming documentaries. Discover digital collections and more when you use recommended free resources on the web.

Photograph source: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library. (1888). W. E. B. Du Bois with the Fisk University class of 1888 Retrieved from

Find books

Books are typically a good information type to use for history research assignments. Scan the book's table of contents to quickly see if the book meets your needs. Use the book's index to find the page where your topic is mentioned. Of course, in eBooks you can simply search in the book.

Search for books / eBooks

Searching is the best way to discover if books are available on your topic. If you want a physical book use the link Pioneer Search - In the Library to limit your search to only physical (print) copies. A search of everything (the default Pioneer Search) finds both physical and eBooks. The eBook Collection from EBSCO is our most comprehensive eBook collection. You will also find eBooks in JSTOR.

Browse the shelves for books

Go to the E classification (History) area in Thigpen Library. The E section is arranged chronologically so you can browse by time period. The section E184-185 has books on African-American history topics.

Other areas to browse are HN (Social history, social problems, social reform), HT (Races) M (Music), and PS (American literature).

Find articles in databases

Use these library databases to find articles from scholarly academic journals and magazines. The database Issues and Controversies in History does not have articles from magazines and journals but its reference articles provide an in-depth look at key historical issues. 

Watch streaming videos

Discover documentaries and newsreels on events in African American history with these streaming video collections.

Primary Sources

Explore free resources on the web

This alphabetical list of websites links you to digital collections where you will discover resources on the African American experience from the Tennessee State Library and Archives, the New York Public Library, the Smithsonian and many other reputable sites.