American Women's History: A Research Guide
African-American Women
Home Page | Last Update: 3/14/2008

Primary Sources: Digital Collections

19th Century

African American Pamphlets From the Daniel A.P. Murray Pamphlets Collection, Rare Books and Special Collections, Library of Congress [online]. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress [cited 17 February 1998]. Available from:

Images of African Americans from the 19th Century [online]. New York: New York Public Library, c1999.
Sources include photographs, stereographs, drawings, and paintings. See in particular the category, "Portraits: Women."


Arkansas History Commission Photographs [online]. Little Rock: Arkansas History Commission, c2001. Available from:


Madam C. J. Walker Collection [Indiana Historical Society] includes digital images of Walker, advertisements, and examples of hairstyles.


Photo Database [online]. Los Angeles: Los Angeles Public Library, n.d. [cited 25 February 2002]. Available from:

Civil Rights

See Civil Rights - Primary Sources: Digital Collections


The Photography Collection [online]. Denver, CO: Denver Public Library, 1995- . Available from:
The 80,000 images in this collection document the history of Colorado and the American West. A keyword search for Afro-americans produced over 500 records.


Connecticut History Online [online]. Connecticut Historical Society, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut, and Mystic Seaport, [2001- ]. Available from:


Free to Dance [online]. [Alexandria, Va.]: PBS, 2001 [cited 4 April 2002]. Available from: See in particular the Interview Transcripts.
Companion site to the PBS three-part documentary that showcases the contributions of African Americans to the development of modern dance.


Delaware Digital Archives [online]. Dover: Delaware Public Archives, n.d. [cited 20 August 2003]. Available from:
The "Digital Archives" heading links to Photograph Exhibits, Document Exhibits, and Additional Exhibits.


Black Women at Virginia Tech Oral History Project [online]. Blacksburg: Virginia Tech University Libraries, updated 1 September 1999 [cited 15 November 2000]. Available from: Keywords: Higher Education, Virginia, Virginia Tech University

A Digital Collection Celebrating the Founding of the Historically Black College and University [online]. Historically Black College and University Library Alliance, 2007. Available from:
This collection documents the history of Fisk University, Grambling State University, Hampton University, Robert W. Woodruff Library of Atlanta University, Southern University and A&M College, Tennessee State University,Tuskegee University, and Virginia State University. The collection includes photographs, university correspondence, manuscripts, images of campus buildings, alumni letters, memorabilia, and programs from campus events. Highlights include photographs of the Fisk Jubilee Singers and Tennessee State A & I State College's Tigerbelles.

Jackson Davis Collection of African-American Educational Photographs [online]. Charlottesville: Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library, 1999. Includes 4,500 photographs from 1915-1930.

Mary McLeod Bethune, Educator [online]. In Florida Memory Project. Tallahassee: Bureau of Archives & Records Management, Florida Department of State, n.d. [cited 6 June 2002]. Available from:
Includes transcript of an interview with Bethune, as well as about twenty photographs of Bethune and her students.


Florida Folklife from the WPA Collections, 1937-1942 [online]. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 2000. Available from:
Includes audio files of folktales, folksongs, and interviews. Several of the folksong performers were African American women (e.g., Zora Neale Hurston).

Florida Memory Project [online]. Tallahassee: Florida Dept. of State, Division of Library and Information Services, n.d. [cited 5 September 2001]. Available from:
A search for African American women by subject retrieves numerous records, most organized by county.


African American Women in Iowa [online]. University of Iowa Libraries, [2006]. Available from:
Features a State University of Iowa scrapbook from the 1920s, an Iowa Federation Home pamphlet (1929), and NAACP newsletters (1963-1970).


Robert C. Maynard Oral History Collection [online]. [Oakland, CA]: Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, 2005 [cited 18 February 2005]. Available from:
Video clips from oral history interviews with African American journalists, including Leandra Abbott, Lenore Jenkins-Allen, Audreen Buffalo, Charlayne Hunter Gault, Nancy Maynard, and others.

Women inJournalism [online]. Washington, DC: Washington Press Club Foundation, 1996- [cited 30 March 2002]. Available from:
See the transcripts of oral history interviews with Marvel Cooke, Belva Davis, Dorothy Gilliam, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Frances Murphy, Ethel Payne, and Carole Simpson.


Kentuckiana Digital Library [online]. Frankfort, Ky.: Kentucky Virtual Library, n.d. [cited 18 May 2002]. Available from:
Some records for photographs of women do not include "women" as a subject heading. Therefore, try a search for African Americans and browse the search results.

Law, Women in

Constance Baker Motley [online]. In Agents of Change: Lesson Plans and Primary Documents from the 20th Century for Middle and High School Students. Northampton, MA: The Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, c2001. Available from:


Integration and the Black Experience at LSU [online]. In LOUISiana Digital Library. Baton Rouge: LOUIS: The Louisiana Library Network, n.d. [cited 17 November 2004]. Available from:
Audio files and transcripts from interviews of black students, faculty, and administrators who witnessed integration at Louisiana State University. Highlights include multiple interviews with Maxine Crump, an LSU Alumnae and first female African American to live in a LSU dorm.


Maryland Memory Projects [online]. Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, [2000- ]. Available from:
See in particular Collections Cross-Section: African Americans.


The Ten O'Clock News [online]. Boston: WGBH Archives, 2003 [cited 8 March 2003]. Available from:
Video archive of Boston's African American community from 1974 to 1991.

Medical Fields

Kellogg African American Health Care Project [online]. [Ann Arbor]: University of Michigan, c2000 [cited 9 August 2002]. Available from:
Oral history interviews with doctors and nurses who were active in the Detroit area during the period of 1940-1969.


Visual Resources Database [online]. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, [1998- ]. Available from:
A search for Blacks (the appropriate subject heading for this database) retrieved over 412 records with images.


Images of Kansas City: Photographs [online]. Kansas City, MO: Kansas City Public Library, n.d. [cited 4 May 2002]. Available from:


African-American Sheet Music, 1850-1920 Selected from the Collections of Brown University [online]. [Washington, DC]: Library of Congress, 1999.

Creative Americans: Portraits by Carl Van Vechten, 1932-1964 [online]. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1998 [cited 8 June 2002]. Available from:
See the Occupational Index: Singers, which lists Marian Anderson, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Bessie Smith and other African-American women.

Florida Folklife from the WPA Collections, 1937-1942 [online]. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 2000. Available from:
Includes folktales, folksongs, and interviews. Several of the folksingers were African American women (e.g., Zora Neale Hurston).

Marian Anderson Collection of Photographs, 1898-1992 [online]. [Philadelphia, Penn.]: University of Pennsylvania Library, 1998 [cited 16 April 2001]. Available from:

New Jersey

Working in Paterson: Occupational Heritage in an Urban Setting [online]. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 2002 [cited 10 May 2002]. Available from:
The site also includes Susan Levitas' interpretive essay, African American Family Business in Paterson, New Jersey.

North Carolina

Heritage of Black Highlanders Collection, ca. 1888-1972 [online]. Asheville: Special Collections and University Archives, Ramsey Library, University of North Carolina at Asheville, n.d. [cited November 2001]. Available from:


African Americans at Miami [online]. [Oxford, Ohio]: Miami University Libraries, n.d. [cited 7 February 2002]. Available from:

The African-American Experience in Ohio, 1850-1920 [online]. Columbus, OH: Ohio Historical Society, 1998- [cited 20 November 2000]. Available from:


Transcript, Barbara Jordan Oral History Interview I [online], March 28, 1984, by Roland C. Hayes. LBJ Library. Available from:
Jordan was the first female black senator elected to the Texas State Senate, and served as a U.S. Congresswoman, 1973-1978.

Public Speaking

Ellis, Kate, and Stephen Smith, ed. Say It Plain: A Century of Great African American Speeches [online]. American RadioWorks, 2005 [cited 24 April 2005]. Available from:
Text and audio from speeches by Mary McLeod Bethune, Shirley Chisholm, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Barbara Jordan.

Racism -- 20th Century

Race and Place: An African American Community in the Jim Crow South [online]. Charlottesville, Va.: University of Virginia, Virginia Center for Digital History and Carter G. Woodson Institute for Afro-American Studies, 1999 [cited 16 April 2001]. Available from: Focus is on African-American life in Charlottesville, Virginia during the Jim Crow era. Sources include census data, city and business directories, newspaper articles.


The American Missionary Association and the Promise of a Multi-cultural America: 1839-1954 [online]. New Orleans, La.: Amistad Research Center, Tulane University, in collaboration with the Louisiana State University Digital Library, [2000-]. Available from:
Appropriate subject headings for this database: African Americans and women.

The Church in the Southern Black Community [online]. Chapel Hill: Academic Affairs Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1999 [cited 16 April 2001]. Available from:


See Slavery - Primary Sources: Digital Collections

Social Reforms

Dublin, Thomas, and Kathryn Kish Sklar. Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1830-1930 [online]. 1997- [cited 4 May 2001]. Available from:
This collection of primary source documents is organized around numerous topical areas. Each of these different sections includes an introduction to provide context, and an annotated bibliography. The following sections cover African-American women:

  • African-American Women and the Chicago World's Fair, 1893
  • The Early Years of the National Association of Colored Women, 1895-1920
  • National Women's Party and the Enfranchisement of Black Women, 1919-1924


Brand, Mieka. Proffit Historic District Online Resource Archive [online]. Carter G. Woodson Institute for Afro-American and African Studies, University of Virginia, 2000 [cited 18 May 2002]. Available from:
The site includes oral histories, census data for 1870, 1880, and 1890), letters by Kate Coles, court records, maps, and photographs.

Holsinger Studio Collection [online]. Charlottesville, Va.: Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library, 1997- [cited 1 March 2002]. Available from:
This collection includes about 500 portraits of African-American citizens of Charlottesville and the surrounding area.

Portsmouth Public Library Photograph Collection [online]. Richmond: The Library of Virginia, n.d. [cited 15 May 2002]. Available from: .
A keyword search for African American women retrieves over 600 photographs.

Washington State

Black Oral History Collection [online]. Pullman, WA: Washington State University Libraries, updated 14 December 2003 [cited 1 March 2004]. Available from:

West Virginia

Ewen, Lynda Ann, ed. Lost Voices: Rediscovering the Contributions of African-American Women to West Virginia [online]. n.d. [cited 29 May 2002]. Available from:


Oral History: Rubie Bond, the African-American Experience in Wisconsin [online]. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society, updated 9 July 2001 [cited 27 November 2001]. Available from:

Women Writers

African-American Women Writers of the 19th Century. New York: New York Public Library [cited 30 August 1998]. Available from:

Ockerbloom, Mary Mark, ed. African American Writers [online]. In A Celebration of Women Writers. 1994- [cited 30 March 2002]. Available from:

American Women's History: A Research Guide