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African American history: Books

Resources for the study of African American history

Books to Start With

Finding Primary Sources in the Library Catalog

A primary source is firsthand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation. The nature and value of a source cannot be determined without reference to the topic and questions it is meant to answer. The same document, or other piece of evidence, may be a primary source in one investigation and secondary in another. The search for primary sources does not, therefore, automatically include or exclude any category of records or documents.” (Yale University Library)

Primary sources may include diaries, letters, speeches, interviews, autobiographies, personal narratives, eyewitness accounts, memoirs, or government documents. They may be published or unpublished, printed or handwritten, on microfilm or fiche or online.

Start your search in the UT Tyler catalog with a subject or keyword subject, then enter one of the following words as a separate subject, then click on search.  

Sources [will pull up collections of documents]

Diaries

Correspondence

Interviews

Personal narratives

You may also want to try for certain keywords in the title, usually the subtitle, such as "documentary history," "letters," or "papers." You will almost certainly get some false hits, but you can weed through them.

Search the Library Catalog

Use the box below to do a quick keyword search. For more options (advanced search) just click the search button before entering anything in the box.


Subject Headings for African-American History

The Library of Congress uses the term "African Americans" for black people of the United States.  Works on black people outside of the United States are entered under the heading "Blacks." 

Books in our catalog will use subject headings such as "African Americans", or "African American soldiers," or "African Americans in motion pictures" no matter what term (black, Afro-American, or Negro) was used in the book at the time of publication.

Finding Books and Dissertations Beyond Our Library

Browse the Library Collection

If you're still not sure of a topic for your paper, look around in the library book stacks on the 3rd floor and see what books we have.

Books on African-Americans are primarily in the areas listed below, although black singers will be in M for music, black American authors will be in PS, etc. 

African Americans in particular states or towns will be in those shelf areas (in F), and are best located using the catalog with a search looking for African Americans as a subject and the location (such as Slocum or Houston) as a subject.

E184.5 - E185.97  General history of African Americans
E440.92 - E453  Slavery in the United States
E453  Emancipation
HT973.2 - HT1444  Slavery
HT1500 - HT1595  "Races" and race relations
HV6455 - HV6481  Lynching and riots