Rutgers University Libraries Researching African American History
The Basics: "Restricted Access;" Off-Campus Links; Finding Books: IRIS; Book Delivery; Finding Articles; Becoming an 'Expert' User Citing Your Sources
Getting Started: Encyclopedias/Handbooks Finding Books: Library Catalogs Finding Scholarly Articles: Indexes
19th Century Periodicals Newspapers Source Collections
African Americans in New Jersey Notable Names Guides/Gateways
African American Studies RUL Home Page IRIS Research Guides Ask a Librarian

The Basics

Restricted Access

Many of the resources listed in the sections below are marked Restricted Access. You should have no problem connecting to these from any networked computer on campus. However, by contract, remote access to the Rutgers University Library's indexes, electronic journals, and electronic reserve articles is available only to current Rutgers students, faculty and staff. In order to use these from off-campus, you must log in with your Rutgers NetID. For instructions see the Libraries' Remote Access to Library Resources.

Off-Campus Links

Once you have gone to a Rutgers Libraries page and logged in with your NetID [your pegasus username and password] you can use the "Off-Campus Link" provided for each Rutgers-restricted resource below to connect to that database or article. Use the link embedded in the citation to access these resources on campus.

IRIS: Find Books

IRIS is the online catalog for all the Rutgers University Libraries except the Newark and Camden Law Libraries. Use IRIS to find out if the Rutgers Libraries have the specific books or journals that you need, or to locate books on topics that you're researching. Show Me How

Getting Books From Other Rutgers Libraries

If a book that you need is not available (not owned/checked out) at the Dana Library, but is available from another Rutgers Library, you can request delivery of that book to Dana by bringing up the record for the book in IRIS and clicking on tbe Deliver/Recall button. Show Me

Book Not Available/Not Owned by the Rutgers Libraries?

The fastest way to get a copy of a book that is not owned or not available (checked out/on Reserve/missing etc.) at the Rutgers Libraries is to request it through E-Z Borrow. E-Z Borrow books are normally received within about five working days. Tell Me More

If a book is not owned by the Rutgers Libraries and is not available via E-Z Borrow, you can place an Interlibrary Loan request. Tell Me More

Finding Articles plus

Humanities Full Text
Humanities Full Text is the basic index for finding articles in the humanities disciplines, including history and literature. It indexes over 550 of the core, English language journals in history, literature, art and music, philosophy and religion. It indexes many journals back to 1984 and, beginning with 1995, includes many full-text articles.
Off-Campus Access Restricted Access.

Need More?

While Humanities Full Text will usually give you what you need for a basic research paper, if you're working on a more extensive project, or a more specialized topic, you will probably need to use one or more indexes that focus specifically on history or literature. You'll find links to most of these in the Finding Articles section below.

Becoming an 'Expert' User

Want to maximize your use of Library resources? Check out Searchpath, the Libraries' interactive tutorial.

Citing Your Sources

You will probably be using Chicago/Turabian style when citing the sources that you use in your research papers. The Chicago Manual of Style and Turabian's Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations are both available at the Dana Library Reference Desk. The Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison also has a nice introduction to Chicago/Turabian Documentation that will give you the basic information you need to create bibliographic citations.

The above site does not, however, cover citing online resources. The Library of Congress has a guide on How to Cite Electronic Sources that show Turabian-style examples; the Bedford/St. Martin's site also offers useful information on Using Chicago Style to Cite and Document Sources

Not sure when you need to cite something? Check out the Plagiarism Guide

Basic Resources: Encyclopedias and Handbooks

Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History. New York, Macmillan, 1996. 5 vols plus Supplement (2001).
Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History: The Black Experience in the Americas. 2nd edition. Detroit, Macmillan, 2006. 6 vols.
Signed entries covering all aspects of African-American history and life. While the 2d edition expands the scope of the work beyond North America, it has only a little more than half of the number of entries found in the first edition. Many of the U.S.-centered articles (for example, entries on states and major cities) are not available in the 2d edition. About half of the articles that appear in both have been updated in the 2d edition. Bibliographic references. Together, a good starting point for research.
Dana Call Number: Ref. E185 .E54 1996.
Dana Call Number: Ref. E185 .E54 2006.

Encyclopedia of African American History 1619-1895: From the Colonial Period to the Age of Frederick Douglass. New York, Oxford University Press, 2006. 3 vols.
Nearly 700 signed entries with selective bibliographies on people, events, activities and issues relevant to African American history up to the late 19th century.
List of Entries.
Dana Call Number: Ref. E185 .E546 2006

Black Women in America. 2d edition. New York, Oxford University Press, 2005. 3 vols.
Signed scholarly articles, with bibliographies, on people, organizations, events, institutions, and concepts. Includes a Chronology of Black Women's History 1619-2004 (pp.393-423). A basic starting point for anyone researching African American women.
Dana Call Number: Ref. E185.86 .B542 2005

Dictionary of Afro-American Slavery. Edited by John Randall Miller and John David Smith. New York, Greenwood, 1988.
Extensive collection of articles relating to slavery in the U.S. Bibliographic references.
Dana Call Number: Ref. E441 .D53 1988

The Harvard Guide to African-American History. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 2001.
Dana Call Number: Ref. E185 .H326 2001

Black Facts Online
Search African American history calendar by date or by topic.

Afro-American Almanac Historical Documents
Handy compendium of basic documents in African American history, but use with caution--commentary is unattributed and no date or source is attached to documents.

Finding Books: Library Catalogs

The online catalog for the Rutgers University Libraries. Some relevant subject headings that you can use in IRIS include:

African American [art, scientists, women, etc.]
African Americans
African Americans - Biography
African Americans - History
African Americans - New Jersey
Slave Trade - America
Slave Trade - United States
Slavery - Law and Legislation
Slaves - Emancipation
Slaves - United States
United States - Civilizations - African American Influences

Newark Law
Camden Law
Law library materials are not listed in IRIS. Use the same subject headings you use in IRIS find relevant publications in the law collections.

Catalog of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Catalog of the New York Public research library "devoted to collecting, preserving and providing access to resources documenting the experiences of peoples of African descent throughout the world." The Schomburg Center contains over 5,000,000 items held in five divisions: Art and Artifacts Division, General Research and Reference Division, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division, and Photographs and Prints Division. [Note: When beginning a search session, select "Schomburg Center" from the pull-down menu on the right.]

Center for Research Libraries
CRL is consortium of North American university and independent research libraries that acquires and preserves newspapers, journals, documents, foreign dissertations, archives, and other expensive or hard to find materials. CRL's Black Studies collection includes the microfilmed records of the American Colonization Society (1792-1965), the George Washington Carver Papers (1860-1975), portions of the Papers of the NAACP, and the U.S. Committee on Fair Employment Practices Records. As Rutgers is a CRL member, these materials are considered part of Rutgers' collections and the reels can be borrowed via Interlibrary Loan.

RLIN Eureka
Union catalog of over 45 million titles owned by members of the Research Library Group, a consortia of major research institutions which includes Rutgers and Princeton.
Off-Campus Access Restricted Access.

Finding Scholarly Articles: Indexes

This is a selected list of databases that you may find useful. There are many other indexes that may focus more specifically on the particular topic that you are researching. Check out the complete list of Rutgers online indexes and databases.

Humanities Full Text
Humanities Full Text is the basic index for finding articles in the humanities disciplines, including history and literature. It indexes over 550 of the core, English language journals in history, literature, art and music, philosophy and religion. It indexes many journals back to 1984 and, beginning with 1995, includes many full-text articles.
Off-Campus Access Restricted Access.

American History Indexes

America: History and Life 1964- .
The most comprehensive index to American (U.S. and Canada) history. Indexes over 2000 journals worldwide, as well as book reviews and dissertations.
Off-Campus Access Restricted Access.

African American Studies

The Kaiser Index to Black Resources, 1948-1986. From the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library. Brooklyn, NY: Carlson, Pub., Inc. 1992. 5 volumes
Unique resource based on the collections of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Over 170,000 citations to journal and newspapers articles, books, pamphlets and reports dealing with black history and culture.
Dana Library Call Number: Ref E185.K25 1992

Indexes to Nineteenth Century Periodicals

American Periodicals Series Online 1740-1900
The full text of articles, advertisements, illustrations etc., from American popular and literary magazines and journals that began publication between 1741 and 1900. Search by author, title, article type, publication title, date, and keywords in the full-text. A wonderful resource!
Off-Campus Access Restricted Access

Poole's Index to Periodical Literature 1802-1907
Subject and author index to nearly 500 Britsh and American periodicals.
Dana Call Number: Ref. AI3 .P7

Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, 1824-1900. 5 vols.
Chronological arrangement of tables of contents from 43 major Victorian periodicals.
Dana Call Number: Ref. Z2005 .H6

Nineteenth Century Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature, 1890 to 1899; With Supplemental Indexing 1900-1922 2 vols.
Dana Call Number: Ref. AI3 .R496

The Making of America
Digital project developed by the University of Michigan and Cornell University. The Michigan site has a searchable library of primary sources--approximately 8,500 books and 50,000 journal articles published in the 19th century--in American social history from the antebellum through reconstruction. While Cornell's site only provides access to the text of some 270 books, they have digitilized major runs of twenty-two 19th century journals and allows you to search or browse over 100,000 journal articles.


Historical New York Times
Allows you to search and display the full image of articles published in the New York Times back to 1851. The two+ most recent years are not included, use Access World News.
Off-Campus Access Restricted Access.

African-American Newspapers
Searchable full-text database consisting of:

  • Freedom's Journal (New York, 1827-1829)
  • Colored American (New York, 1837-1841)
  • The North Star (Rochester, N.Y., 1847-1851)
  • National Era (Washington, DC, 1847-1850)
  • Frederick Douglass' Paper, (Rochester, N.Y., 1851-1852)
  • Provincial Freeman, (Toronto, ON, 1854-1857)
  • Christian Recorder, (Toronto, ON, 1861-1862)

  • Off-Campus Access Restricted Access

    The African American Press
    Links to digitized issues as well as other materials relating to the American American Press. From RSAP: The Research Society for American Periodicals.

    Ethnic NewsWatch
    A full-text collection of over 200 newspapers, magazines, and journals of the ethnic, minority, and native press. Complete articles dating back to 1960, in English and Spanish.
    Off-Campus Access Restricted Access.

    Union Lists

    Union lists identify where runs of specific newspapers are physically held; newspapers on microform may be requested on Interlibrary Loan.

    Newspapers in Microform. United States. Washington : Library of Congress, 2 vols.
    Lists newspapers published in the U.S. by state, city, and title. Indicates which libraries have microform holdings of those titles.
    Dana Call Number: Ref. Z6951.U56a yr.1948/83

    Chronological Lists of U.S. Newspapers in Microform Available at the Library of Congress: 1940-1989
    Chronological lists arranged by state city, and title. Some microfilm are heavily used onsite and are not available for interlibrary loan from the Library of Congress.

    African-American Newspapers and Periodicals: A National Bibliography. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1998.
    Dana Call Number: Ref. PN4882.5 .A37 1998

    African-American Newspapers at the Center for Research Libraries

    Source Collections

    Aptheker, Herbert. A Documentary History of the Negro People in the United States. 3 vols. New York, 1969.
    Compilation of documents, including petitions, speeches, testimonies, reports, letters, and other writings, covering the years 1661 to 1945.
    Dana Call Number: E185. A58

    Rawick, George P. The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography. 19 vols. Westport, CT., 1972. Supplement, Series I. 12 vols. 1977.
    Massive compilation of slave narratives collected primarily by the Federal Writers' Project. Transcripts of interviews with over 3000 ex-slaves. Vol. 1 is a sociological study of slave communities.
    Dana Call Number: E441 .A58 [and] E444 .A45 Suppl. 1

    American Slave Narratives: An Online Anthology
    Some narratives, as well as photographs, from the Federal Writers Project (see above).

    Slave Records of Morris County, New Jersey: 1756-1841. Compiled and Edited by David Mitros. 2d edition, rev. Morristown, N.J.: Morris County Heritage Commission, 2002.
    Dana Call Number: F142 .M8W6 1991

    American Memory: African American History
    From the Library of Congress: "multimedia collections of digitized documents, photographs, recorded sound, moving pictures, and text from the Library's Americana collections." Among the collections that you can search or browse are:

    The Making of America
    Digital project developed by the University of Michigan and Cornell University. The Michigan site has a searchable library of primary sources--approximately 8,500 books and 50,000 journal articles published in the 19th century--in American social history from the antebellum through reconstruction. While Cornell's site only provides access to the text of some 270 books, but has digitilized major runs of twenty-two 19th century journals and allows you to search or browse over 100,000 journal articles.

    Documenting the American South
    Collection of sources on Southern history, literature, and culture taken primaily from the collections of the University of North Carolina. Includes First-Person Narratives of the American South; the Library of Southern Literature; North American Slave Narratives; the Southern Homefront 1861-1865; and The Church in the Southern Black Community. Includes over 1250 digitized books and manuscripts.

    Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000
    Books, images, essays, and primary documents organized around "document projects" that pose a question relating to the role of women in U.S. social movements. Also allows you to go directly to documents relating to specific Social Movements.
    Off-Campus Link Restricted Access.

    African-American Women: Online Archival Collections
    From the Special Collections Library at Duke University. Slave memoir, narrative, letter.

    African Americans in New Jersey

    Wright, Giles R. Afro-Americans in New Jersey: A Short History New Jersey Historical Commission, 1989.
    From the Colonial Period to the 1980s.

    Freedom Not Far Distant: A Documentary History of Afro-Americans in New Jersey. Compiled and edited by Clement Alexander Price. Newark, N.J., New Jersey Historical Society, 1980.
    Dana Call Number: F131 .N62 v.16

    Hodges, Graham Russell. Root & Branch: African Americans in New York & East Jersey, 1613-1863. Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1999.
    Dana Call Number: F128.9 .N3H63 1999

    The Law of Slavery in New Jersey: An Annotated Bibliography
    Compiled by Paul Axel-Lute at the Rutgers Newark Law Library. Part of the New Jersey Digital Legal Library.

    Moss, Simeon F. "The Persistence of Slavery and Involuntary Servitude in a Free State (1685-1866)," IN A New Jersey Anthology. Edited and compiled by Maxine N. Lurie. Newark, New Jersey Historical Society, 1994.
    Dana Call Number: F134.5.N48 1994; F134.5.N48 2002

    "Pretends To Be Free": Runaway Slave Advertisements from Colonial and Revolutionary New York and New Jersey. / edited by Graham Russell Hodges and Alan Edward Brown. New York : Garland Pub., 1994.
    Dana Call Number: E445.N56P74 1994

    'Steal Away, Steal Away--': A Guide to the Underground Railroad in New Jersey. Trenton, N.J., New Jersey Historical Commission, 2002.
    Pamphlet. Also available in print at Dana Call Number: DocNJ E450 .S74 2002.

    Siebert, Wilbur H. "Four Routes of the Underground Railroad Through New Jersey".
    Extracted from The Underground Railroad from Slavery to Freedom. (1898).

    Notable Names

    W.E.B. Dubois

    W.E.B. DuBois Virtual University
    Biographical articles; annotated bibliography; source materials. An excellent, scholarly site.

    Marcus Garvey

    Davis, Lenwood G. Marcus Garvey: An Annotated Bibliography. Westport, Conn., 1980.
    Annotated listing of books, articles, and theses by and about Marcus Garvey. Includes the text of the Constitution and Book of Laws of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities' League.
    Dana Call Number: Ref. E185.97 .G3D38

    Marcus Garvey and UNIA Papers Project
    A research project of the UCLA James S. Coleman African Studies Center. Biographical material; excerpts from documents; a photo gallery; and audio files of two Garvey speeches. Supplements the published documentary set: The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, University of California Press, 1983- (E185.97 .G3M36).

    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Pyatt, Sherman E. Martin Luther King, Jr.: An Annotated Bibliography. New York, 1986.
    Index to books, articles, dissertations, speeches, and documents by and about Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Dana Call Number: Ref. E185.97 .K5P92 1986

    Martin Luther King, Jr., FBI File. Frederick, MD., 1984.
    17,000 page file compiled by the FBI from 1958 through King's assasination in 1968, with additional material added until 1977.
    Dana Call Number: Serials/Microforms Microfilm #73; Reel Guide: Ref. E185.97 .K5M268 1984 guide

    Martin Luther King Jr. Web Site
    From the Martin Luther King, Jr. Paper Project at Stanford University. Secondary sources (biography, articles, reference sources) as well as primary materials (papers, documents).

    Paul Robeson

    The Paul Robeson Collection. Bethesda, MD., University Publications of American, 1991. 9 microfilm reels.
    Manuscript collections from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
    Dana Call Number: Microfilm 81

    Malcolm X

    Davis, Lenwood G. Malcolm X: A Selected Bibliography. Westport, CT., 1984.
    Partially annotated bibliography to works by and about Malcolm X.
    Dana Call Number: Ref. BP395 .X17D38 1984.

    Malcolm X: A Research Site
    Chronology, Words Spoken and Written, Webliography, and Study Guide.

    Guides and Gateways

    On the Web: African American History
    Excellent annotated listing of "the best Web sites on African American history." From the Suburban Library System of Illinois.

    Other Dana American History Guides

    American History America & the World American Cities American Immigration History American Labor History American Republic Civil War & Reconstruction History of Social Welfare Military in American Legal History New Jersey Genealogy Newark Experience Social Foundations of Education Vietnam War Vietnam War and 9/11

    African-American History: African-American History African-American Education

    Natalie Borisovets (
    June 8, 1999 Revised January 30, 2007