African American Studies: Basic Resources

Encyclopedias/Handbooks Biographical Information Finding Books Finding Articles Newspapers
Law & Legislation Education Data African Americans in New Jersey
American History African American History RUL Home Page IRIS Ask a Librarian

Encyclopedias and Handbooks

Reference Library of Black America. Edited by Kenneth Estell. Detroit, Gale Research, 1994. 5 volumes
Chronology, documents, history, biographical information, photographs, and statistics relating to contemporary and historical African American life.
Dana Call Number: Reference Desk #168

Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History. New York, Macmillan, 1996. 5 vols plus Supplement (2001).
Signed entries covering all aspects of African-American history and life. Bibliographic references. A good starting point for research.
Dana Call Number: Ref. E185 .E54 1996.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Guide to Black History.
Entries on people, institutions, and events. Includes some audio files and a timeline of African-American history.

Smith, Jessie Carney. Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events. 2d edition, revised and expanded. Detroit, Visible Ink Press, 2003.
Arranged by category, e.g., 'Arts & Entertainment,' 'Civil Rights & Protest,' 'Education,' etc.
Dana Call Number: Ref. E185 .B574 2003

Biographical Information

Contemporary Black Biography: Profiles from the International Black Community. Detroit, Gale Research, 1992- . (40 vols)
2-4 page biographical profiles of notable men and women of African heritage from a wide variety of fields.
Dana Call Number: Ref. E185.96 .C65

Black Women in America: A Historical Encyclopedia. Bloomington, Indiana, 1993. 2 vols.
Biographical and topical essays.
Dana Call Number: Ref. E185.86 .B542 1993b

African Americans and Technology
Extensive list of links relating to individuals, organizations, programs, and publications. Part of the excellent Hinson's Afrocentric Research Guide.

Haskins, James. Distinguished African American Political and Governmental Leaders. Phoenix, Oryx Press, 1999.
Profiles of 104 African Americans who either distinguished themselves in their appointed/elected office, or were the first black persons to be appointed or elected to that position. Includes profiles of individuals from the early nineteenth century to 1998.
Dana Call Number: REF E185.61 .H359 1999.

Faces of Science: African Americans in the Sciences
Includes profiles of African Americans who have contributed to the advancement of science and engineering.

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 [actors, aged, art, scientists, women, etc.]
African Americans
African Americans - Biography
African Americans - Education
African Americans - History
African Americans - New Jersey
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.

Finding Articles: Indexes

Humanities Abstracts
1984- . Index to over 350 core English-language periodicals in the humanities, including history, philosophy, religion, art, music, literature, and related subjects. Restricted Access.

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. Search Guide available. Restricted Access.

1966- . Index to articles, research documents, techical reports, and curricular materials in education. The largest education database in the world. Restricted Access.

SocioFile 1974-
Index to approximately 1900 journals in sociology and related disciplines. Restricted Access.

Public Affairs Information Service 1972-
Index to books, reports, government documents, and journals dealing with political, social, and public policy issues. Restricted Access.

Worldwide Political Science Abstracts 1975-
Index to over 1,300 journals in political science, international relations, public policy and related fields. Restricted Access.


For links to many newspaper sites with online searchable archives, as well as to physical collections of newspapers see the Newspapers Research Guide.

Factiva (formerly Dow Jones Interactive)
Restricted Access.
A vast archive which includes the full-text of 8,000 leading newspapers, magazines, trade journals, newsletters, and television and radio transcripts. Ten to twenty year+ backfile for many titles. Examples of newspapers covered include:

The Boston Globe beginning 1 January 1987.
The Chicago Tribune beginning 1 January 1985
The Detroit Free Press beginning 1 January 1994
The Richmond Times-Dispatch (Va.) beginning 1 January 1989
The Washington Post beginning 1 January 1984

LexisNexis Academic
"News" section indexes and provides access to a large collection of U.S. and international newspapers, newsletters, wire service reports, transcripts of television and radio news broadcasts, and student newspapers. Includes full-text coverage of the New York Times from June 1, 1980 to the present and the Washington Post back to 1977. Restricted Access.

Ethnic NewsWatch
A full-text collection of approximately 200 newspapers, magazines, and journals of the ethnic, minority, and native press. Over 400,000 complete articles dating back to 1990, in English and Spanish. Restricted Access.

African American Newspapers
Directory by state with links to web sites if available.

[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; you would need to use LexisNexis Academic to find more recent articles. Restricted Access.

New Jersey Newspapers

Full-text access to a number of New Jersey newspapers as well as the Philadelphia Inquirer is available via NewsBank. (Rutgers-restricted Access)

Full-text access to the Newark Star-Ledger is available from 1996 to the present on NewsBank (Restricted Access) and on Factiva (Restricted Access). The Dana Library has the Newark Star-Ledger on microfilm going back to 1980; microfilm reels back to August 1, 1945 are also available from the Rutgers Alexander Library in New Brunswick.

While there is no complete printed or online index to the pre-1989 Star-Ledger, the Digital Star-Ledger Index from the New Jersey Information Center at the Newark Public Library allows for subject, name, and keyword access to the Ledger from about 1970 onward.

The New Jersey Information Center also has locally compiled Newark News Indexes, 1916-1970.

Law and Legislation

LexisNexis Academic
Includes indexes to legal periodicals and law reviews, federal and state case law, Shepard's for US Supreme Court cases, and federal and state codes and regulations. Restricted Access.

THOMAS - Legislative Information on the Internet
Browse or search legislation from the 93d (1973) Congress to the present. A slightly dated but still valuable guide to Legislative Research with Thomas has been prepared by Larry Schankmann at Mansfield University.

New Jersey Legislature Home Page
Includes searchable index to New Jersey Statutes, as well as index to and legislative histories of bills in the current session.

Sociology of Race and Ethnicity
Michael C. Kearl's (Trinity University) "webliographic" essay on race and ethnicity in the United States.


Milestones in African American Education

Steele, Claude. "Race and the Schooling a Black Americans," The Atlantic Monthly 269(4), pp. 67-78.
Essay on the factors affecting African American educational success by a prominant black psychologist.

Jones, Leon. From Brown to Boston: Desegregation in Education, 1954-1974. Metuchen, N.J., Scarecrow Press, 1979. 2 vols.
Extensive annotated bibliography of articles, books, and legal cases.
Dana Call Number: Ref. LC214.2.J65 1979

Greene, Larry A & Lenworth Gunther. The New Jersey African American History Curriculum Guide: Grades 9 to 12. Trenton, New Jersey Historical Commission, 1997.
"The first curriculum resource available to New Jersey high school teachers that weaves the strands of the American, black American, and black New Jersey pasts into a common thread." Fifteen lesson units, each one representing one chronological period of the African American experience. Also available in print at Dana Call Number: DocNJ E184.7 .G74 1997.

Act Establishing the Amistad Commission supplementing chapter 16A of Title 52 of the New Jersey Statutes
PL.2002, c.75 (A1301 1R) Approved by the New Jersey State Legislature on August 28, 2002.


Statistical Record of Black America. Compiled and Edited by Carrell Peterson Horton and Jessie Carney Smith. Detroit, Gale Research, 1900.
Compilation of statistical data, including historical series, relating to African Americans. Includes sections on attitudes, education, the family, housing, military affairs, politics, religion, etc.
Dana Call Number: Reference Desk #166K

Facts on the Black/African American Population
Links to U.S. Census Bureau tables, reports, and databases which include data on African Americans.

Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2001
The basic annual U.S. statistical compilation. You can also links to tables from the 1995-2000 editions. However the PDF file format makes for cumbersome data retrieval. A modified version of Statistical Abstract tables can also be found by searching Lexis-Nexis Statistical. Print copies of latest edition of the Statistical Abstract are available at the Alexander (DocRef), Camden, Dana, and Kilmer Reference Desks, and at REF HA 202 in the Library of Science and Medicine.

American FactFinder
Select query elements to create maps and data tables based on Census 2000.

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.

The State of Black Health in New Jersey
Denise V. Rodgers. New Jersey Public Policy Research Institute Working Paper 01-02. 2002.

Comments? Corrections?
Natalie Borisovets (
October 28, 2003