Walker Library

Microtext Subject Guide: African American History

Black Abolitionist Papers, 1830-1865 MFE 1153
In this collection of primary sources the anti-slavery movement that precipitated the Civil War may be seen through the eyes of black abolitionists. The collection encompasses approximately 15,000 articles and documents of almost 300 black abolitionists in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, France and Germany. Collection also includes articles, essays and editorials from some 200 African-American abolitionist and reform newspapers; correspondence of key African leaders; receipts, poems, and other miscellaneous documents. The guide provides indexes by author, recipient of letters, and formal titles.

  • Format: Microfilm - 17 reels
  • Access: Printed Black Abolitionist Papers, 1830-1865: A Guide to the Microfilm Edition, 1981, edited by George E. Carter and C. Peter Ripley, in MFM Guides

  • Black Culture; A Core Collection of the African-American Experience MFM 1178
    A collection of approximately 6,000 titles including books, pamphlets, speeches, photographs, dissertations and other valuable papers documenting the past three centuries of the black experience in America and Europe. Material was selected from the extensive collection at Atlanta University's Trevor-Arnett Library.

  • Format: Microfilm - 417 reels
  • Access: Printed Black Culture Collection in MFM Guides gives contents guide and book catalog

  • Black Newspaper Collection MFM 1155
    Collection contains most of America's foremost black newspapers, covering 15 states, beginning in 1896 and updated each year with current issues. Editorial viewpoints range from the conservative to the near-radical and represent some of the most respected voices in African-American journalism. Newspapers included in the core collection are Amsterdam News (New York, NY), Atlanta World (GA), Baltimore AfroAmerican (MD), Call & Post (Cleveland, OH), Journal & Guide (Norfolk, VA), Los Angeles Sentinel (CA), Michigan Chronicle (Detroit, MI), Muslin Journal (Chicago, IL), St. Louis Argus (MO). Beginning in 1975 the newspapers in the core collection have been indexed. Additional titles included are Birmingham World (AL), Forward Times (Houston, TX), Louisville Defender (KY), New Crusader (Chicago, IL), Philadelphia Tribune (PA), Gary Crusader (IN), Indiana Herald (IN), Kansas City Call (MO), Milwaukee Courier (WI), and Post Tribune (Dallas, TX).

  • Format: Microfilm - approximately 1,140 reels to date
  • Access: Printed index for core collection beginning with 1975 in MFM guides

  • Black Workers in the Era of the Great Migration, 1916-1929 MFM 1042
    During World War I one-half million black Americans left the South and streamed into northern industrial centers as the war economy, cessation of foreign immigration, and the mobilization of the armed forces created new job opportunities for workers in industry. Known as the "Great Migration", this exodus continued and doubled in volume during the next decade. This collection of documents focuses on migration and labor and the impact on black America during the first decade of this Great Migration. Federal agencies generated a multitude of surveys, reports, and case files. Those with explicit mention of black workers and their living and working conditions are included here. Part of "Black Studies Research Sources" series.

  • Format: Microfilm - 25 reels
  • Access: Printed Black Workers in the Era of the Great Migration, 1985, in MFM Guides. Indexes included on microfilm at various places (see reel index).

  • Claude A. Barnett Papers MFM 1041
    Claude Barnett (1889-1967), ranked by Ebony magazine as among the one hundred most influential black Americans, founded the Associated Negro Press (ANP) in 1919 and remained its director through nearly half a century of social change. By providing its member newspapers with coverage of activities within black communities across the country and current national trends and events, the ANP helped create a national black culture and increased black awareness of national news. Todd Library has Part 3 - Subject Files on Black Americans, 1918-1967 which includes topical files containing stories clipped from ANP releases. The topical files are divided into the following series: agriculture; colleges and universities; economic conditions; entertainers, artists, and authors; medicine; military; philanthropic and social organizations; politics and law; race relations; religion; and Claude A. Barnett personal files. Microfilmed from holdings of the Chicago Historical Society.

  • Format: Microfilm - 91 reels
  • Access: Printed The Claude A. Barnett Papers: The Associated Negro Press, 1918-1967: Part Three, Subject Files on Black Americans, 1918-1967 in MFM Guides

  • Commission on Interracial Cooperation, 1919-1944 MFM 1280
    The Commission on Interracial Cooperation (CIC) was formed in response to the race riots that followed World War I, and included a moderate coalition of blacks and whites. This collection includes correspondence, minutes of CIC meetings, pamphlets and reports, and CIC educational material.

  • Format: Microfilm
  • Access: Printed The Commission on Interracial Cooperation Papers, 1919-1944 and The Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching Papers, 1930-1942: A Guide to the Microfilm Editions, in the MFM guides.

  • Congress of Racial Equality Papers: Addendum, 1944-1968 MFM 1288

  • Format: Microfilm - 25 reels
  • Access: Printed The Papers of the Congress of Racial Equality: Addendum, 1944-1968: A Guide to the Microfilm Edition, in the MFM guides.

  • East St. Louis Race Riot of 1917 MFM 1040
    World War I and the immediate postwar era were marked by a number of bloody racial confrontations. One of the most important and the one with the highest death toll occurred at East St. Louis, Illinois, on July 2, 1917. Because of the volume and nature of the surviving evidence, it is also the race riot which is most accessible to historians for scholarly investigation. Because the riot resulted in the virtual suspension of commerce between Illinois and Missouri for up to ten days, the U.S. Congressional committee that conducted the investigation was called the House Select Committee to Investigate Conditions in Illinois and Missouri Interfering with Interstate Commerce between These States. The transcripts of the hearings and related records reproduced in this collection are at the National Archives. Also included is the transcript of the criminal conspiracy trial of Dr. LeRoy Bundy, the principal leader of the East St. Louis black community who was charged with inciting the riot.

  • Format: Microfilm - 8 reels
  • Access: Printed The East St. Louis Race Riot of 1917, 1985, in MFM Guides. Indexes included on microfilm at beginning of most volumes.

  • Exploration and Colonization of Africa (1794-1844) MFM 496
    Letters, treaties, narratives, travel accounts, and journals concerning French and British colonization activities, explorations of the interior of Africa, missions to the Barbary States, and the expeditions to the Niger to abolish slave trade (1839-1841 and 1841-1843) are in this collection.

  • Format: Microfilm - 14 reels
  • Access: Printed Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the Exploration and Colonization of Africa (1794-1844) in MFM Guides and handwritten indexes at the ends of microfilm reels 13 and 14.

  • FBI File on the Highlander Folk School MFM 1296
    Myles Horton established the Highlander Folk School in 1932 in Monteagle, Tennessee. Unions sent potential leaders to the school to learn about collective bargaining, contract negotiation, and strike organization. The school became racially integrated in the 1940s, a development which met with sharp criticism from conservative whites. This collection includes bureau memorandums, teletypes and letters, as well as newspaper clippings.

  • Format: Microfilm
  • Access: Printed Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the FBI File on the Highlander Folk School, in the MFM guides.

  • Federal Surveillance of Afro-Americans (1917-1925) MFM 1163
    During the First World War and the subsequent Red Scare years the Justice Department and its Bureau of Investigation, the intelligence branches of the Army and Navy, the State and Post Office Departments, and other federal agencies engaged in widespread investigation of anyone deemed politically suspect. Black Americans were special targets because they were perceived by some as particularly receptive to the radical ideas. This collection of records provides a vast treasure of source materials documenting the major social movements and key figures in early 20th century black history, tracing the development of America's first domestic surveillance apparatus, and illuminating the conflict between the needs for a country to protect basic individual freedoms and to protect itself from threats to its security and existence. For more information on surveillance of radicals during this period, see MFM 1175, U.S. Military Intelligence Reports: Surveillance of Radicals in the United States, 1917-1941. (Item # 128)

  • Format: Microfilm - 25 reels
  • Access: Printed Federal Surveillance of Afro-Americans (1917-1925): The First World War, the Red Scare, and the Garvey Movement, 1986, ed. by Theodore Kornweibel, Jr. in MFM Guides

  • General Education Board: The Early Southern Program MFM 1282 Key source materials on the history of African-American education in the twentieth century.


    Martin Luther King, Jr., FBI File MFM 1176
    The 17,000 page file on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. compiled by headquarters officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, details the heavy surveillance that was directed against America's foremost civil rights leader throughout the 1960's. Through these declassified FBI documents researchers may follow the development of King's career and civil rights activities. Part I (without a special title) (16 reels) consists of hundreds of FBI memos, reports, and summaries of King's activities as well as his conversations with associates. Because the fruits of wiretaps placed by the FBI on King's own home, office, and hotel rooms are under court order that will keep them sealed at the National Archives until 2027, no verbatim transcripts of these wiretaps can be made public. However, Part II, "The King-Levison File", originates from wiretaps placed on the phones of Stanley Levison, a New York lawyer and businessman and King's trusted confidant with whom he spoke on an almost daily basis for more than six years. The transcripts and summaries in this section shed light not only on King's many civil rights activities and his involvement in related causes, but on his personal feelings toward and reactions to the events of the last six years of his life. Note should be taken of the "Correlation Summaries" which are lengthy inventories listing every FBI file reference to a specific individual, such as Dr. King, not contained in the main file on that person. Also, Reel 16 of Part I is a file of newspaper clippings, wire service stories, and other public source materials concerning King that FBI headquarters collected. This subfile provides an extensive sample of nationwide press coverage of King without having to search through scores of individual newspapers. Part of "Black Studies Research Sources" series.

  • Format: Microfilm - Part I - 16 reels; Part II - 9 reels
  • Access: Printed The Martin Luther King Jr., FBI File, 1984, and ... Part II: The King-Levison File, 1987, in MFM Guides

  • Negro Periodicals in the United States, 1840-1960 MFE 117 & MFM 1213-5
    A project devoted to the history of social change and to preserving the literature, science, music, art, religion, facts, fiction, and traditions of the Negro Race. Reproduces approximately thirty periodical titles.

  • Format: Microfiche and microfilm
  • Access: Printed index to Colored American Magazine in Ref 051 R72a. Printed index to Voice of the Negro in Microfiche Guides 117E. Periodical titles listed in on-line catalog (Series entry)

  • New Deal Agencies and Black America MFM 1165
    This collection contains the major portion of National Archives materials which relate to the New Deal-black experience between 1933 and 1940, with a few instances of records extending to 1943. Materials come from the files of the Office of Education, National Youth Administration, Department of Interior, Civilian Conservation Corps, U.S. Employment Service of the Department of Labor, Office of the Secretary of the Department of Labor, National Recovery Administration, Department of Commerce, and Works Progress Administration. Part of "Black Studies Research Sources" series.

  • Format: Microfilm - 25 reels
  • Access: Printed New Deal Agencies and Black America, 1984, ed. by John B. Kirby, in MFM Guides

  • Papers of George Washington Carver, 1864-1943 MFM 1148 George Washington Carver did much in his lifetime to promote racial harmony and black achievement in American life. This historical archive traces the remarkable career of this slave-become-scientist and is the most complete collection of Carver's public and private papers available to libraries. Collection includes memorabilia, correspondence to and from Carver, Carver's writings, writings about Carver, and miscellaneous materials relating to Carver's life and work.

  • Format: Microfilm - 67 reels
  • Access: Print Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the Papers of George Washington Carver at Tuskegee Institute, edited by John W. Kitchens and Lynee B. Kitchens in MFM guides.

  • Papers of W. E. B. DuBois, 1877-1965 MFM 1149
    William Edward Burghardt DuBois (1868-1963) was one of the earliest and most influential spokesmen for African-American liberation, and he pioneered many of the strategies and programs of the American civil rights movement. DuBois was a historian and a prolific author with 21 books to his credit, the most famous of which is The Soul of Black Folk (1903). As an internationally known author and activist, DuBois corresponded with some of the most important figures of his time, including Sherwood Anderson, Andrew Carnegie, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Jr., Margaret Mead, Booker T. Washington, and Roy Wilkins. Collection documents the changes in DuBois's political and social philosophy over the years as he shifted more and more toward radicalism and eventually at the age of 93 joined the Communist Party of America.

  • Format: Microfilm - 89 reels
  • Access: Printed The Papers of W.E.B. DuBois, 1877-1965: A Guide to the Microfilm Edition by Robert W. McDonnell in MFM guides

  • Peonage Files of the U.S. Department of Justice, 1901-1945 MFM 1164 A federal statute of 1867 outlawed peonage, but it was not enforced until 1898. Peonage is a form of labor control that relies on debt to compel a worker. This microfilm publication, primarily from records in the National Archives, is rich in legal, social, and labor history. It contains fresh material on federal prosecutions under the peonage statute; it illuminates the uses of power, especially of local law enforcement officials who often sided with employers to compel workers to pay off their debts or remain at work; and it demonstrates the aggressive although often futile attempts of the Justice Department and Supreme Court to stop the practice. While most complaints involved black rural workers, at times immigrants, coal miners, and others from among the poor and ill-educated fell victim to peonage. Part of the "Black Studies Research Sources" series.

  • Format: Microfilm - 26 reels
  • Access: Printed Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the Peonage Files of the U.S. Department of Justice, 1901-1945, 1989, ed. by Pete Daniel, in MFM Guides

  • Race, Slavery, and Free Blacks. Series II, Petitions to Southern County Courts, 1775-1867 (MFM 1383)
    Reproduces a collection of approx. 15,000 petitions assembled by the Race and Slavery Petitions Project, University of North Carolina at Greensboro from selected state archives.

  • Format: Microfilm
  • Access: Printed A Guide to the Microfilm Edition of Race, Slavery, and Free Blacks. Series II, Petitions to Southern County Courts, 1775-1867, in MFM Guides

    Records of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, 1895-1992 (MFM 1274)
    This collection includes the NACW convention minutes from 1895-1992 and the President's Office Files, 1958-1968. Press coverage of NACW activities from 1899-1939 is also included.

  • Format: Microfilm
  • Access: Printed A Guide to the Microfilm Edition of Records of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, 1895-1992, in the MFM guides.

  • Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior Relating to the Suppression of the African Slave Trade and Negro Colonization, 1854-1872 MFM 488
    These records include letters relating to slave trade, to the case of the Slave Bark Augusta, to the claims of Lucius Peyton, to James Mitchell (Emigrant Agent), to the colonization project at Haiti, to John Seys, and to the affairs of the American Colonization Society.

  • Format: Microfilm - 10 reels
  • Access: Roll list in Microfilm guides

  • Slavery in Ante-Bellum Southern Industries MFM 1251
    This collection of source materials on slave life includes correspondence, business records, financial and legal papers, slave task books, and some manuscripts. The use of hired slaves for industrial labor is covered in detail. Although only approximately 5% of the South's slave population was engaged in industrial work in the two decades prior to the Civil War, valuable primary documentary evidence survives here because of the kinds of records kept by industrial enterprises and the survival of those records in this collection at Duke University Library. The extraordinary value of the collection derives from the insight the materials provide into the daily life of the slaves. Information concerning food, clothing, and housing of slaves as well as the use of resources and priorities can be found here.

  • Format: Microfilm - 28 reels
  • Access: Printed Slavery in Ante-Bellum Southern Industries in MFM Guides Additional Subject: Labor

  • Slavery and Anti-slavery Pamphlets from the Libraries of Salmon Chase and John Hale (MFM 1288)
    Collection includes "166 pamphlets, speeches, reports, legal opinions, and convention proceedings, most printed in the 1840s and 1850s ..."

  • Format: Microfilm - 5 reels
  • Access: Slavery and Anti-Slavery Pamphlets: An Index to the Microfilm Edition, in the MFM guides.

  • Slavery Source Materials MCD 1507
    Reproductions of 441 books and pamphlets "written before the Civil War by and about the Negro and about slavery and anti-slavery." Among the topics covered are the abolition movement, conditions of slaves, the Fugitive Slave Law, the slave trade, history of slavery, travels through the slave states, anti-slavery tracts, and religious views on slavery. Arranged alphabetically, one list by author and separate list by title when no author is given.

  • Format: Microcard
  • Access: Printed list arranged same as collection in box in MFE Guides