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Primary Sources: Home

How to read and evaluate primary sources

Famous Speeches and Audio

Go to the History Channel for over 500 famous speeches & Audio

Christmas Eve Broadcast to Earth

Citing Primary Sources

Today in History

What are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are original records created at the time historical events occurred or well after events in the form of memoirs and oral histories.

Primary sources may include letters, manuscripts, diaries, journals, newspapers, speeches, interviews, memoirs, documents produced by government agencies such as Congress or the Office of the President, photographs, audio recordings, moving pictures or video recordings, research data, and objects or artifacts such as works of art or ancient roads, buildings, tools, and weapons.

These sources serve as the raw material to interpret the past, and when they are used along with previous interpretations by historians, they provide the resources necessary for historical research.

 From: Using Primary Sources on the Web from the Reference and User Services Association, ALA

Primary Sources for African American History Month

2014 Theme: Civil Rights in America

Civil Rights Exhibitions and Presenations

African American Odyssey

Docs Teach

Photograph of the Civil Rights March on Washington                    

Additional Details on this Document from our Online Exhibit the Digital Vaults:

Marchers in DC

This photograph shows participants at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, on August 28, 1963. The event brought hundreds of thousands of marchers to the National Mall in Washington, DC, to support civil rights for African Americans.

Primary vs Secondary Sources

Daily Life, Primary Documents

Rag to Riches Game

Open Vault

Welcome to Open Vault, the home of WGBH Media Library and Archives (MLA). We provide online access to unique and historically important content produced by the public television and radio station WGBH. Since launching in 2007, the ever-expanding site contains video, audio, images, searchable transcripts, and resource management tools, all of which are available for individual and classroom learning.

Powerpoint on Primary, Secondary and Tertiary sources