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The African-American Experience
in Ohio, 1850-1920
A selection of manuscript and printed text and images drawn from the collections of the Ohio Historical Society illuminates the history of black Ohio from 1850 to 1920, a story of slavery and freedom, segregation and integration, religion and politics, migrations and restrictions, harmony and discord, and struggles and successes.
African American Odyssey: A Quest
for Full Citizenship
An online presentation of a Library of Congress exhibition showcases the Library's incomparable African-American collections. The exhibition details strategies used to secure the vote, recognizes outstanding black leaders, and documents the contributions of black sports figures, soldiers, artists, actors, writers, and others in the fight against segregation and discrimination.
African American Perspectives: Pamphlets
from the Daniel A. P. Murray Collection, 1818-1907
This collection presents a panoramic and eclectic review of African-American history and culture, spanning almost one hundred years. Among the authors represented are Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and Ida B. Wells-Barnett. The illustrated presentations "The Progress of a People" and the "Time Line of African-American History" provide historical contexts for and additional information about the Murray Pamphlet Collection.
Music, 1850-1920: Selected from the Collections of Brown University
This collection of sheet music reflects the African-American experience from 1850 through 1920. The collection includes works by African-American popular composers and many songs from the abolitionist movement of the 1850s and from the heyday of antebellum blackface minstrelsy in the same period, as well as works reflecting the challenges of Reconstruction, urbanization, and the black migration to the North.
An American Time Capsule: Three
Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera
The Printed Ephemera Collection at the Library of Congress is a rich repository of Americana. In total, the collection comprises 28,000 primary-source items dating from the seventeenth century to the present and encompasses key events and eras in American history. This preview of the digitized Printed Ephemera Collection presents fifty items from fourteen American states, the District of Columbia, and London, England. Among them is a variety of posters, notices, advertisements, proclamations, leaflets, propaganda, manifestos, and business cards. They capture the experience of the American Revolution, slavery, the western land rush, the American Civil War, woman suffrage, and the Industrial Revolution from the viewpoint of those who lived through those events.
Born in Slavery:
Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938
Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938 contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves. These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and assembled and microfilmed in 1941 as the seventeen-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves.
in the Southern Black Community, 1780-1925
This compilation of printed texts from the libraries at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill traces how Southern African Americans experienced and transformed Protestant Christianity into the central institution of community life. Coverage begins with white churches' conversion efforts, especially in the post-Revolutionary period, and depicts the tensions and contradictions between the egalitarian potential of evangelical Christianity and the realities of slavery. It focuses, through slave narratives and observations by other African American authors, on how the black community adapted evangelical Christianity, making it a metaphor for freedom, community, and personal survival.
of the American South, 1860-1920
A compilation of printed texts from the libraries at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill documents the culture of the nineteenth-century American South from the viewpoint of Southerners. It includes the diaries, autobiographies, memoirs, travel accounts, and ex-slave narratives of both prominent individuals and members of relatively undocumented populations: women, African Americans, enlisted men, laborers, and Native Americans.
Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress
The Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress presents the papers of the nineteenth-century African-American abolitionist who escaped from slavery and then risked his own freedom by becoming an outspoken antislavery lecturer, writer, and publisher. The first release of the Douglass Papers, from the Library of Congress's Manuscript Division, contains approximately 2,000 items (16,000 images) relating to Douglass's life as an escaped slave, abolitionist, editor, orator, and public servant. The papers span the years 1841 to 1964, with the bulk of the material from 1862 to 1895. The printed Speech, Article, and Book Series contains the writings of Douglass and such contemporaries in the abolitionist and early women's rights movements as Henry Ward Beecher, Ida B. Wells, Gerrit Smith, Horace Greeley, and others. The Subject File Series reveals Douglass's interest in diverse subjects such as politics, emancipation, racial prejudice, women's suffrage, and prison reform. Scrapbooks document Douglass's role as minister to Haiti and the controversy surrounding his interracial second marriage.
Historic American Sheet
This collection contains more than 3,000 pieces of American sheet music from Duke University. The variety of music provides a window into American history and culture. The collection is strong in antebellum Southern music and Confederate and Civil War songs. It also includes minstrel songs, patriotic and political songs, spirituals, dance music, marches, and songs from vaudeville, "Tin Pan Alley," and World War I. Sheet music cover illustrations convey the political, patriotic, racial, and religious views held at the time the music was composed.
Maps of Liberia: Maps from
the American Colonization Society Collection, 1830-1870
This collection of maps of Liberia includes twenty examples from the American Colonization Society, organized in 1817 to resettle free black Americans in West Africa. These maps show early settlements in Liberia, indigenous political subdivisions, and some of the building lots that were assigned to settlers. Also included is a timeline charting the history of the country.
Slaves and the
Slaves and the Courts, 1740-1860 contains just over a hundred pamphlets and books (published between 1772 and 1889) concerning the difficult and troubling experiences of African and African-American slaves in the American colonies and the United States. The documents, most from the Law Library and the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress, comprise an assortment of trials and cases, reports, arguments, accounts, examinations of cases and decisions, proceedings, journals, a letter, and other works of historical importance. Of the cases presented here, most took place in America and a few in Great Britain. Among the voices heard are those of some of the defendants and plaintiffs themselves as well as those of abolitionists, presidents, politicians, slave owners, fugitive and free territory slaves, lawyers and judges, and justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. Significant names include John Quincy Adams, Roger B. Taney, John C. Calhoun, Salmon P. Chase, Dred Scott, William H. Seward, Prudence Crandall, Theodore Parker, Jonathan Walker, Daniel Drayton, Castner Hanway, Francis Scott Key, William L. Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Denmark Vesey, and John Brown.
"We'll Sing to Abe Our Song!":
Sheet Music about Lincoln, Emancipation, and the Civil War from the Alfred
Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana
More than two hundred sheet-music compositions that represent Lincoln and the war as reflected in popular music form this collection. The collection spans the years from Lincoln's presidential campaign in 1859 through the centenary of his birth in 1909. This music was compiled by Alfred Whital Stern (1881-1960), who is considered the greatest private collector of materials relating to the life and times of Abraham Lincoln.
Additional Resources in the Library of Congress
African-American History and Culture
The Library of Congress Manuscript Division has one of the nation's most valuable collections for the study of African-American history and culture. This online presentation offers an illustrated introduction to the Division's holdings, which include slave narratives, the manuscripts of abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Salmon P. Chase, the records of the American Colonization Society, papers relating to black participation and victimization in the Civil War, and the organizational records of the NAACP.
The African-American Mosaic
This exhibition marks the publication of The African-American Mosaic: A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture. A sampler of the materials and themes covered by the publication and the Library's collections, the African-American Mosaic exhibition focuses on colonization, abolition, migration, and the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
Images of African-American Slavery and Freedom from the Collections of the Library of Congress
These images were selected to meet requests regularly received by the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. This list represents a modified form of a printed "illustrated list" made available for many years by the Division.
Related External Web Sites
Women, On-line Archival Collections, Special Collections Library,
Online archival collections features scanned pages and texts of the writings of African-American women. Includes the memoirs of Elizabeth Johnson Harris (1867-1942); an 1857 letter from Vilet Lester, a slave on a North Carolina plantation, and several letters from Hannah Valentine and Lethe Jackson, slaves on the estate of David Campbell, a governor of Virginia.
Documenting the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
This collection provides access to digitized primary materials that offer Southern perspectives on American history and culture. It supplies teachers, students, and researchers at every educational level with a wide array of titles that they can use for reference, study, teaching, and research.
Jackson Davis Collection of African American Educational Photographs,
The University of Virginia
Jackson Davis, an educational reformer and amateur photographer, took nearly 6,000 photographs of African-American schools, teachers, and students throughout the Southeastern United States. His photographs--most intended to demonstrate the wretched conditions of African-American schools in the South and to show how they could be improved--provide a unique view of southern education during the first half of the twentieth century. The collection consists of papers and photographs.
Schomburg Center for Research
in Black Culture, The New York Public Library
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is a research unit of The New York Public Library. A national research library, it is devoted to collecting, preserving and providing access to resources documenting the experiences of peoples of African descent throughout the world, with emphasis on blacks in the Western Hemisphere.
Smithsonian: African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution