The hundred texts selected specifically for "The Church in the Southern Black Community" are primarily books, together with a few pamphlets and journal articles. To these have been added a number of slave narratives. The collection traces how Southern African Americans experienced and disenfranchisement, segregation, and bigotry. Also included are early twentieth-century assessments of black scholars on the Church's role in American history and society.
The texts for "The Church in the Southern Black Community, 1780-1925" come from the Academic Affairs Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Selection was guided by a trio of scholarly advisors: Reginald Hildebrand, Associate Professor of Afro-American Studies and History; Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Adjunct Professor of American Studies; and Donald G. Mathews, Professor of History and American Studies, all faculty at UNC-CH. The Southern Historical Collection is one of the largest collections of Southern manuscripts in the country, while the North Carolina Collection provides the most complete printed documentation of a single state anywhere. Their materials, along with printed titles on the rest of the South from the Rare Book Collection and Davis Library, offer excellent coverage of the region. An Editorial Board composed of University faculty, librarians, and UNC Press staff guides all phases of Documenting the American South, including "The Church in the Southern Black Community, 1780-1925".
"The Church in the Southern Black Community, 1780-1925" was a 1998/1999 Award Winner of The Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition. Another collection from Documenting the American South, "First-Person Narratives of the American South, 1860-1920," was a 1996/97 Award Winner of The Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition. These awards funded the digitization of a total of 200 texts. An additional seventy-six texts digitized with other funds have been incorporated into these thematic online collections. They are presented together through American Memory as "Southern Voices: Texts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill."