African American
History & Heritage Site

*** Do You Shop at ***
Please support this site by using this link!

Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks!
Search African American when you arrive

It's AMERICAN History & Heritage!

Main Menu

Copyright 2002 Gerri Gribi ||| Email ||| Updated 08/07/15
Please acknowledge

Recommended by NEA Today
School Library Journal's Site of the Week
Kathy Schrock's "SOS Web Site of the Week"
Johnson Subvention Award, Society for American Music

||| Books ||| Educational Video ||| TV on DVD ||| Composers ||| Women ||| Higher Education ||| "Lift Every Voice"||| Travel

Teacher Toolkit Grades K-12
Contents ||| Reference Online ||| Reference Offline ||| FAQ ||| Professional Development ||| Elementary ||| History ||| Language Arts ||| Music ||| Math & Science ||| Visual Arts ||| Museums & Historic Sites ||| Link Policy ||| About the Author

***African American Posters at ***

*** 2017 African American Calendars! ***

Reference Online

1. Biographies & Databases: Searchable databases (good for when you know a name) and small collections (good for when you need to learn names.) Includes a tutorial for finding biographies and images on the web.

2. Documents & Images: Online collections of digitized photos, slave narratives, manuscripts, pamphlets, sheet music, newspapers, etc.

3. Timelines and Calendars: African American chronologies, and "what happened on this day in 1954?"

4. Texts and Speeches: Includes texts of speeches and audio files, and a tutorial for finding them on the web.

5. African American Museums

Biographies & Databases

Tutorial: Finding African American Biographies, Images and Artwork on the Web:


Into the Search Box enter: +biography +"person's name" (the quotes are important here)
Example: +biography +"Maya Angelou"

Google Image Search

Enter the name "in quotes", for example, "Aaron Douglas" On January 24, 2002, the search returned 12 thumbnail images: 11 paintings by Douglas, and one portrait of him. Click on the thumbnail to view the full-size image, or to view the source page in full image. (Alta Vista is an automated Search Engine, so it might return some unrelated material even if you use quotes. Be prepared to sift.)


A comprehensive index of every artist represented in online museum sites. A search by artist name yields a page with a one-sentence description (ethnicity, genre and birth-death dates) and links to images of their art and articles online. It is also cross-indexed: Aaron Douglas links to other Harlem Renaissance artists. Unlike Alta Vista, this directory is compiled by humans. You will not find as many images with your search, but you won't receive unrelated material.

African American Biographical Database

"From the famous to the everyday person, AABD includes profiles and full-text sketches providing both biographical detail and illuminating narratives chronicling the lives of Black Americans."
Available only to subscribers. (Wisconsin residents can access this database from home through Badgerlink. Check with your librarian to see if you have similar access.)

Lengthy illustrated biographies of sixty historical and contemporary African Americans. Some entries include lesson plans and classroom ideas, plus links to videos produced for the Biography Channel.

Black History Month Biographies (Gale Group)

Sixty lengthy biographies of important African Americans, primarily 20th Century but several 19th Century as well. Includes sources and additional information.

Du Bois Central

Special collections, essays, photos and all manner of resources on the life and legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica Guide to Black History

"The Encyclopædia Britannica Guide to Black History features 600 informative articles and is beautifully illustrated with historical film clips and audio recordings, as well as hundreds of photographs and other images. The Related Internet Links and Bibliography sections provide excellent source material and areas for further study, as does the Study Guide for Students, which is organized around six classroom activities, each with their own teacher recommendations, technical tips, and scholastic bibliographies."

Facts on the Black Population in the United States: U.S. Census Bureau

Social and economic charactorisitics, based upon the 2000 Census.

Unknown No Longer - A Database of Virginia Slave Names

This free database is the latest step by the Virginia Historical Society to increase access to its varied collections relating to Virginians of African descent.


African American Pioneers

Thirty-seven brief (one-paragraph) biographies, some with pictures, mostly historical figures.

African American Profiles

Twenty-five brief biographies, some with pictures, historic figures.

Biographies: African American Women Writers of the 19th Century
Digital Schomburg Collection

Biographies of 37 writers. This site also contains texts.

The Faces of Science: African Americans

Nearly 100 historical and contemporary figures. Indexed alphabetically by name, by field and by profession. Includes a profile of black women scientists, and a section on First Science Ph.D.s awarded to African Americans. Includes references for the sources. Despite the title not all entries include a "face", but many do.

Prominent African Americans

This site provides pictures and one-sentence descriptions of nearly 60 figures, mostly contemporary or political (eg. members of Congress.) Clicking on the person's name links you to more information at a different site.

Altman, Susan. Encyclopedia of African American Heritage, 1st Edition. New York: Facts on File, 2001. Middle School and up. Read more at

An affordable book packed with accessible information. It is also available online at (Check with your librarian to see if you have access.)

Back to Top of Reference Online

Documents & Images

American Memory Collection, Library of Congress

"American Memory is a gateway to rich primary source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States. The site offers more than 7 million digital items from more than 100 historical collections."

Learning Page
Lesson plans and resources that help you teach (or learn) using the primary sources and digitized documents.

Collection Finder
There are currently six collections specifically devoted to African Americans. Keyword search of all collections will yield individual items in other collections. New! Slaves and the Courts.

Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938

A joint presentation of the Manuscript and Prints and Photographs Divisions of the Library of Congress. More than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery comprising over 9,500 page images with searcheable text, bibliographic records and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves. The photographs of former slaves are linked to their narratives. Extensive introductory essay includes information about the interviewers, the people interviewed, and the processes of collection and compilation, and fascinating stories.

The Federal Writers' Project (FWP) originally made no plans for collecting slave autobiographies and reminiscences. Interviews with former slaves were undertaken spontaneously after the inception of the FWP and were included among the activities of several Southern Writers' Projects for almost a year before these isolated efforts were transformed into a concerted regional project, coordinated by the national headquarters of the FWP in Washington, D.C. On April 1, 1937, the collection of slave narratives formally began with the dispatch of instructions to all Southern and border states directing their Writers' Project workers to the task of interviewing former slaves. Today, the Slave Narrative Collection provides a unique and virtually unsurpassed collective portrait of a historical population.

African American Mosaic

This exhibit marks the publication of The African-American Mosaic: A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture. It's designed to provide a sampling of the vast wealth of resources about African American history to be found in the LOC's collections. The online exhibit covers Colonization, Abolition, Migrations, and the WPA.

Freedom's Journal

Published weekly in New York City from 1827 to 1829, Freedom's Journal was the first African-American owned and operated newspaper published in the United States. All 103 issues of the Freedom's Journal have been digitized and are available in Adobe Acrobat format.

Black Archives of Mid America

With currently more than 600 photographs, letters, and documents, "this project will eventually digitize the largest depository of artifacts documenting the African American experience in the four-state area of Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Oklahoma."

Images of African American from the 19th Century

Visit The New York Public Library's Schomburg Center online for a selection of visual resources.

New! The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities

"The 1,280 images in this collection have been selected from a wide range of sources, most of them dating from the period of slavery. This collection is envisioned as a tool and a resource that can be used by teachers, researchers, students, and the general public - in brief, anyone interested in the experiences of Africans who were enslaved and transported to the Americas and the lives of their descendants in the slave societies of the New World."

Back to Top of Reference Online

Timelines and Calendars

African American Registry

"A gathering of year-round daily narratives. Presented are individual accounts that have shaped American society through the arts, business, education, entertainment, literature, military, politics, religion, sports and more." Database can be searched by date, category or keyword.

Black History Month Timeline (Gale Group)

One-sentence descriptions of events in African American History from 1619 to present.

African American World Timeline: PBS

This informative timeline links you to articles, video programs, sound clips and other information from various PBS and NPR programs.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Begins 1000 B.C. Brief notations, to accompany the online exhibit, African Presence in the Americas, 1492-1992.

Black Facts Online

This database compiles "interesting and inspiring" facts about people and events, searchable by keyword or by date. You can, for example, type in your birthday and find out what happened in history on that day. This is a community effort, and they are always seeking research assistance...which might make this a good project for advanced students.

Back to Top of Reference Online


Texts and Speeches Online

Tutorial: Finding texts or speeches online

Using a search engine like Google, enter the full title of the speech or a passage "in quotes". (I use Google because it ranks the sites according to how many other high quality sites link to them.) If you don't know a title or passage, try this: +"Malcolm X" +speech

Literature and Life: The Givens Collection, PBS Online

Explore the rich variety of African-American literature in these five chapters, beginning with the poetry and slave narratives of the late 18th century and culminating in the work of vital contemporary artists. Includes texts, online study guide and other resources.

Writing Black: Texts & Resources on the Web

Thirty-five historical and contemporary authors represented, with links to texts and interviews online

Selected Women Writers of the Harlem Renaissance

A resource guide to selected women writers of the Harlem Renaissance. An online discussion group about the Harlem Renaissance.

African American World: PBS

This site links you to the best of African American related programming on PBS and NPR. Hear interviews with Quincy Jones, Jesse Jackson and others.

African American Women Writers of the 19th Century
Digital Schomburg Collection

"[...] a digital collection of some 52 published works by 19th-century black women writers. A part of the Digital Schomburg, this collection provides access to the thought, perspectives and creative abilities of black women as captured in books and pamphlets published prior to 1920. A full text database of these 19th and early 20th- century titles, this digital library is key-word-searchable. Each individual title as well as the entire database can be searched to determine what these women had to say about "family", "religion", "slavery" or any other subject of interest to the researcher or casual reader."

The History Channel Speeches Archive

I can't create direct links. Use the SEARCH to find these speeches, among many others:

Hank Aaron, baseball player, Addresses Congress
Orval E. Faubus, governor of Arkansas, On his use of the National Guard to prevent integration
Anita Hill, law professor, Accuses Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment
Harold L. Ickes, U.S. secretary of the interior; Marian Anderson, American opera singer, Anderson performs at the Lincoln Memorial
Jesse Jackson, presidential candidate, Addresses the Democratic National Convention
Barbara Jordan, U.S. representative of Texas, Delivers keynote address to Democratic National Convention
Martin Luther King, Jr., African-American civil rights leader , Addresses the March on Washington
Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court nominee, Defends himself against charges of sexual harassment
Malcolm X, African-American nationalist, Discusses challenges to African-American society
Andrew Young, U.S. politician and civil rights leader, Speaks during confirmation hearings to U.N. post

Back to Top of Reference Online

African American Museums

Association of African American Museums

Includes a searchable database of member museums, virtual tours, events calendar and more.

Annotated, frequently updated guide with links to over 550 museums, cultural centers, downloadable self-guided tours and brochures for over 300 North American cities.

Back to Top of Reference Online