Collection News: February 2008
Celebrating Black History Month
The Oxford African American Studies Center combines the authority of carefully edited reference works with sophisticated technology to create the most comprehensive collection of scholarship available online to focus on the lives and events which have shaped African American and African history and culture.
This month marks the publication of the landmark African American National Biography, which is a key component of the Oxford African American Studies Center. Edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, it is the largest historical recovery project in black history ever attempted. This exciting resource offers more than 4,100 scholarly biographical sketches with accompanying bibliographies, timelines, and more.
Other sources for the Oxford African American Studies Center include:
- Africana, an encyclopedia of the African and African American experience in five volumes
- The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895
- The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present (forthcoming, 2009)
- Black Women in America, the comprehensive 2nd edition of an important biographical source
The Studies Center offers the ability to search or browse entries for persons, topics, time periods, primary source documents, maps, and charts and tables. Includes links to recommended web sources as well as teaching materials and features.
Historical materials documenting the changing nature of civil rights in Arkansas are now available free to the public through a new online collection from the University Libraries. “Land of (Unequal) Opportunity: Documenting the Civil Rights Struggle in Arkansas,” is an online resource of documents and images that trace the history of civil rights in the state. The web site contains over 2000 pages of documents, photographs, broadsides, pamphlets, drawings, cartoons, and other images.
While the project emphasizes the 1957 Little Rock Central High School integration crisis and the rights of African American Arkansans, it covers all time periods and includes civil rights issues pertaining to women, homosexuals, and the Japanese Americans held in Arkansas relocation camps during World War II. Users may browse the digital collection or search by keywords.
In addition to the documents and images, the web site offers a detailed bibliography and timeline, ten lesson plans for junior high school students, and five digital posters, all free of charge. The web site server is named for Scipio A. Jones, in honor of Arkansas’s premier black attorney.
The University Libraries offer access to several important research collections published by Alexander Street Press. Drawing together important literary, political, and cultural documents, these databases offer many avenues for exploring ideas and themes across authors, time periods, and publications.
Black Thought and Culture currently contains contains 1297 sources with 1100 authors, which includes the non-fiction published works of leading African Americans. When complete, Black Thought and Culture will provide approximately 100,000 pages of monographs, essays, articles, speeches, and interviews written by leaders within the black community from the earliest times to 1975. The collection includes the works of W.E.B. Du Bois, Carter G. Woodson, Alain Locke, Mary McLeod Bethune, Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Ralph Bunche, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Angela Davis, Houston Baker, Jesse Jackson, Ida B. Wells, Bobby Seale, and many others. Search or browse by author, title, subject, year, topic, historical event, or by keyword in full text.
Black Women Writers is a growing collection that currently offers more than 35,000 pages of poetry and prose. Including fiction, poetry, and essays from three continents and 20 countries, the database gives an unparalleled view of black women’s struggles through time. Some of the authors whose works are now available include: Rita Dove, Audre Lourde, Phyllis Wheatley, Lucille Clifton, Nikki Giovanni, Harriet Jacobs, and Sojourner Truth. New content is uploaded on a biweekly basis, giving users immediate access to a steadily growing treasury of extraordinary writings.
Black Short Fiction and Folklore from Africa and the African Diaspora is the most comprehensive collection yet created of stories from Africa and the African Diaspora. When complete, it will offer more than 8,000 short stories and folktales, ranging thematically from oral traditions that date back many hundreds of years to contemporary tales of modern life. In addition to these works, the database includes complete runs of selected literary magazines, such as Kyk-Over-Al and The Beacon. Black Short Fiction and Folklore from Africa and the African Diaspora currently features over 6,400 short stories and more than 47,000 pages.
Black Drama currently offers approximately 1200 plays by 201 playwrights, together with detailed, fielded information on related productions, theaters, production companies, and more. The database also includes selected playbills, production photographs and other ephemera related to the plays. Plays date from the mid-1800s to the present and were written by authors from North America, English-speaking Africa, the Caribbean, and other African diaspora countries. Many of the works are rare, hard-to-find, or out of print. Nearly a quarter of the collection will consist of previously unpublished plays by writers such as Langston Hughes, Ed Bullins, Willis Richardson, Femi Euba, Amiri Baraka, Randolph Edmonds, Zora Neale Hurston, and many others.
The African American Biographical Database contains biographical materials on African Americans from the 18th to the mid-20th centuries, drawn from several hundred biographical dictionaries and yearbooks. Here you will find obscure and even rare vertical file materials, church directories, slave narrative collections, and more.
Carter G. Woodson was the son of former slaves, but earned his Ph.D. degree from Harvard University in 1912—only the second black American to do so (W. E. B. DuBois was the first). This achievement was even more extraordinary since Woodson did not begin his formal education until he was 20 years old. Although his parents could neither read nor write, his father, he later wrote, insisted that "learning to accept insult, to compromise on principle, to mislead your fellow man, or to betray your people, is to lose your soul."
In 1915, Dr. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). Under Woodson’s pioneering leadership, the Association created research and publication outlets for black scholars with the establishment of the Journal of Negro History (1916) and the Negro History Bulletin (1937).
Known as the "Father of Black History," Woodson pursued a lifelong dedication to the philosophy that blacks should know, understand, and appreciate their past in order to participate intelligently in and become productive citizens of American society. Woodson authored numerous scholarly books and magazine articles on the positive contributions of blacks to the development of America.
In 1926, Dr. Woodson initiated the celebration of Negro History Week, which corresponded with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, this celebration was expanded to include the entire month of February as Black History Month.
In 1974 the National Council for the Social Studies established the Carter G. Woodson Book Awards for the “outstanding social studies books for young readers that treat topics related to ethnic minorities and race relations sensitively and accurately."
Read books by and about Carter G. Woodson @ the University of Arkansas Libraries
Carter G. Woodson
- The Education of the Negro Prior to 1861, 1919. LC2741 .W7.
- The Mis-education of the Negro, 1933. LC2801 .W6 1990.
- The History of the Negro Church, 1972. BR563.N4 W6 1972.
- A Century of Negro Migration, 1918. E185.9 .W89 1969.
- The Negro Professional Man and the Community, With Special Emphasis on the Physician and the Lawyer, 1934. E185.82 .W88.
- The Rural Negro, 1930. E185.86 .W896.
- Negro Orators and Their Orations, 1925. PS663.N4 W6.
- Free Negro Owners of Slaves in the United States in 1830, Together With Absentee Ownership of Slaves in the United States in 1830, E185 .W8873.
Carter G. Woodson & Lorenzo J. Greene
Carter G. Woodson & Charles H. Wesley
Carter G. Woodson, J. H. Harmon, Jr., & Arnett G. Lindsay
Pero Gaglo Dagbovie
Jim Haskins & Kathleen Benson
Lorenzo J. Greene
M. Anthony Scally
“If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.”
You can also read many of Woodson's works online in the Black Thought and Culture database.
If you navigate to the Libraries' list of recommended databases for African American Studies, you will find not only subscription databases such as those mentioned above but also many web resources that are freely available to all.