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African American Digital Archives

The purpose of this guide is to recommend electronic digital collections for researching African American history.

African American Film Marerials

The African American Film Materials digital collection provides a sample of photographs and pressbooks from films featuring African American actors. The collection is from Southern Methodist University's DeGolyer Library, and includes 4,254 film stills, lobby books, pressbooks, posters, and related items from motion pictures spanning nearly 40 years.

African American Sheet Music, 1850-1920

The sheet music in this digital collection has been selected from the Sheet Music Collection at the John Hay Library at Brown University. The full collection consists of approximately 500,000 items, of which perhaps 250,000 are currently available for use. It is one of the largest collections of sheet music in any library in the United States. The sheet music, primarily vocal music of American imprint, dates from the 18th century to the present day, with the largest concentration of titles in the period 1840-1950.

Images of African Americans in the 19th Century

These image databases are meant to complement and supplement the full-text databases of writings by people of African descent which also are a part of the "Digital Schomburg," an electronic reference and research resource on African, African American and African Diasporan history and culture from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Artists, engravers, and photographers managed to capture and preserve for posterity a variety of images of African Americans throughout the 19th century. 

National Museum of African American History and Culture: The Collection

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans.

Thanks to institutional support and generous donors, our collection of historical artifacts, documents, photography, and media, now numbers close to 37,000.