dcsimg Black Studies Center
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Information Center: About Black Studies Center

Black Studies Center brings together essential historical and current material for researching the past, present and future of African-Americans, the wider African Diaspora, and Africa itself. It is comprised of several cross-searchable component databases.

Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience

At the heart of Black Studies Center is Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience. This unique database examines interdisciplinary topics on the African experience throughout the Americas via in-depth essays accompanied by detailed timelines along with important research articles, images, film clips and more. The essays are contributed by leading academic experts who have surveyed and analyzed the most important existing research literature in their respective fields. Also included are reference textbooks Handbook of African American Literature and Encyclopedia of African Literature.

International Index to Black Periodicals (IIBP)

IIBP includes current and retrospective bibliographic citations and abstracts from scholarly journals and newsletters from the United States, Africa and the Caribbean, and full-text coverage of core Black Studies periodicals. See this journal title list (Excel format) for periodicals included. Most IIBP records in the current coverage contain an abstract, and additionally many IIBP records contain the corresponding full text of the original article. Coverage is international in scope and multidisciplinary, spanning cultural, economic, historical, religious, social, and political issues of vital importance to the Black Studies discipline. The journal list was prepared with the guidance of an advisory board including librarians specializing in Black Studies: Carol A. Rudisell, Associate Librarian, University of Delaware Library and Dorothy Ann Washington, Librarian, Black Cultural Center, Purdue University.

The Marshall Index was compiled by Albert P. Marshall, an African-American librarian at the State Teachers College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and first published as a quarterly magazine, A Guide to Negro Periodical Literature, from 1941 to 1946. It was the first index to black serials ever compiled and covers 42 of the leading African-American periodicals between 1940 and 1946. The Marshall Index was published in a revised single-volume print edition by ProQuest in 2002, edited by James Danky and Richard Newman, and is now made available online through Black Studies Center.

The Chicago Defender

BSC provides the full text backfile, from 1910 to 1975, of the influential black newspaper The Chicago Defender. Robert Sengstacke Abbott founded the Defender in May 1905 and by the outbreak of the First World War it had become the most widely-read black newspaper in the country, with more than two thirds of its readership based outside Chicago. When Abbott died in 1940, his nephew John Sengstacke became editor and publisher of the Defender, which began publishing on a daily basis in 1956.

Black Literature Index

Black Studies Center includes the electronic index to the Black Literature microfiche collection. This index allows users to search over 70,000 bibliographic citations for fiction, poetry and literary reviews published in 110 black periodicals and newspapers between 1827-1940. For citations to content from the Chicago Defender for which full text is available in Black Studies Center, a link is included directly to the relevant article.

Additional Modules

The HistoryMakers®

The HistoryMakers® collection in Black Studies Center is an archive of filmed oral history interviews of 20th century African Americans who have shaped modern history. The archive represents the direct voices of a diverse group of African Americans who have made significant contributions to history and politics, education, law, the creative arts, science and medicine, business, the military, and sports.

The HistoryMakers®, founded in July 1999 as a nonprofit organization, represents the single largest African American archival video collection in the world. The purpose of the organization is to educate and demonstrate the breadth and depth of the African American experience through first person narratives of both well-known and unsung African Americans. The ProQuest collection includes 100 videos and complete transcripts from The HistoryMakers®. Each interview video and corresponding transcript is subject-indexed and segmented. The transcripts are fully searchable.

ProQuest Dissertations for Black Studies

The ProQuest Dissertations for Black Studies module contains a thousand doctoral dissertations and Masters' theses examining a wide variety of topics and subject areas relating to Black Studies. Included are dissertations written between 1970 and 2004 at over 100 universities and colleges across the United States. These dissertations were selected for their relevance to Black Studies scholars from the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database. ProQuest Dissertations for Black Studies is available as an optional add-on module for Black Studies Center.

ProQuest Black Newspapers

Seven additional historical Black newspapers are available to subscribers:

  • New York Amsterdam News (1922-1993)
  • Pittsburgh Courier (1911-2002)
  • Los Angeles Sentinel (1934-2005)
  • Atlanta Daily World (1932-2003)
  • Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001)
  • Norfolk New Journal and Guide (1921-2003)
  • Afro-American (1893-1988, incomplete)

Records from Black Literature Index are directly linked to the full-text articles appearing in New York Amsterdam News, Norfolk New Journal and Guide and the Pittsburgh Courier. These additional newspapers greatly expand the breadth of primary source material in Black Studies Center. Important perspectives on local, regional, and international events throughout the twentieth century are now available from these influential Black publications.

Black Abolitionist Papers

This collection searches a unique set of primary sources from African Americans actively involved in the movement to end slavery in the United States between 1830 and 1865. The content includes letters, speeches, editorials, articles, sermons, and essays from libraries and archives in England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and the United States. Over 15,000 items written by nearly 300 Black men and women are available for searching.

Future releases of Black Studies Center will see the inclusion of even more content for teaching and research in Black Studies!

Read more about Black Abolitionist Papers

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