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Encyclopedias & More: Black Studies

Find specialized academic encyclopedia entries, dictionary definitions and more!

Black Studies

African American Authors 1745–1945: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook

Beginning with the works of the poet Phyllis Wheatley in the seventeenth century, this volume examines both the lives and creations of 77 familiar and less-known writers and the critical reception their works received.  Researchers beginning investigations into a particular author will find the background history offered in the Preface valuable.

African American Autobiographers: A Sourcebook

This unique reference work provides biographical and historical data on sixty-seven African American writers (thirty-five of them women) who wrote accounts of their lives between the late eighteenth and late twentieth century. Special emphasis was placed on including significant figures not as well represented in African American scholarship .

African American Education: A Reference Handbook 

This complex subject is made accessible in the Handbook with sections on general issues in African American education, a chronology of significant events, African American schooling and curricula, legal influences, organizations, and historically black colleges and universities and their legacy. Researchers should be aware the print version of this title appeared in 2001.

African American Quotations 

A unique source covering over 2,500 quotations from a wide range of sources of black culture from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries.

African American Women Writers of the 19th Century

This site makes available several dozen works, each text scrupulously reprinted with no posthumous editing, each preface intact, from 30 hitherto inaccessible volumes of 19th century African American women's literature. This site is well-organized, providing search tools that allow the reader to search by title, author, and genre.

African American Writers: A Dictionary

Issued in 2000,  the individual entries in this dictionary specify the genre of writing for which the individual is known, ranging from  Robert Abbott’s editorials in The Chicago Defender to the poems of Maya Angelou. Chronologies of the writers and who was  the first to make a particular creative achievement are included, as is a listing of writers by genre.

Black Thought and Culture

Approximately 100,000 pages of monographs, essays, articles, speeches, and interviews written by leaders within the black community from the earliest times to the present. The collection is intended for research in black studies, political science, American history, music, literature, and art, and contains 1,297 sources from 1,098 authors.

Choral Music by African American Composers: A Selected  Annotated Bibliography

The rich musical heritage of choral singing and composition is deftly presented in this volume, with topics included ranging from composers and arrangers, an annotated list of individual works, collections of spirituals, and biographies of composers. Researchers should be aware that the print version of this work appeared in 1996.

The Civil Rights Movement (not available at this time)

This resource, published in 2000, covers a wide range of personalities, events, and social changes originating in and opposing the African American civil rights movement. It is composed of essays that originally appeared between 1987 and 1999, with newer materials added.

Contemporary African American Novelists: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook

The rich array of plots, themes, and characters created by African American novelists since the 1950s is here, separated out from other genres and explored through articles on the lives, works, and critical reception of seventy-nine authors.

Coretta Scott King Award Books: Using Great Literature with Children and Young Adults

Begun in 1969 and given since 1982 by the American Library Association,  the focus of this award is on recognizing and promoting the work of African American writers and illustrators creating books for children and young adult audiences.

Dictionary of African Filmmakers

The names and works of African directors and filmmakers are presented here, with biographical data included briefly. The opening essay on “ Mapping the Field: Feature Filmmaking in Africa, “ should be read by all researchers for useful background on this diverse subject.

Documenting the American South: North American Slave Narratives

Part of the “ Documenting the American South “ project of the University Libraries at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, this includes all the existing autobiographical narratives of fugitive and former slaves published as broadsides, pamphlets, or books in English up to 1920. Also included are many of the biographies of fugitive and former slaves and some significant fictionalized slave narratives published in English before 1920.

Encyclopedia of African American Business History

A valuable resource treating the complex subject of African Americans in the business world from 1619 to 1999. While the emphasis is on North America, some African materials are included as well.

Encyclopedia of African American Education

Published in 2010, this two-volume set presents African American Education as a system of education from childhood through the college and university level, along with major issues that have and continue to impact it. A unique appendix, “The Complete Bibliography of the Journal of Negro Education, 1932-2008,” includes listings of the tables of contents and reprinted articles on segregation, desegregation, and equality.

Encyclopedia of African American Society

This unique reference examines the basic foundations of African American culture and traces the ways in which they have given rise to contemporary social forms such as rap music, religion, and cinema. Historical trends such as the “separate but equal “ doctrine are also discussed.

Encyclopedia of African Religion

This is the first comprehensive reference work treating the responses of African cultures to the idea of the sacred, and its entries reveal the complexity, texture, and rhythms of the African religious tradition.

Encyclopedia of Black Studies

An examination of the growth and development of African American studies as an academic discipline from its origins in San Francisco in 1967 to the early twenty-first century.

Encyclopedia of Minorities in American Politics: Volume 1, African Americans and Asian Americans

African American involvement with American political life (both as the subject of legislation and as active participants) is well covered in the first volume of this set. The introduction should be read by each researcher for its exploration of issues and major concepts relating to this thread of political history.

Harlem Renaissance: An Annotated Guide for Student Research

The creative explosion popularly termed the “ Harlem Renaissance “ can pose challenges to researchers unfamiliar with its major writers, events, and social context. This detailed and readable guide opens with a section on biographical and historical references such as the Great Migration, then moves to present major influences, political activists, prominent women, literature, and writing (combining both individual writers and the literary landscape of the Renaissance, the performing and visual arts, and sports and entertainment).

Women in Chains: The Legacy of Slavery in Black Women's Fiction

A discussion of the ways in which race, history, and enslavement affected female slaves concepts of their gender identity.

The Zora Neale Hurston Plays at the Library of Congress

This site presents a selection of ten plays written by notable African American researcher, author, anthropologist, and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960). Deposited in the United States Copyright Office between 1925 and 1944, most of the plays remained unpublished and unproduced until they were rediscovered in the Copyright Deposit Drama Collection.