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African American Studies

What Are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are documents from the time period, people, and events of the time under consideration. Primary sources can be:

  • diaries or correspondence
  • photographs
  • illustrations
  • newspaper articles (from the time period)
  • manuscripts
  • pamphlets, broadsides, or other ephemera

Finding Primary Sources

Many primary sources can be found in Melvyl or Worldcat, but there are other avenues for seeking out these kinds of materials.

On the Internet

There are many sources for digitized primary sources related to African Americans. Here are a few important collections to get you started. 

Topic: Slavery and the Slave Trade

Topic: Civil Rights