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HIST 3393 / HIST 5340: African American History

Get started researching topics in African American History.


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Kristina Claunch
Library (NGL) Room 223G


This guide is intended to help you begin researching a wide variety of topics in African American history.

This guide is not comprehensive; it does not list all of the resources on this subject or in related disciplines owned by the Library or available on the Internet. This guide serves merely as a starting point for research.

Need Paper Topic Ideas?

Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, and Other Reference Books

What are reference books good for? A lot!

  • Verify facts (with more authority than Wikipedia)!
  • Browse contextual essays for inspiration in finding a research paper topic.
  • Read topical entries to increase your background knowledge of a topic.
  • Read essays, topical entries, and bibliographies to refine your topic into a focused research question
  • Quickly access timelines of events, maps, key primary documents, extensive bibliographies (that is, lists of key books and articles on focused topics), and more to supplement your research and help you decide what sources to read next.
  • When you're reading primary sources, use a historical dictionary to find definitions of or context for slang words or unfamiliar cultural references.

Reference Universe logo

Search a selection of print and electronic encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other Reference books.


Browse the Collection

An excellent way to discover additional resources is to browse for books in relevant call number ranges. All of these call numbers will be located on the 4th floor of the library.

E184.5 - E185.98 - United States, Elements in the Population, Afro-Americans

HT851 - HT1445 - Classes, Slavery

HT1501 - HT1595 - Races, including race as a social group and race relations

To discover the call number ranges for broader, narrower, or different subjects, consult the Library of Congress Classification Outline.

Search the Library Catalog

Search for books and other items in the library catalog.


More Search Options


Video Refresher: Intro to Searching the Catalog

Click the icon in the bottom right corner of the video player to view it in full screen!

A Sampling of Books in the Main Collection

Subject Headings

Subject headings allow you to find books according to precisely defined topics.

Below are sample subjects. To browse for different, broader, or narrower subjects, go to the library catalog and click "Exact Search." Enter a term and click "subject" to browse a list of subjects.

You can start browsing for a broad subject like African Americans, then look for more specific subjects, such as African Americans Historians.

Once you know some subject headings, you can also use them as keywords during an advanced search, using the subject row.



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