There exist a substantial number of reputable sites covering various topics related to African American literature including African American women writers and their works, slave narratives, the Harlem Renaissance, with some sites providing digitized scans to primary-source documents. A limited selection is provided below which can serve as a launching point for further research and discovery.
African American World
Drawing on materials from PBS, NPR, and the Encyclopedia Britannica this resource created by PBS is a multimedia guide to African American history and culture, including profiles of prominent African-Americans, historical events, and contributions to arts and culture, including segments on Celebrating 80 Years of James Baldwin and People Power: W.E.B. DuBois.
No search interface is provided. Rather one navigates site by browsing through any of the four main heading tabs - History, Arts & Culture, Race & Society, and Profiles.
Digital Schomburg: African American Women Writers of the 19thCentury Made available by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library, this resource is a full-text digital collection to some 52 published works by 19th-century African American women writers along with 37 biographies. This collection provides access to the thought, perspectives, and creative talents of black women as demonstrated in books and pamphlets published prior to 1920. Search this full-text digital collection by choosing one of six 'Browse by' categories under the drop-down menu: Browse by Title, Browse by Author, Fiction, Poetry, Biography & Autobiography, or Essays. Within each category you may view full-text content by clicking on the hyperlinks, or you may want to conduct a keyword(s) search on topics such as, "family", "religions", "slavery", or any subject of interest in the search box. Doing so will search the contents within the specific category you are currently in. From the homepage, you may also access individual biographies and a MLA-style citation list for the texts included in this digital collection.
DocSouth: North American Slave Narratives
This digital library of primary documents is made available by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and consists of over 300 full-text
books and articles that document the individual and collective account of African Americans struggling for freedom and human rights in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. This collection includes all the existing autobiographical narratives of fugitive and former slaves up to 1920 including the 'Life and Times of Frederick Douglass: His Early Life as a Slave, His Escape from Bondage, and His Complete History to the Present Time
. Additionally, many of the biographies of fugitive and former slaves and some significant fictionalized slave narratives are also included. No search interface is provided. Rather one navigates site by browsing through the alphabetically organized entry titles (alphabet anchor links included).
Additionally, within each entry page are links to: full-text access, illustration(s), summary of title, and where applicable recommendations for related materials available within other Library of Congress digital collections.From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection, 1822-1909
This Library of Congress digital collection presents 396 pamphlets published from 1822 through 1909 by African-American authors and others who wrote about slavery, African colonization, Emancipation, Reconstruction, and related topics. The materials range from personal stories and public orations to organizational reports and legislative speeches. Among the African American authors represented are Frederick Douglass, Mary Church Terrell, and Booker T. Washington just to name a few.
You can search within this resource for information on African American writings by keyword(s) or browse by title, author, or subject index. The keyword interface is rather robust allowing one to search two ways:
Guide to Harlem Renaissance Materials
- Search descriptive information by keyword(s), such as 'authors' inscriptions', that will then be retrieved from Library of Congress catalog records for this collection, along with filtering options among them 'Match words exactly' and 'Include word variants' (e.g., plurals). Additionally, you may limit your keyword(s) search to specific core fields (e.g., subject fields, author/creator fields, title fields, etc.).
- Search keyword(s) within the full-text of the complete collection. Largely the same filtering options as noted above including the ability to rank results by best passage within a set number of words (number of words selected at the drop-down menu) or occurrence of words anywhere in document.
This guide made available by the Library of Congress represents the Library's resources as well as a selected bibliography and links to external websites on the Harlem Renaissance that focus on African-American expressions of writing, music, and art during the 1920s and 1930s. Among the multitude of digital collections relevant to African American literature one can search within include, The Zora Neale Hurston Plays at the Library of Congress
, American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writer's Project, 1936-1940,
and American Treasures of the Library of Congress - Langston Hughes Requests Loan for Tuition
just to name a few.No search interface for the guide is provided; instead scroll down to view entries and access resources via hyperlinks. Note: A substantial number of the resources included in the guide will have their own individual search interface once accessed.