African American Studies

Librarian for African American Studies

Timothy Johnson
Librarian for Africana Studies, Anthropology and Food Studies
New York University
Bobst Library, Mezzanine
70 Washington Square So.
New York, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 998-2436

Research Assistance

  • How to Find Books in BobCat by Subject

    BobCat can be searched for books and other materials in African American Studies with a subject search (s= ). Many subject headings in this field have the pattern: s= Afro-Americans--[Place name] --Subdivision--[Time period]. Place names can be names of countries, states, regions, or cities.

    • s= Afro-Americans--Virginia--History--19th century
    • s= Afro-Americans--Civil rights

    Examples of other subdivisions: education, economic conditions, intellectual life, race identity, and social conditions. Other subject headings have the pattern s= Afro-American [...] -- [Place name]--[Time period].

    • s= Afro-American families--Florida--History-- 20th century
    • s= Afro-American actors

    Other examples: Afro-American abolitionists, artists, authors, children, mass media, and veterans.

    The third type of subject heading used for materials in this field is: s= Afro-Americans in ... (e.g., art, literature, mass media). For more information please consult the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH). Copies of LCSH are available in all reference centers and the catalog area in the atrium.

  • Tutorials and Other Research Assistance


  • Davis, Nathaniel. Afro-American References: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Resources, compiled and ed. by Nathaniel Davis. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985.
    Bobst Ref1 Z1361.N39D37 1985
    • Includes author, title, and subject indexes.

  • De Lerma, Dominique-Rene. Bibliography of Black Music. Foreword by Jessie Carney Smith. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1981-1984. 4 vols.
    Bobst MusicRef ML128.B6D346 1981

  • Gray, John. Blacks in Film and Television: A Pan-African Bibliography of Films, Filmmakers, and Performers. New York: Greenwood Press, c1990.
    Bobst Ref1 Z5784.M9G72 1990

  • Miller, Elizabeth W. The Negro in America: A Bibliography. 2nd ed., rev. and enl., compiled by Mary L. Fisher. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1970.
    Bobst Ref1 Z1361.N39M5 1970
    • Selectively annotated bibliography on African American history, culture, and politics in 20 chapters. Includes author index.

  • Newman, Richard. Black Access: A Bibliography of Afro-American Bibliographies. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, c1984.
    Bobst Ref1 Z1361.N39N578 1984

  • Work, Monroe Nathan. A Bibliography of the Negro in Africa and America. NY: Octagon Books, 1965, [c1928].
    Bobst Ref1 Z1361.N39W9 1965
    • Lists over 17,000 books, pamphlets, and periodical articles. Covers mainly English publications. Pt. 1 relates to Africa; pt. 2 deals with America. Each part is subdivided by various topics. Includes index. Covers over 3,000 bibliographies. Includes chronological and subject indexes.

Research & Resource Guides

  • The African-American Yellow Pages: A Comprehensive Resource Guide and Directory, ed. by Stanton F. Biddle. New York: H. Holt, 1996.
    Bobst Ref1 E185.A2575 1996
    • National directory of businesses, organizations, historic sites, publications, services, etc. that are of particular interest to African American studies. Under each of the 72 alphabetically organized categories, entries are listed by state, city, and name of organization. Includes subject and name indexes.

  • Library of Congress. The African-American Mosaic: A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture, ed. by Debra Newman Ham; with contributions by Beverly Brannan et al. Washington: Library of Congress ; for sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O., 1993.
    Bobst Ref 1 Z1361.N39L47 1993
    Bobst Z1361.N39L47 1993
    • Discusses Library of Congress collections that relate to African American history and culture. Chronological arrangement. Includes index.

  • Reference Library of Black America, ed. by Kenneth Estell. Detroit, MI: Gale Research ; distributed by Afro-American Press, c1994. 5 vols.
    Bobst Ref1 E185.R435 1994
    • Based upon the 6th ed. of The African-American Almanac which was first published as The Negro Almanac in 1967. 27 subject chapters, many of which open with an essay, followed by biographic profiles of selected individuals. Includes index.

Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

  • Dictionary of Afro-American Slavery, ed. by Randall M. Miller and John David Smith. New York: Greenwood Press, 1988.
    Bobst Ref1 E441.D53 1988
    • Alphabetically arranged entries with bibliographical references. Includes index.

  • Encyclopedia of African-American Civil Rights: From Emancipation to the Present, ed. by Charles D. Lowery and John F. Marszalek; foreword by David J. Garrow. New York: Greenwood Press, 1992.
    Bobst Ref1 E185.61.E54 1992 Bobst E185.61.E54 1992
    • Over 800 articles on individuals, organizations, events, and court cases with an emphasis on the period since emancipation. Alphabetically organized. Includes index.

  • Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History, ed. by Jack Salman, David Lionel Smith, Cornel West. New York: Macmillan Library Reference USA; Simon & Schuster Macmillan; Simon & Schuster and Prentice Hall, c1996. 5 vols.
    Bobst Ref1 E185.E54 1995
    • Approximately two-thirds of the 2,200 entries are of biographical nature. The remaining entries are devoted to events, historical eras, legal cases, areas of cultural achievements, professions, sports, places and states. Arranged alphabetically. Extensive statistical appendix. Includes index.

  • Encyclopedia of African American Religion, ed. by Larry G. Murphy, J. Gordon Melton, Gary L. Ward. New York: Garland, 1993.
    Bobst Ref1 BR563.N4E53 1993
    • Biographical entries, entries on each of the African American denominations and religious groups and on prominent religious organizations. Includes 3 introductory essays, a chronology of African American religion, a directory of African American churches, and an index.

  • The Negro Almanac: A Reference Work on the African American, compiled and ed. by Harry A. Ploski and James Williams. 5th ed. Detroit: Gale Research, c1989.
    Bobst Ref1 E185.N385 1989
    • 35 chapters combining historical narrative, biographical sketches, as well as statistical tables and graphs. Focuses on the current situation of African Americans. Includes index.

  • Puckett, Newbell Niles. Black Names in America: Origins & Usage, ed. by Muray Heller. MA: G.K. Hall, 1975.
    Bobst Ref1 E185.89.N3P82
    • Organized chronologically.


  • Abajian, James. Blacks in Selected Newspapers, Censuses and Other Sources: An Index to Names and Subjects. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1977. 3 vols.
    Bobst Ref1 Z1361.N39A28x
    • Alphabetically arranged name and subject index.

  • Ethnic NewsWatch.
    Bobst Library Network
    • Ethnic NewsWatch is a multicultural database containing articles published by the ethnic, minority and native presses in America. The database deals with issues of local, national and global importance to these groups. English/Spanish search option available.

  • The Kaiser Index to Black Resources, 1948-1986: From the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library. Brooklyn, NY: Carlson, 1992. 5 vols.
    Bobst Ref1 Z1361.N39K34 1992
    • A bibliographic guide to periodical literature, articles and ephemera.

  • Newman, Richard. Black Index: Afro-Americans in Selected Periodicals, 1907-1949. New York: Garland, 1981.
    Bobst Ref1 Z1361.N39N58
    • Author and subject guide to over 1,000 articles in more than 350 periodicals published in the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain during the first half of the 20th century.

  • Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Index to the Schomburg Clipping File. Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey, c1986.
    Bobst Ref1 Z1361.N39S373 1986
    Bobst Ref6 Z1361.N39S373 1986
    • Alphabetically arranged name and subject index. Includes microfiche serial numbers. Focuses on African Americans, but covers also to a limited extent other parts of the African Diaspora and Africa. Includes indexes.

  • Stevenson, Rosemary M. Index to Afro-American Reference Resources. New York: Greenwood Press, 1988.
    Bobst Ref1 Z1361.N39S77 1988
    Bobst Z1361.N39S77 1988


    • Black Americans: A Statistical Sourcebook. Boulder, CO: Numbers & Concepts, 1990.
      Bobst Ref6 E185.86.B52 1990
      • Demographics and characteristics of the population; vital statistics and health; education; government, elections, and public opinion; crime, law enforcement, and corrections; labor force, employment, and unemployment; earnings, income, poverty, and wealth; special topics. Includes index.

    • United States. Bureau of the Census. Negro Population in the United States, 1790-1915. New York: Arno, 1968.
      Bobst Ref6 HA205.A33 1968
      • Growth and geographic distribution, 1790-1910; migratory displacement and segregation; physical characteristics; vital statistics; educational and social statistics; economic statistics; general tables.

      See also: Federal depository resources collection in Ref6.


  • African American Women: A Biographical Dictionary, ed. by Dorothy C. Salem. New York: Garland, 1993.
    Bobst Ref1 E185.96A45 1993
    • Nearly 300 summaries and analytical descriptions of individual African American women, their significance and their works. The appendix includes entries by career category and an index.

  • Brignano, Russell C., Black Americans in Autobiography: An Annotated Bibliography of Autobiographies and Autobiographical Books Written since the Civil War. Rev. and expanded ed. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1984.
    Bobst Ref1 Z1361.N39B67 1984
    • Includes several indexes.

  • Black Americans in Congress, ed. by Mark R. Salser. Portland, OR: National Book Co., c1991.
    Bobst Ref6 E185.96.B524 1991
    • Entries on 65 African American congressmen which are organized alphabetically under congress.

  • Black Biography, 1790-1950: A Cumulative Index, ed. by Randall K. Burkett, Nancy Hall Burkett, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Alexandria: Chadwyck-Healey, 1990. 3 vols.
    Bobst Ref1 Z1361.N39B52 1990
    • Index to the microfiche set, Black Biographical Dictionaries, which Bobst Library has in microform (MF 759).

  • Bearden, Romare and Harry Henderson. A History of African- American Artists: From 1792 to the Present. New York: Pantheon, c1993.
    Bobst Ref1 N6538.N5B38 1993
    • Essays on the most prominent African American artists from 1792 to the present, divided into 6 periods. Includes index.


  • Black Americans Information Directory. Detroit: Gale Research, c1990- . Biennial.
    Bobst Ref1 E185.5.B513 Latest ed. only
    • Guide to about 5,300 agencies, organizations, institutions, programs, and publications concerned with African American life and culture. Divided into 18 subject categories. Includes name and subject indexes.

  • Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, ed. by Darlene Clark Hine; associate editors, Elsa Barkely Brown, Rosalyn Terborg-Penn. Brooklyn, NY: Carlson, 1993. 2 vols.
    Bobst Ref1 E185.86.B542 1993
    • Consists of 641 biographical entries on individual African American women, as well as 163 entries that are devoted to general topics and organizations. Includes a chronology of African American women, a classified list of biographical entries, and an index.

  • D'Emilio, John. The Civil Rights Struggle: Leaders in Profile. New York: Facts on file, c1979.
    Bobst Ref1 E185.96.D38

  • Dictionary of American Negro Biography, ed. by Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston. NY: Norton, c1982.
    Bobst Ref1 E185.96.D53 1982
    • Comprehensive dictionary of African American biography, excluding living persons.

  • In Black and White: A Guide to Magazine Articles, Newspaper Articles, and Books Concerning more than 15,000 Black Individuals and Groups, ed. by Mary Mace Spradling. Detroit, MI: Gale Research Co., c1980- . 2 vols.
    Bobst Ref1 Z1361.N39S655
    • Biographical and bibliographical information on African American individuals and groups, arranged alphabetically. Includes occupation index.

  • Joyce, Donald Franklin. Blacks in the Humanities, 1750-1984: A Selected Annotated Bibliography. New York: Greenwood Press, 1986.
    Bobst Ref1 Z1361.N39J69 1986
    • Organized into 12 chapters. Includes subject and author-title indexes.

  • Notable Black American Women, ed. by Jessie Carney Smith. Detroit, MI: Gale Research, c1992.
    Bobst Ref1 E185.96.N68 1992
    • Approximately 500 entries which are arranged alphabetically by surname. Includes list by area of endeavor, as well as names, places, and events indexes.

  • Who's Who among African Americans. 9th ed. Detroit, MI: Gale Research, c1996- . Biennial.
    Bobst Ref1 E185.96.W52
    • Guide to more than 20,000 prominent African Americans, arranged alphabetically. Includes geographic and occupation index. Continues Who's Who among Black Americans.


  • Asante, Molefi K., Mark T. Mattson. The Historical and Cultural Atlas of African Americans. New York: Macmillan, c1991.
    Bobst Ref1 E185.A8 1991
    • Detailed maps and charts of information about events in African American history and culture which are integrated into narrative segments. Includes index.

  • Cowan, Thomas Dale and Richard Newman. Timelines of African- American History: 500 Years of Black Achievement. New York: Berkeley, 1994.
    Bobst Ref1 E185.C86 1994
    Bobst E185.C86 1994
    • Dates of major events in African American history from the 15th century to the present are highlighted. The events are divided into subject categories. Includes index.

  • Grossman, Mark. The ABC-CLIO Companion to the Civil Rights Movement. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1993.
    Bobst Ref6 E185.61.G895 1993
    • Entries are arranged in alphabetical order. Includes chronology, bibliography, and index.

  • Harley, Sharon. The Timetables of African-American History: A Chronology of the Most Important People and Events in African- American History. New York: Simon & Schuster, c1995.
    Bobst Ref1 E185.H295 1995
    • Chronicle of significant events, figures, and movements in the African American experience from 1492 -1992 in the following categories: general history; education; laws and legal actions; religion; literature; publication and the African American press; the arts; science, technology, and medicine; sports. Includes index.

  • Hornsby, Alton. Chronology of African-American History: Significant Events and People from 1619 to the Present. Detroit: Gale Research, c1991.
    Bobst Ref1 E185.H64 1991
    • Subdivided into 11 eras, this reference book contains biographical information on representative African Americans, legislation, significant events, court decisions, programs, manifestos, and data on economic, political, social and educational events. Includes index.

  • Murray, Paul T. The Civil Rights Movement: References and Resources. New York: Macmillan, c.1993.
    Bobst Ref1 Z1361.N39M93 1993
    • General works; collected works; states; civil rights organizations; the Federal Government; participants in the movement; phases of the movement; other topics. Includes author and subject indexes.

  • Smith, Dwight L. Afro-American History: a Bibliography. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1974- . 2 vols.
    Bobst Ref1 Z1361.N39S56
    • Annotated bibliography of periodical articles. Entries are arranged by chronological periods and thereunder by subject. Includes author and subject indexes.
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