Black Studies Center
What is Black Studies Center?
It is a full retinue of opportunities to research the African-American experience!
Black Studies Center is a fully cross-searchable gateway to Black Studies including scholarly essays, recent periodicals, historical newspaper articles, and much more. It combines several resources for research and teaching in Black Studies: Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience, International Index to Black Periodicals, historical black newspapers, and the Black Literature Index.
Black Studies Center brings together essential historical and current material for researching the past, present and future of African-Americans, the wider African Diaspora, and Africa itself. It is comprised of several cross-searchable component databases.
How might I use Black Studies Center?
Black Studies Center can be used to encourage the exploration of topics relevant to the study of the Black Experience!
An example of one resource within BSC that might illustrate a few ideas pertaining to the above:
“The Harriet Powers Pictorial Quilts.” Black Art 3.4 (1979): 12-28.
In this example, it is possible to research Harriet Powers, a black American woman who while making only two quilts managed to have her work wind up in a museum. Both of these quilts are ‘pictorials’ and were created at a time in the late nineteenth century when traditional quilt-making was unimaginative. Her work has stood the test of time and is an indicator of her cutting edge artistry within this medium. Folk art experts have considered her work to be one that projects a grand spiritual vision that breaks the mold of convention.
I enjoyed this look at someone who lived a very simple life… but who managed to create timeless works of art.
[Harriet Adams Quilt, depicting Biblical Imagery]
Another question that one might research is “What is the African Diaspora?”
It might surprise you that there are so many answers to this question. BSC discusses this from many angles as the bulk of black culture and citizenry expanded out from West and Central Africa over into the Americas.
What are the key research resources used in Black Studies Center?
Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience – this is at the heart of Black Studies Center. This database examines interdisciplinary topics on the African experience throughout the Americas via in-depth essays accompanied by detailed timelines along with important research articles, images, film clips and more. The essays are contributed by leading academic experts who have surveyed and analysed the most important existing research literature in their respective fields.
International Index to Black Periodicals – IIBP includes current and retrospective bibliographic citations and abstracts from scholarly journals and newsletters from the United States, Africa and the Caribbean, and full-text coverage of core Black Studies periodicals. Most IIBP records in the current coverage contain an abstract, and additionally many IIBP records contain the corresponding full text of the original article. Coverage is international in scope and multidisciplinary, spanning cultural, economic, historical, religious, social, and political issues or vital importance to the Black Studies discipline. Most journals are indexed cover-to-cover.
For some journals not directly focused on African-American, Africa or the African diaspora, only selected articles relevant to the discipline of Black Studies are indexed. The journal list was prepared with the guidance of an advisory board including librarians specializing in Black Studies: Carol A. Rudisell, Associate Librarian, University of Delaware Library and Dorothy Ann Washington, Librarian, Black Cultural Center, Purdue University.
The Marshall Index was compiled by Albert P. Marshall, an African-American librarian at the State Teachers College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and first published as a quarterly magazine, A Guide to Negro Periodical Literature, from 1941 to 1946. It was the first index to black serials ever compiled and covers 42 of the leading African-American periodicals between 1940 and 1946.
The Chicago Defender – BSC provides the full text backfile, from 1910 to 1975, of the influential black newspaper The Chicago Defender. By the outbreak of the First World War this newspaper had become the most widely-read black newspaper in the country, with more than two thirds of its readership based outside Chicago.
Black Literature Index – this resource includes the electronic index to the Black Literature microfiche collection. This index allows users to search over 70,000 bibliographic citations for fiction, poetry and literary reviews published in 110 black periodicals and newspapers between 1827-1940. For citations “all the way to content” from the Chicago Defender, full text is available and a link is included directly to the relevant article.
Additional Modules offered:
The HistoryMakers – is an archive of filmed oral history interviews of 20th century African Americans who have shaped modern history. The archive represents the direct voices of a diverse group of African American who have made significant contributions to history and politics, education, law, the creative arts, science and medicine, business, the military, and sports. It represents the largest African American archival video collection in the world. The purpose or the organization is to educate and demonstrate the breadth and depth of the African American experience through first person narratives of both well-known and unsung African Americans. This collection includes 100 videos and contains a corresponding transcript that is subject-indexed and segmented. The transcripts are fully searchable.
ProQuest Dissertations for Black Studies – this module contains a thousand doctoral dissertations and Masters’ theses examining a wide variety of topics and subject areas relating to Black Studies. Included are dissertations written between 1970 and 2004 at over 200 universities and colleges across the United States. These dissertations were selected for their relevance to Black Studies scholars from the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database. ProQuest Dissertations for Black Studies is available as an optional add-on module for Black Studies Center.
ProQuest Black Newspapers:
Seven additional historical Black newspapers are available:
• New York Amsterdam News (1922-1993)
• Pittsburgh Courier (1911-2002)
• Los Angeles Sentinel (1934-2005)
• Atlanta Daily World (1932-2003)
• Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001)
• Norfolk New Journal and Guide (1921-2003)
• Afro-American (1893-1933, incomplete)
Records from Black Literature Index are directly linked to the full-text articles appearing in New York Amsterdam News, Norfolk New Journal and Guide and the Pittsburgh Courier. These additional newspapers greatly expand the breadth of primary source material in Black Studies Center. Important perspectives on local, regional, and international events throughout the twentieth century are now available from these influential black publications.
Black Abolitionist Papers
This is an excellent primary source that comprehensively details the extensive work of African Americans to abolish slavery in the United States prior to the Civil War. Covering the period 1830-1865, the collection presents the massive, international impact of African American activism against slavery, in the writings and publications of the activists themselves. The approximately 15,000 articles, documents, correspondence, proceedings, manuscripts, and literary works of almost 300 black abolitionists show the full range of their activities in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, France and Germany. This collection literally transformed scholarly understanding of Black activism during this period.
Primary sources – this collection reproduces, in full, the 17 reels of microfilmed content from the original collection. Unique, hand-written correspondence and documents comprise around 30% of this collection. Included in the collection are such types of primary documents as:
• correspondence of major African American leaders
• speeches, sermons, and lectures
• articles, essays, editorials, and other major writings from more than 200 newspapers: African American, abolitionist, and reform newspapers
• receipts, poems, and other miscellaneous documents
So you can see at a glance that the possibilities are endless when one considers the materials in this database and how wide-ranging in scope they are.
“My Archive” helps you with your research. It is a way to create a personalized area where you will be able to store selected records and saved searches for future reference. It is username and password protected. One convenient item to note is that you can save searches and go back to them at a later time. The “My Archive” tab is conveniently located at the top of the page on the right.