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HIST 324: African Diaspora since 1808 (Spring, 2024)

Not Sure where to start? Try the Catalog & WorldCat

Collections of reprinted and translated primary sources can be found in the library catalog & worldcat using these subject terms:

Personal narratives
Slave narratives
Captivity narratives
Notebooks, sketchbooks, etc.


Primary Sources Databases


  • Keep your search simple. No more than 2 or 3 words. 
    • "black diaspora" or "African diaspora" and women
  • Choose your database based on the Type of records it contains
    • are you looking for newspapers? government reports? scanned personal papers? Organizational records?
  • Use the filters to limit results, not extra keywords.
    • limit by publication date, location, author, etc.
  • Don't be discouraged! It takes a while to find the database you need and you'll get many zero result searches at first
  • Pay attention to language. If you find one good primary source, see what phrases it uses. Use that phrase to find more materials yourself.
  • Use Secondary Sources to point you toward primary sources.
    • Does the secondary source highlight specific individuals or organizations or archives? What type of sources are they using?

Primary Sources: Databases

Example Search

Sample question:

The role of African-American women in pan-African political movements in the United States

  • Use secondary lit to find specific individuals, then search them as "authors" in catalog & worldcat to find their personal writings.
  • Do basic searches like "Black women" in databases full of political documents like Liberation Movement in Africa and African America or Republic of New Africa
  • Look for newspaper articles in a database like African American Newspapers  using pan-african NEAR15 women  or pan-africanist NEAR15 women
  • Based on Initial findings, I'd revise keywords and possibly try other databases.