African American Heritage
Our site focuses on links that answer the most commonly asked questions about people, events and places and important documents in African American history. These questions have been sifted from the thousands asked of librarians in the Montgomery County Libraries over the years. There are many more comprehensive sites on the Web that have multiple links to information of interest to African Americans, including portions on African American history.
G. Woodson, Black History Founder
The story of the life of Carter Woodson, who first suggested Negro History
Week in 1926. This observance later became Black History Month. From the Governor’s
Office, the State of Florida.
Founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History,
Carter Woodson came from a childhood of poverty to graduate from Harvard. This
is a detailed biographical essay about his life and his accomplishments in
the field of education and scholarship. Mounted at the Association's website.
Guide to Black History-Timeline
This timeline is useful for an overview of black history because of the interlinks
it provides to extensive articles on the subjects mentioned. From the Britannica
A Library of Congress resource guide for the study of black history and culture.
Primary resources include pictures, newspapers, etc. Covers colonization, abolition,
migration, and the Depression.
African American Perspectives
Pamphlet collection from the Library of Congress which can be viewed as text
or facsimile. A little hard to use but worth it for the wonderful primary sources.
Search for Black History facts by month, year, or particular topic. Mounted
A comprehensive site covering the history of African Americans from slavery
through the Civil Rights Movement. From World Book Encyclopedia
Based on a Black History exhibit at the Library of Congress, this site provides
a history from slavery to civil rights. Information on free blacks before the
Civil War. Many primary documents.
Resource Center + The Complete Marquis Who's Who
A comprehensive database of biographical information on more than one
million people throughout history, around the world, and across all disciplines
and subject areas. ALL YOU NEED IS A MONTGOMERY COUNTY LIBRARY CARD. Can
be searched by the term "African-American" under "ethnicity."
Celebrates Black History Month: Biographies
Part of the publisher's mega-site in celebration of Black History Month.
Many of the most requested names in Black History.
Americans in History
Brief biographical sketches of 24 key figures in African American history.
Compiled by the University of Georgia, Institute for African American Studies.
Americans in the Visual Arts
Extensive biographies of African American artists, plus a historical overview
with comprehensive information on the Harlem Renaissance at Long Island University.
of African Americans in the Civil War
Gives a concise history of the African Americans who made up 10% of the Union
Army during the Civil War. Describes Medal of Honor Winners. Can be searched
by name. National Park Service.
in Technology: Past & Present
Links to biographies of famous black inventors.
Faces of Science:
African Americans in the Sciences
Many links to biographies of African American scientists. Organized by
discipline. Alphabetical index. Mounted at UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-IRVINE.
Short biographies of 7 major African American artists with examples of their
Negro League Baseball Players Association Homepage
This site includes a general history of the Negro League, along with information
on the teams and individual players. The Association’s goal is to
honor and celebrate the significant contribution of Negro Leagues players
to baseball and American history.
In 2000, TIME magazine listed 100 people who had most influenced the
Twentieth Century. Among them were six African-Americans:
Douglass | Langston Hughes | Martin
Luther King, Jr. | Malcolm
X | Jackie Robinson | Rosa
Parks | Sojourner Truth | Harriet
Frederick Douglass (1818-1895)
Teacher Resource File
Designed for teachers, this has a wealth of information about Frederick
Douglass as well as many useful links. At James Madison University.
A short sketch of Frederick Douglass, with links to his writings and
to other sketches of his life, some quite extensive. From the American
Studies Department, Keele University, UK.
This site tells about Frederick Douglass in the context of his home,
now a museum, in Washington D.C. Many visuals, including a virtual tour
of his home. From the National Park Service.
Sponsored by the Academy of American Poets, this site has many examples of
his work as well as a short essay about his life and works. Excellent bibliography.
Luther King, Jr. Directory
One of the most comprehensive sites on the Web commemorating Dr. King. Originating
at Stanford University.
A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Explores the impact of King's life on America.
Includes images, a timeline of King’s life,
a bibliography, and useful links. From Long
X: Our Shining Black Prince
Eulogy delivered by Ossie Davis at the funeral of Malcolm X.
Fad and Fashion: Understanding the Essence of Malcolm
Excellent overview of the life of Malcolm X with a step by step review of his
political and social ideas. Sponsored by the Black Collegian, an online source
of job information for African Americans.
Famous sports writer remembers Jackie Robinson. Many excellent links to
the National Archives webpage about Jackie, and the page sponsored by
the Jackie Robinson Society.
The site, at Pasadena City College, where Robinson was a student from
1937 to 1939, has a wealth of information and links to other well chosen
sites which give a complete picture of his life and work as he broke the
color barrier in baseball
This page gives a short biography of Rosa Parks and a 2 page summary of her
role in the bus boycott.
A site giving a profile, biography, interview, and photographs of Rosa
Parks. From the Academy of Achievement a non-profit organization that
brings students "into direct personal contact with the greatest thinkers
and achievers of the age."
Rosa Parks, 92, Founding
Symbol of Civil Rights Movement, Dies
NEW YORK TIMES article honoring Rosa Parks. Written at the time of
Rosa Parks: The Woman Who Changed
This page, sponsored by Grand Times, a weekly
magazine for seniors, gives information about Rosa Parks before the bus
boycott and about what she is doing currently to further civil rights.
Based on a 1996 interview.
Who Was Sojourner Truth?
Anti-slavery advocate and speaker. Page sponsored by the Sojourner Truth
Memorial Statue Committee.
The Narrative of Sojourner
A biography dictated to Olive Gilbert by Sojourner Truth. Click on the
picture to enter the biography. Olive Gilbert was an abolitionist Truth
met in Northampton, MA in the 1840's. From the University of Virginia.
Truth-"Ain't I a Woman"
Report of the speech given at the 1851 Women's Rights Convention in Akron,
Other links to biographical information and documents.
The Life of Harriet Tubman
Concise biography of the famous "conductor"
on the Underground Railroad. From the New York History Net.
From the National Park Service. A brief chronology
of Harriet Tubman's life.
Facts and Figures
African-American History Month: 50 Years of Change
This is an extensive site from the Census Bureau in honor of the Brown
v. Board of Education decision. Extensive demographic information as
well as pictures and audio.
National Park Service
Soldiers and Sailors System
About 10% of the Union Army was made up of African-Americans. The Civil
War Soldiers and Sailors System is a computerized database containing
very basic facts about servicemen who served on both sides during the
Civil War. If you know the regiment your ancestor fought in or his name,
this site could be useful for genealogical research. Click on "soldiers"
or "sailors" if you know a name or "regiment" if you
have that information.
Christine's Genealogical Website
A website dedicated to listing links reflecting all aspects of African-American
genealogy. A free registration is available under "Your Account."
You need to register to see anything on the page.
List of Genealogical Sites on the Internet-African
An excellent place to find sources in your search
for your African American ancestors. Over 250 links
divided by category such as “how to” and
This site is ”devoted to African American
genealogy, to researching African Ancestry in the
Americas in particular….” Of special
interest is an online guide for beginners and a
slave ancestry database.
After the Civil War, the Freedman’s Bureau
was charged with “relief and educational
activities relating to refugees and freedmen, including
issuing rations, clothing and medicine.” For
this reason, they kept extensive records which
might help in genealogical research.
The Freedman’s Bank Savings and Trust Company
was chartered in 1865 with the primary objective
to assist former slaves in keeping money safe from
swindlers, as they transitioned from slavery to
freedom. This site gives an overview of a new CD
source available from Familysearch.org, sponsored
by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The bank records contain a lot of personal information:
the account was opened
- Age, place of birth, where raised, plantation,
and current residence
- Name of former master or mistress, occupation
- Names of members such as spouse, children,
parents, siblings, in-laws, and other
- Other remarks such as assigned military
units during the Civil War
In particular, remarks in many of the records
document family relationships and relatives
who were sold into slavery to other locations.
Important Events and Places
The Middle Passage | Life
as a Slave | The Civil
War | Abolition and Its
Aftermath | Reconstruction
and Its Aftermath | Civil
The Middle Passage
The history of the Middle Passage told primarily in pictures from the
book, Middle Passage by Tom Feeling. From
the Juneteenth celebration website.
Captive Passage the Transatlantic
Slave Trade and the Making of the Americas
From the Mariners Museum, this site not only covers the horrors of the
Middle Passage, but gives a wider understanding of the slave trade through
Africa before slavery, early European-African contact, etc. Most important
is its emphasis on slavery in the New World as the first "race-based"
slavery. Excellent choice as an overview site.
12 million Africans were taken in bondage from Africa to the New World
in 350 years. Clearly laid out and easy to navigate, this site chronicles
this horrific journey in essays, maps, and images. From the Schomburg
Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library.
Trial Home Page
Website developed by Professor Douglas Linder of the University of Missouri-Kansas
City School of Law. About the mutiny aboard the slave ship and the ensuing
Many primary documents (trial record, arguments, etc.)
Life as a Slave
Slave Narratives: An Online Anthology
During the Depression, over 2,300 former slaves from across the American South
were interviewed by writers and journalists of the WPA (Works Progress Administration.)
First hand accounts of living under slavery.
Black Resistance: Slavery
in the United States
Virtual slavery exhibit by Afro-American Newspapers. Chronology of slave
Follow the North Star
Because this has a Canadian perspective, it has information on the final
destinations of those fleeing slavery via the Underground Railroad. Click
on "The Story" to enter the site. Notable is the map of black
settlements in Canada under "Touring." Using the drop down menu,
you can see where fugitives settled and what kind of lives they made for
themselves. The "conductors" section gives information on many
conductors who are not mentioned in American sites. The section on "symbolism"
tells how quilts and songs gave coded information to fugitive slaves.
Melrose Interactive Slavery
More than a year in the making, this site takes viewers into Melrose,
a pre-Civil War estate near Natchez, Mississippi. You can experience Melrose
from the perspective of those who were slaves there. All the print on
this site is also read aloud, so it is a good site for reluctant readers.
Lots of eye appeal as well.
In the nineteenth century, it is estimated that at least 50,000 men,
women and children ran away each year trying to make it to freedom. Beautifully
laid out and easy to navigate, this site chronicles their struggle in
essays, maps, and images. From the Schomburg Center for Research in Black
Culture, New York Public Library.
My Escape From Slavery
by Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass' narrative of his escape first published in Century
Illustrated Magazine, November, 1881.
and the Undergroung Railroad
At this site you can browse the alphabetical listing of people who were
involved in the Underground Railroad- "enslaved and freed Blacks,
Whites, Native Americans, and others." Not only are famous people
listed, but everyday people, like Daniel Drayton, who were in the right
place at the right time to help fugitives flee north. From the National
Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
Authoritative all-in-one resource which gives an overview of slavery in
the New World. Includes primary source documents, study aids for students,
visual resources, and a bibliography. From the Gilder Lehrman Institute
which offers this website "to serve as a portal for American history
on the Web; to offer high-quality educational material for teachers, students,
historians, and the public."
This site covers many aspects of slavery in the United States not
covered elsewhere-family life, religion, childhood etc. After an initial
overview essay, first person accounts by slaves themselves make up the
bulk of the site. From the DigitalHistory website, mounted at the University
An interactive site that gives visitors the chance to escape on the Underground
Railroad. Authored by the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC magazine.
Short concise overview of the Underground Railroad from the PBS series Africans
in America. Excellent links.
of the United States Concerning Slavery
Full texts of the statutes concerning slavery in the United States. Avalon
Project of the Yale Law School.
Not many slaves willingly accepted the fate of being owned. This site gives
information on three major slave revolts in the South in addition to a description
of the Amistad affair. Mounted at Washington State University.
North American Slave Narratives
This is a collection of electronic texts that documents the lives of “fugitive
and former slaves published in broadsides, pamphlets, or book form in English
up to 1920.” From the Documenting the American
South Project from
the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The Civil War
Union Army-Colored Troops
Regimental histories of African American troops in the Civil War.
A House Divided
The website explores the United States under Lincoln-slavery, sectionalism,
the Civil War and its aftermath. Clicking on the menu items takes you
into an overview essay and following the forward arrows takes you to visuals
and other primary sources. Mounted at the University of Houston.
History of African-Americans in the Civil War
A short essay on the role of African-Americans
as soldiers in the Civil War. About 10% of the
Union Army was made up of African-Americans. From
the National Park Service Soldiers and Sailors
System. The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System
is a computerized database containing very basic
facts about servicemen who served on both sides
during the Civil War.
Abolition and Its Aftermath
Overview of the Abolition movement. From the American Mosaic site created
by the Library of Congress.
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebration commemorating the ending
of slavery in the United States. This site gives a history of the celebration
from its beginnings in Texas after emancipation until today. Map with
present day celebrations by state.
President Lincoln's words freeing the slaves.
The History of Jim
A long overview of the U.S. segregations laws that divided blacks &
whites, how African-Americans coped, & how these laws were finally
overthrown. From New York Life.
Overview of the Jim Crow laws of United States and the reasons for their demise.
Sponsored by Africana.com.
Every Voice and Sing" by James Weldon Johnson
Words to the Negro National Anthem. Written by James Weldon Johnson and his
brother in 1900. The story of how the NEgro National Anthem was written.
Black Cowboys Part I and
Overview articles on African American cowboys in the West after the Civil War.
Sponsored by Lest We Forget, a black history magazine.
Famous African American cavalry units on the American frontier.
Reconstruction And Its
This site describes the turbulent period after the Civil War and the
varied reactions to it-black and white, north and south. Special emphasis
on politics and economics and their impact on the social goals of African-American
freedom. From the DigitalHistory website, mounted at the University of
The Freedmen’s Bureau
A site, located at the University of Virginia, which outlines the role
of the Freedmen’s Bureau in helping freed slaves to establish a
new life. Browsing the records by topic helps you to see the problems
faced by freed slaves. From the Valley of the Shadow project. Click on
the "room" you are interested in.
Between 1910 and 1925 one-tenth of the country's black population moved
north. Beautifully laid out and easy to navigate, this site chronicles
this migration in essays, maps, and images. From the Schomburg Center
for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library.
Authoritative all-in-one resource which gives an overview of Reconstruction
after the Civil War. Includes primary source documents, study aids for
students, visual resources, and a bibliography. From the Gilder Lehrman
Institute which offers this website "to serve as a portal for American
history on the Web; to offer high-quality educational material for teachers,
students, historians, and the public."
The campaign of Southern whites to deprive newly freed slaves of their political
and economic rights after the Civil War was called Redemption. This site
covers Black Codes, voter disfranchisement, and the Supreme Court’s
sympathy for Southern whites.
Brown vs. Board of
vs. Board of Education
This landmark Supreme Court case settled the question of whether or not "separate
but equal " in education should be the law of the land. Site gives background,
the ruling, and the results of the ruling. PBS.org.
Opinion, Brown vs. Board
Full text of the Supreme Court decision legally ending school segregation.
Brown v. Board of Education
This page outlines the case and decision and gives
information on corresponding cases. For a concise
treatment this is excellent.
A facsimile of a handout from the National Historic
Site, Monroe Elementary School. National Park Service.
Documents Related to Brown v. Board of Education
From the National Archives, this site outlines
the segregated conditions leading up to the Brown
v. Board. Scrolling down the page, you will find
links to documents that shed light on the case.
Also includes an interesting timeline.
Little Rock School Integration Crisis
The integration of Central High School in Little
Rock, Arkansas was an historic test of the Brown
vs. Board of Education of Topeka ruling and school
This website gives a brief outline of the crisis
and many documents which highlight President Eisenhower’s
role in the crisis. From the Dwight D. Eisenhower
An extensive treatment of the Central High desegregating
crisis with picture, sound, and document links
within the text. From the PBS website, Freedom:
The Story of Us.
This site has three items of special interest.
There are extensive biographies of those who crafted
the legal strategy which led to the decision, coverage
of cases before and after the decision which impacted
it, and a well annotated list to civil rights sites
of all kinds. From the Howard University School
Little Rock Central High 40th Anniversary
This site commemorates the integration crisis that centered around Little Rock
Central High School in 1957-58. News clips of the time (use Quick Time to view)
and texts of the school and city newspapers.
Civil Rights Movement
This site has a “database of 5000+ full text,
audio and video (streaming) versions of public speeches,
sermons, legal proceedings, lectures, debates, interviews,
other recorded media events, and a declaration or
two. “Click on “Top 100 Speeches” to
hear Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speeches. Also
included are speeches by Mary Church Terrell, Malcolm
X. and Stokely Carmichael.
Moore's Powerful Days
This man’s photographs of fire hoses and police dogs turned on peaceful
protesters rocked the nation in the 50’s and 60’s. Tells of his life
with excellent examples of his powerful work.
Sitting For Justice
From increase & diffusion, a Smithsonian web
magazine, comes the history of the sit-in of the Woolworth's lunch counter
in Greensboro, N.C. in February of 1960. Also includes audiolinks to civil
rights protest songs.
We Shall Overcome; Historic
Places of the Civil Rights Movement
AT first this site does not look too promising, for it is organized
by historic places in the Civil Rights Movement, with very little tying
these places together. However, it does have overviews which link the
whole. From the National Park Service.
Need for Change
Luther King's, Letter from the Birmingham Jail
A letter which outlines King's philosophy of non-violent protest. From
the University of Pennsylvania.
of Black Liberation
Huge site of links with special emphasis on the Civil Rights Movement, Pan-Africanism,
and black nationalism. From Binghamton University.
Civil Rights Museum
This page gives a virtual tour of the museum, touching concisely on every important
event in the Civil Rights Movement.
Alabama Bus Boycott, 1955
Overview of the bus boycott that brought the struggle for African American
civil rights to the attention of the nation. Covers many activists in addition
to Rosa Parks.
Collection of manifestos and position papers issued by sixties-era organizations
like SNCC and the Black Panthers. Mounted at Virginia Tech. Scroll down to find the link.
This page gives an overview of the Sanitation Workers' Strike, April 3, 1968.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was in Memphis, supporting the strikers, when he was
assassinated. Page includes the text of King’s “I’ve Been
to the Mountaintop” speech. Located at the American Federation of State,
County and Municipal Employees site.
on Washington, 1963
A sample chapter from the Abbeville Press book, The
Civil Rights Movement: A Photographic History by Steven Kasner. This is an
extensive essay on the march. Coverage also includes the politics behind the
march with a section on J. Edgar Hoover’s efforts to scuttle the march
and discredit Dr. King.
Years After The Kerner Report
Thirty-five years ago, the Kerner Report said that this nation was becoming
two societies “one black, one white-separate and unequal.” This
study by the Milton S. Eisenhower Foundations says that the Kerner Report is
true. CNN story.
Freedom Over Me
This site is filled with interviews of young people who took part in Freedom
Summer in Mississippi in 1964. They had to be prepared to be beaten, abused
and killed, as three young men eventually were. Listen to the program on
RealAudio. Read their interviews- their stories in their own words. Slide
show. From American
This site outlines the history of the Congress of Racial Equality. The site is
divided into links to key events and key people. The site opens with an audio
narrative of the history which is very effective.
A Lasting Legacy
History in the Key of Jazz
This PBS site is a companion to Ken Burns' "Jazz." Slavery is
discussed in terms of the effect it had on jazz and how African influences
remained a distinctive part of jazz. The site includes audio and video
segments, as well as links to jazz biographies
of African Place Names in the United States
This is an amazing essay that documents African place name legacy in the
American South. Using Mississippi as an example, Joseph E. Holloway, Ph.D.
shows patterns of Africa dispersion. He has also written a similar article
on Bantu Place Names in South Carolina http://www.slaveryinamerica.org/history/hs_es_placenames_sc.htm
Impact of African Languages on American English
Exploring this essay, you will find just how many African words the average
American uses in his speech. Find out how they were derived from the languages
of the "five or six major cultural groups of West Africans enslaved
in North America."
Literature, Art, and
Of D.C. Hand Dancing
D.C. has its own brand of swing dancing, which originated in the mid-1950’s
and is enjoying a revival today. It is the official dance of the District of
Columbia. This history is
from the D.C. Hand Dance Club.
To Theatrical Dance
A history of the contributions of African Americans to American dance from
the time of slavery to the swing dance era. Also gives a list and information
on professional black dance
in America: Free to Dance
A companion site to a PBS documentary on the African American contributions
to modern dance. Gives a timeline, biographies, and a history.
American Literature: Voices Of Slavery And Freedom
Created by the World Book editors, this website consists of essays divided
by time period. Many links within the essays go to authors' biographies and
important cultural events. Related websites are listed, including many to online
Red Hot Jazz Archive: Jazz before 1930
A site dedicated to the history of jazz before 1930. Information on jazz men
and women and the bands. Note: navigation bar is small and on the bottom of
Biographies from Jazz by Ken Burns
Read about and listen to jazz great at this PBS website.
History of Gospel Music
History of gospel music with information on groups, singers, etc. Also information
on spirituals. Presented by Afrogen.com.
Lincoln Park History
Collaborative project that documents, preserves, and presents the rich
cultural heritage of one of Rockville, Maryland's oldest communities.
Bibliography of articles on Lincoln Park included.
Duke Ellington's Washington
Before the Harlem Renaissance, there was a flourishing African American
artistic community in Washington D.C. It was in this community that Duke
Ellington and many other black Washingtonians were nurtured. This is a
companion site to the PBS special of the same name. Biographical sketches,
a history of the U Street corridor in D.C., and information of the current
revival of that area.
Spring Slave Museum & African Art Gallery
While the website is rather simple, the museum itself has some interesting
exhibits, such as a cross section of a slave ship, a slave cabin, and
an Arts Pavilion that contains "artifacts from across the African
News - Historic Uncle Tom's Cabin Saved
Josiah Henson was one of the first slaves to write his memoirs after escaping
to freedom. This inspired Harriet Beecher her 1852 novel, Uncle Tom's
Cabin. Josiah lived much of his early life in Montgomery County, Maryland
and his cabin has been bought by Montgomery County as a historical site.
This Voice of America News report can be read or listened to or viewed.
From Sailor-Maryland information site, are multiple links to sites about
African Americans in Maryland, past and present.
American Heritage Trail
This site provides information on more than 200 important African American
history sites in Washington, DC. It is searchable by keyword, in addition
to neighborhood and subject. You can also browse by neighbor hood, or
use the clickable map. From Cultural Tourism DC.
Blacks of the Chesapeake, an
Integral Part of Maritime History
Part of the Blacks of Chesapeake project, this site helps
people to contributions that Blacks have made to maritime and seafood
processing industries throughout the Chesapeake region." There is
interesting information about crabbing and oyster tonging on the Bay,
but two subjects of historical interest are the use of the Chesapeake's
streams, swamps, and estuaries to escape slavery http://www.dnr.state.md.us/naturalresource/spring2000/chesapeake.html
and the history of blacks on the Patuxent River http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/aapax.html.
This guide to African-American heritage sites on the Lower Patuxent tells
the story of how blacks maintained their culture and made notable achievements
despite slavery and repression.
Nothing, other than slave narratives, makes the slave appear as a flesh
and blood human being like these ads for runaway slaves in Virginia. This
site is a comprehensive collection of advertisements for runaway and captured
slaves and servants which were published in Virginia newspapers during
the eighteenth century. The website can be searched by any word in the
ad. A Project of the Virginia Center for Digital History.
U Street: City within a City
For the first half of the Twentieth Century, the U Street Corridor attracted
some of the leading African Americans in the arts, business, medicine,
and the law. It was a black city within a city, clustered around Howard
University. This is a site of the U St. Heritage Trail which gives a complete
history of the area, plus maps of the area landmarks, and an extensive
bibliography. From Cultural Tourism DC.
Walk to Canada: Tracing the Underground Railroad
In 1996, Anthony Cohen, a former Montgomery County resident, began a journey
in Sandy Spring, Maryland; he walked one route that slaves took to freedom
via the Underground Railroad into Canada. Located at the Menare Foundation,
dedicated to preserving Undergrond Railroad sites.
Notable Black Washingtonians
The African American community in Washington nurtured many who made their
mark on the nation in many walks of life. This site tells the story of
these people. PBS.org
Tour Archaeology in
Click on the Brice House and Carroll House links to see how African
religions survived the oppression of slavery. Clicking on the Maynard-
Burgess House link will give you information on "changes in African
American lives that ran from slavery, to the Civil Rights movement, to
the present day." From the Historic Annapolis Foundation.