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Black Studies Center

Collection Information


Black Studies Center consists of scholarly journals, commissioned overview essays by top scholars in Black Studies, historic indexes, and The Chicago Defender newspaper from 1910-1975. The components of Black Studies Center are described below.

Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience

Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience is an essential resource created by collaboration between the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and ProQuest. Major topics on the African diaspora experience throughout the Americas are examined with in-depth, scholarly essays accompanied by timelines, important full-text research articles, and images. The thirty essays were commissioned from leading academic Black Studies scholars who surveyed and analyzed the most important research literature in their respective fields. The essays are organized into six major topic areas covering theory, ideology, origins, social conditions, cultural life, and social justice.

Black Studies Periodicals Database (formerly IIBP)

The Black Studies Periodicals Database, formerly known as International Index to Black Periodicals (IIBP), is a major periodical database on Black Studies and culture. The Black Studies Periodicals Database has the largest backfile of retrospective bibliographic citations for Black periodicals from as early as 1902. The Black Studies Periodicals Database covers journals and magazines from the United States, African nations, and the Caribbean. Coverage is international in scope and multidisciplinary, spanning cultural, economic, historical, religious, social, and political issues of vital importance to the Black Studies discipline.

Also included as part of the Journals Search is the very first index to Black serials: The Marshall Index, 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 covers 42 of the leading African-American periodicals between 1940 and 1946. The Marshall Index was published in a revised single-volume print edition by ProQuest in 2002, edited by James Danky and Richard Newman. It is searchable within the journals portion of Black Studies Center.

The Chicago Defender

Black Studies Center provides the historical full-text of one of the most influential black newspapers in the United States, The Chicago Defender. Coverage is from 1910 to 1975. Robert Sengstacke Abbott founded The Defender in May 1905, and by the outbreak of the First World War, it had become the most widely-read Black newspaper in the country, with more than two thirds of its readership based outside Chicago. When Abbott died in 1940, his nephew John Sengstacke became editor and publisher of The Defender, which began publishing on a daily basis in 1956. The first full-text issue presented here is from January 1, 1910. The newspaper was instrumental in the Great Migration of the early twentieth century, in publicizing lynchings in Southern states, and in its use of political cartoons to highlight race issues. Almost two million full-text records offer a broad and valuable archive for researchers.

Black Literature Index

Black Studies Center includes the online index to Black Literature, 1827-1940. Begun at Yale University by Professor John Blassingame and continued by another colleague, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the project was completed by Gates at Harvard's W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research. Since its release, the collection has redefined African American literature. Gates described it as rediscovering "a hermetically sealed library of the Afro-American periodical literature after a century of neglect." 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. Many of the works were published in Black newspapers, and citations from The Chicago Defender are linked to the full-text page article.

Additional Modules

ProQuest Black Newspapers

Nine additional historical Black newspapers are available for purchase and when purchased separately can be searched in Black Studies Center. The newspapers are:

  • Atlanta Daily World (1932-2003)
  • Baltimore Afro-American (1893-1988)
  • Cleveland Call and Post (1934-1991)
  • Los Angeles Sentinel (1934-2005)
  • Michigan Chronicle (1934-2010)
  • New York Amsterdam News (1922-1993)
  • Norfolk New Journal and Guide (1921-2003)
  • Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001)
  • Pittsburgh Courier (1911-2002)

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 create a vast research archive accessible to both novice and experienced researchers. Groundbreaking research has been advanced and enhanced by access to these influential newspapers.

Black Abolitionist Papers

This primary source collection 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 international impact of African American activism against slavery, in the writings 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. Black Abolitionist Papers represents a huge effort by a scholarly team, headed by C. Peter Ripley and George E. Carter, who recognized that African Americans were a pivotal and persuasive force in the 19th-century anti-slavery movement. Black Abolitionist Papers is available as a separate purchase and when purchased separately can be searched in Black Studies Center.