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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Afro American Studies

A general guide to library research in Afro American Studies.

About databases

These online databases and periodical indexes can help you search for full-text articles or allow you to locate citation information for articles in Afro American Studies. If you are not sure which database to choose, please contact a reference librarian. For library databases in all subjects, go to the database locator.

Please note: Many of our electronic resources have restricted access from off-campus and are only available to UMass-Amherst students, faculty or staff with a UMass account.


  1. Use RefWorks to save and organize your references. Most databases have a way to export citations into RefWorks directly.
  1. Use the Database Searching Log to keep track of your  search strategies in different databases.

Spotlight on Historical Pittsburgh Courier

Video about use of Historical Pittsburgh Courier:

Databases for Afro American Studies


After you've run a search, use the button to retrieve articles.

It will find the full text of your article online if it's available through the libraries. Or, it will search the library catalog for you to see if we have your article in print--or let you request it via Interlibrary Loan.


Some primary sources

Mary Church Terrell, "What Role Is the Educated Negro Woman to Play in the Uplifting of Her Race?" in Twentieth Century Negro Literature, Or a Cyclopedia of Thought on the Vital Topics Relating to the American Negro, ed. and arranged by D. W. Culp (Naperville, Ill.: J. L. Nichols, 1902), pp. 172-77.

From the database:

The Colored American/Weekly Advocate

On January 7, 1837 Phillip A. Bell began to publish a weekly newspaper called Weekly Advocate. From the beginning, one of the major goals of this newspaper was to educate its subscribers, and much information appeared in a list format including: principal railroads, lengths of rivers, heights of principal mountains, principal colleges in the United States and the principal features of various countries of the nations of the earth.

On March 4, 1837, issue number 9 of the newspaper was published under the new name of The Colored American, with Samuel E. Cornish as editor. The new motto was “RIGHTEOUSNESS EXALTETH A NATION,” and the paper was “…designed to be the organ of Colored Americans—to be looked on as their own, and devoted to their interests—through which they can make known their views to the public—can communicate with each other and their friends, and their friends with them; and to maintain their well-known sentiments on the subjects of Abolition and Colonization, viz.—emancipation without expatriation—the extirpation of prejudice—the enactment of equal laws, and a full and free investiture of their rights as men and citizens…

From the database: