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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Afro American Studies

A general guide to library research in Afro American Studies.

Researching Black Freedom Struggle & Media

Library Guide  by Isabel Espinal

for Journalism 395M: The African American Freedom Struggle and the Mass Media

Professor Kathy Roberts Forde

Primary Sources

Primary Sources



  • Music Online: American Song Audio database which documents African American music, including jazz, blues, gospel, ragtime, folk songs, and narratives. Browse by category of music, region, genre, instrument, artist, ensemble, and time period. A playlist option is available.

Newspapers and Magazines

Black newspapers and magazines

* Note: ProQuest databases “Unavailable between 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 28th and 3:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 1st, 2015.”

  • African American Newspapers: The 19th Century - Starting with the Freedom’s Journal in 1827 and continuing in chronological order with the monthly addition of new text, this database plans to ultimately contain the complete text of the major African American newspapers published in the United States during the 19th century. Currently contains the following newspapers: Freedom's Journal, The Coloured American, The North Star, The National Era, Provincial Freeman, Frederick Douglass Paper, and The Christian Recorder.
  • Ethnic NewsWatch Full-text articles from the newspapers, magazines and journals of ethnic communities in the United States, 1965-present.
  • Historical Baltimore Afro-American - Influential black newspaper, searchable, in image files, in full text. First-hand accounts and coverage of the politics, society and events of the time, covering 1893-1988.
  • Historical Chicago Defender Influential black weekly newspaper, searchable, in image files, 1905-1975. The Chicago Defender was at one point the most widely-read black newspaper in the country, with more than two thirds of its readership based outside Chicago.
  • Historical New York Amsterdam News Full text of the paper of record of the New York's African American community, 1922-1993.
  • Historical Pittsburgh Courier The leading newspaper of the African American community in twentieth-century U.S. Covers 1911-2002.

Other newspapers and magazines


Books, Statistics

Spotlight on Historical Pittsburgh Courier

More Databases


The Boston Public Library (BPL) and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) offer all Massachusetts residents remote access to proprietary databases. This includes historical newspapers, government information, and geneaology sources.

Connect to databases for Massachusetts residents at

Secondary Sources

Secondary Sources

  • Academic Search Premier A multidisciplinary database with many literature, linguistics and anthropology journals. 
  • America: History and Life Citations and abstracts for journal articles, dissertations, and book reviews relating to United States and Canadian history. 
  • Arts and Humanities Citation Index In ISI Web of Science, an index to scholarly journals which can be searched by topic, author, source, address or by cited reference. Good resource for academic book reviews.
  • Biography Resource Center Brief biographies from a variety of reference sources.
  • Black Studies Center combines several resources for research and teaching in Black Studies: Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience, International Index to Black Periodicals (IIBP), The Chicago Defender, and the Black Literature Index
  • Communication and Mass Media Complete Communication scholarly journals and trade journals, plus articles on communication topics from related disciplines
  • JSTOR Full-text articles from scholarly journals from many disciplines. From the earliest issue of each journal to between two and five years prior to the present. Therefore, does NOT contain very recent scholarship. 
  • Web of Science Allows multidisciplinary searches combining arts, humanities, social science and science. Good for seeing who cited whom. Good for academic book reviews. 


Audio Recording in the lab


DML Logo

The Digital Media Lab is on the 3rd Floor of Du Bois Library. It is a multimedia production space designed to support students working on course-related multimedia presentations, projects and portfolios.

The Digital Media Lab has specialized production areas including a green screen room for doing chroma-key videos, two sound booths for recording audio, a media viewing room for collaborations and presentation practice, and a flexible workspace with rolling desks and chairs to accommodate individual and group work. The lab has 27” iMac workstations and dual monitor PCs with the full range of multimedia software needed to produce video, interactive presentations, 3-D animation, and music composition.

During staffed hours, students can receive individual instruction, sign up for workshops, and check out audio and video equipment. Note: Equipment check-outs and returns can also be made at the Circulation Desk on the lower level of the library.

For more information or to arrange a tour, contact:
Jeanne Antill 413-545-6959
Dennis Spencer 413-545-8675

Also check out:

Also check out the Journalism Research Guide by Jim Kelly, Librarian for Journalism.

Stay Organized: Use a Citation Manager

Use a citation manager, such as RefWorks to keep track of your research.

Put all your references in RefWorks, create quick and easy bibliographies, build your knowledgebase.


1. Set up your account by clicking on the RefWorks link on the library homepage. From the RefWorks info page, choose "RefWorks Login & New Account Set up." From the login page, choosse "New to RefWorks? - Sign up for an Individual Account." Note: You get to choose your own username and password - make them easy to remember!

2. Get your book citations into RefWorks

Books from UMA WorldCat (a huge combined catalog that includes UMass books)

  1. Go to
  2. Conduct a search and go to an individual item listing.
  3. Click “Cite/Export.” Select "Export to RefWorks" in the pop-up box.
  4. Log into RefWorks.

Books from the Five College Catalog

  1. Conduct a search and go to an individual item listing.
  2. Click "E-Mail/Save" link near the top of the screen.
  3. Under Choose predefined format, select "RefWorks Format." Click "Go."
  4. Click "RefWorks."
  5. Log into RefWorks.

3. Get your journal article citations into RefWorks
Most databases have a way to export citations into RefWorks directly.

4. Print out your bibliography

1.     Click on Bibliography from the menu toolbar.
2.     Select Output Style (APA, MLA, etc.) .
3.     Select Format a Bibliography from a List of References
4.     Select File type to Create (HTML, Word, or text file)
5.     Select the Folder from which the citations are to be taken.
6.     Click Create Bibliography.
7.     Follow the instructions for viewing the file. Remember to save the document before closing. 
Be sure to check the list for accuracy!


If you need more help or info on RefWorks, check out the FAQs.

Spotlight on Music Online: American Song

Music Online: American Song is a history database that allows people to hear and feel the music from America's past. The database includes songs of the Civil Rights Movement. Go to section of database on "Historical Events."

Music, such as:



Speeches (some include music), such as:

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Isabel Espinal
W.E.B. Du Bois Library
University of Massachusetts

Office hours Wednesdays 3-4:30, room 325, New Africa house. Also available by appointment. I can meet via phone, Zoom, or other online venue. To request an online appointment or get any other help, please email or call:
Website Skype Contact: isabel.espinal2010