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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Afro American Studies

A general guide to library research in Afro American Studies.

Spotlight on Historical Pittsburgh Courier

Library exhibit & talks

“Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience,” an exciting new traveling exhibition displayed on the Lower Level of W.E.B. Du Bois Library at UMass Amherst from October 12, 2012, to December 7, 2012, examines the challenges faced by African-American baseball players as they sought equal opportunities in their sport beginning in the post-Civil War era.

Programs for the public in connection with the exhibition:

Saturday, Oct. 13, 1:00 pm, Jones Library, Amherst: “The Mighty Jim Crow has Struck Out! The Story of How a Small New England Town Embraced the African-American Ball Player,” a talk by Dan Genovese. The author of two books about 19th century baseball in Western Massachusetts, The Old Ball Ground: The Chronological History of Westfield Baseball, Vol. 1 and The Old Ball Ground: Volume 2: Town Teams & Bush Leaguers, Genovese is captain and co-founder of the Westfield Wheelmen Vintage Base Ball Club.  He is also the author of Rough House, a look at professional basketball in the early 20th century. Genovese was born in Westfield and has played all levels of baseball in Westfield from Little League to college to Vintage Base Ball. He is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). The event is co-sponsored by Jones Library and UMass Amherst.

Thursday, Oct. 25, 4:00 p.m., Lower Level, Du Bois Library, UMass Amherst: “Raceball: How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game,” a talk by Rob Ruck PhD, Senior Lecturer in the History Department at the University of Pittsburgh. The event is also an opening reception for the exhibit “Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience.” Ruck is the author of Sandlot Seasons: Sport in Black Pittsburgh, The Tropic of Baseball: Baseball in the Dominican Republic, Rooney: A Sporting Life and the recently released Raceball: How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game. His documentary work includes Kings on the Hill: Baseball’s Forgotten Men, which won an Emmy for Cultural Programming, and The Republic of Baseball: Dominican Giants of the American Game. He was on the committee that elected eighteen players from the Caribbean and the Negro Leagues to the Hall of Fame in 2006 and recently served as an advisor for Viva Beisbol, the permanent exhibit on Latinos at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Thursday, Nov. 8, 4:00 p.m., Lower Level, Du Bois Library: “Effa Manley, the First Woman Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame,” a talk by Doron Goldman. A former lecturer in the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at UMass Amherst, Doron “Duke” Goldman is currently a baseball historian and presenter as well as an elder care researcher.   At UMass Amherst, Doron taught a course called “Baseball: Myths and Legends.”  A longtime member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), his interests are the Negro Leagues and baseball’s integration, as well as baseball’s role in the ongoing struggle for social justice in America.

Thursday, Nov. 29, 4:00 p.m., Lower Level, Du Bois Library: “Red, Black, and Green: The Red Sox, Race and Pumpsie Green,” a talk by Rob Weir. Weir has published four books on the American labor movement: The Changing Landscape of Labor (with Michael Jacobson-Hardy); Beyond Labor's Veil: The Culture of the Knights of Labor; Knights Unhorsed: Internal Conflict in a Gilded Age Social Movement; and The Historical Encyclopedia of American Labor (with James Hanlan).  Weir is a lecturer of history at UMass Amherst and has taught at Bay Path College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and Mount Ida College, and was a senior Fulbright scholar in New Zealand.

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Writing & Research

1924 Negro League World Series

History 591FG- First Generation: Urbanism and Breaking Baseball's Color Barrier

Library guide created by Curtis Small, student in the Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science Masters program. Fall 2012.

Books From the Five College Catalog

This is a very small sampling of titles that are available in the Five College Catalog. 

Quick Search: UMA WorldCat

 UMA WorldCat - a discovery tool that helps you find a wide range of materials using a single search. Books, journals, articles, videos and more can be located.


Primary Sources

  • Black Thought and Culture Contains 619 sources with 246 authors which includes the nonfiction published works of leading African Americans.
  • 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 Boston Globe The entire Boston Globe, searchable, in image files, 1872-1924.
  • Historical Chicago Defender Influential black weekly newspaper, searchable, in image files, 1905-1975.
  • Historical New York Amsterdam News Full text of the paper of record of the New York's African American community, 1922-1993.

Secondary Sources

  • Academic Search Premier A multidisciplinary database with many literature, linguistics and anthropology journals. Citations can be saved to a folder and exported directly to RefWorks.
  • America: History and Life Citations and abstracts for journal articles, dissertations, and book reviews relating to United States and Canadian history. Citations can exported directly to RefWorks.
  • 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. IIBP provided indexing and abstracting of 150 African, American and Caribbean periodicals, with full text of forty core journals. 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.
  • 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. Citations can be exported directly into RefWorks.
  • Web of Science Allows multidisciplinary searches combining arts, humanities, social science and science. Good for seeing who cited whom. Good for academic book reviews. Citations, abstracts, and other information can be saved in a text file and imported into RefWorks.

Tips for Databases

  1. From off-campus, an OIT Computer Account is required to access licensed databases.
  2. Use the Database Searching Log to keep track of your searches and search strategies.
  3. Use RefWorks to manage your citations and create your bibliography.
  4. After you've run a search, use the button to retrieve articles or to be taken directly to Interlibrary Loan, so you can order the article if UMass does not have it.

More Databases

For even more historical databases, get a free eCard from the Boston Public Library.

The Boston Public Library (BPL) and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners offer all Massachusetts residents remote access to proprietary databases. Includes:


We order for you - for free!

Use your Interlibrary Loan account to:

  • Borrow books, videos, and other materials not available in the Five College system.
  • Request electronic copies of articles and book chapters not available at UMass.
  • In databases, and in your Refworks account, use the button to  taken directly to Interlibrary Loan, so you can request articles if UMass does not have them.

Web Sites

Learn about journals and journal artices!

What articles are prominent in my field?
2-minute video on using "Web of Science" to find highly-cited articles.

What's a peer-reviewed journal?
Many of our journals are peer-reviewed. If you don't know what that means or why it matters, watch this video.

Featured Journals

Why journals?

Academic journals are great for browsing, keeping up to date with research trends, and getting ideas.

They show what scholars in History and African American and Women's Studies are writing about today (and in the past if you go to the back issues).

They also give you an idea of how scholars in History and African American and Women's Studies write.

Black Ball: A Journal of the Negro Leagues

Journal of Negro History


Journal of African American History


Journal of American History

Writing Tools

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