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Sources for Images on African American History


The Prints and Photographs Division's substantial holdings of photographs, prints, posters, and drawings include many works relating to the history of blacks in America from the slavery period through the civil rights era. There is no single, comprehensive list of the holdings relating to African American history. It is best to make a selection by visiting the Prints and Photographs Division or by requesting images of specific people or events. Written requests for such images can be answered when limited to no more than fifteen items.

Jump to: Reference Aids | Tips for Searching P&P Online Catalog | Publications | Online Exhibits | How to Order Photographic Reproductions

Reference Aids

The following reference aids have been prepared to assist researchers in identifying and locating material:

Tips for Searching the P&P Online Catalog

Catalog records for images relating to African American history can be found in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog. Please note that the online catalog is not a comprehensive listing of all of the images in the holdings of the Prints and Photographs Division (the introductory page of the catalog describes its scope).

Because of changes in terminology over time and the various cataloging conventions used in preparing catalog records for different collections, not all listings for images relating to African Americans will be found by searching the term African Americans.

  • Many records use the official Library of Congress subject heading African Americans or the earlier heading Afro-Americans.
  • Records converted from early cataloging efforts use the term Negroes.
  • In addition, records can be found by searching topics, events, organizations, and movements relating to African American history, such as: Fugitive slaves, Integration, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Washington, D.C., 1963. In order to identify relevant terms when searching particular collections, it is often helpful to browse the list of subject headings used in the catalog records for that collection--an option offered on the collection search screen.


The following publications include several pictures from our files and can thus be of help in locating images. Please note that only pictures credited specifically to the Library of Congress can be ordered from us. In requesting copies of these pictures, we suggest that you send a xerox of the image as well as a complete citation for the book from which it was taken (including page number).

The African-American Mosaic: A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture. Edited by Debra Newman Ham. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1993.
[LC call number: Z1361.N39L47 1993 P&P Afr-Amer]

Boime, Albert. The Art of Exclusion: Representing Blacks in the Nineteenth Century. Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989. [LC call number: N8232.B57 1989 P&P Afr-Amer]

Campbell, Edward D.C. Before Freedom Came: African-American Life in the Antebellum South: To Accompany an Exhibition Organized by the Museum of the Confederacy. Richmond: The Museum of the Confederacy; Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1991. [LC call number: E443.B44 1991 P&P Afr- Amer]

Cashman, Sean Dennis. African-Americans and the Quest for Civil Rights, 1900-1990. New York: New York University Press, 1991. [LC call number: E185.61.C292 1991 P&P Afr-Amer]

Christopher, Maurine. Black Americans in Congress. Revised ed. New York: T.Y. Crowell, 1976. [LC call number: E185.96.C5 1976]

Creative Fire. By the editors of Time-Life Books. (African Americans, Voices of Triumph). Alexandria, Va.: Time-Life Books, 1994. [LC call number: NX512.3.A35.A37 1994 P&P Afr-Amer]

Crew, Spencer R. Field to Factory: Afro-American Migration, 1915- 1940. Washington, D.C.: Dept. of Public Programs, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, 1987.
[LC call number: E185.6.C92 1987 P&P Afr- Amer]

Dornfeld, Margaret. The Turning Tide: From the Desegregation of the Armed Forces to the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1948-1956). New York and Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 1995. [LC call number: E185.615.D654 1995 P&P Afr-Amer]

Dumond, Dwight Lowell. Antislavery: The Crusade for Freedom in America. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1961. [LC call number: E441.D84 P&P Afr-Amer]

Ebony Pictorial History of Black America. 4 vols. Chicago: Johnson Pub., 1971- . [LC call number: E185.E23 P&P Afr-Amer]

Harley, Sharon. The Timetables of African-American History: A Chronology of the Most Important People and Events in African-American History. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995. [LC call number: E185.H295 1995 P&P Afr-Amer]

Horton, James Oliver and Lois E. Horton, eds. A History of the African American People: The History, Traditions & Culture of African Americans. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1997. [LC call number: E185.H56 1997 P&P Afr-Amer]

Hughes, Langston, Milton Meltzer, and C. Eric Lincoln. A Pictorial History of Blackamericans. 4th rev. ed. of A Pictorial History of the Negro in America. New York: Crown Publishers, [1973]. [LC call number: E185.H83 1973 P&P Afr-Amer] (Many of the same images also published in: African American History: Four Centuries of Black Life. New York: Scholastic, 1990.) [LC call number: E185.H83 1990 P&P Afr- Amer]

Kaplan, Sidney. The Black Presence in the Era of the American Revolution, 1770-1800. Washington, D.C.: National Portrait Gallery, 1973. [LC call number: E185.96.K36 1973 P&P Afr-Amer]

Leadership. By the editors of Time-Life Books. (African Americans, Voices of Triumph). Alexandria, Va.: Time-Life Books, 1993. [LC call number: E185.A2585 1994 P&P Afr-Amer]

Low, W. Augustus, ed. Encyclopedia of Black America. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1981. [LC call number: E185.E55]

Lucas, Eileen. Civil Rights: The Long Struggle. Springfield, N.J.: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 1996. [LC call number: JC599.U5L78 1996 P&P Afr-Amer]

Natanson, Nicholas. The Black Image in the New Deal: the Politics of FSA Photography. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1992. [LC call number: E185.6.N245 1992 P&P Afr-Amer]

Pederson, Jay P. and Kenneth Estell, eds. African American Almanac. [Detroit]: U X L, 1994. 3 vols. [LC call number: E185.A2515 1994 P&P Afr-Amer]

Newman, Gerald and Eleanor Newman Layfield. Racism: Divided by Color. Springfield, N.J.: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 1995. [LC call number: HT1521.N47 1995 P&P Afr-Amer]

Patterson, Charles. The Civil Rights Movement. New York: Facts on File, 1995. [LC call number: E185.61.P32 1995 P&P Afr-Amer]

Perseverance. By the editors of Time-Life Books. (African Americans, Voices of Triumph). Alexandria, Va.: Time-Life Books, 1993. [LC call number: E185.A259 1993 P&P Afr-Amer]

Some Time Ago: A Historical Portrait of Black Americans from 1850-1950. Selected by Chester Higgins; text by Orde Coombs. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1980.
[LC call number: E185.S593 1980 P&P Afr- Amer]

Smith, C. Carter, ed. The Black Experience. (American historical images on file). New York: Facts on File, 1990. [LC call number: E185.B573 1990 P&P Afr- Amer]

Smith, Edward D. Climbing Jacob's Ladder: The Rise of Black Churches in Eastern American Cities, 1740- 1877. Washington, D.C.: Published for the Anacostia Museum of the Smithsonian Institution by the Smithsonian Instituion Press, 1988. [LC call number: BR563.N4S573 1988 P&P Afr-Amer]

Vlach, John Michael. Back of the Big House: The Architecture of Plantation Slavery. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993. [LC call number: E443.V58 1993 P&P Afr-Amer]

Wright, Richard. 12 Million Black Voices. New York: Viking Press, 1941. [LC call number: E185.6.W9 P&P Ref]

Year's Pictorial History of the American Negro. Maplewood, N.J.: C.S. Hammond & Company, 1965. [LC call number: E185.Y4 P&P]

Yetman, Norman R. Life Under the "Peculiar Institution": Selections from the Slave Narrative Collection. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1970. [LC call number: E444.Y4 P&P Afr- Amer]

The Young Oxford history of African Americans. New York : Oxford University Press, 1995-1997. 11 vols. [LC call number: E185.Y68 1995 P&P - Afr-Amer]

Online Exhibits

Several Library of Congress exhibitions have drawn on Prints and Photographs holdings relating to African American history. Recent exhibitions include an "object list" that cites reproduction numbers needed for ordering photographic copies of materials through the Library of Congress Duplication Services:

How To Order Photographic Reproductions

Reproductions may be ordered through the Library of Congress Duplication Services when adequate identifying information (a reproduction number or, if none exists, the call number of the original) is provided. Requests for identifying information should be addressed to: Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540-4730. Such requests are subject to the fifteen item search limit mentioned above.

Prepared by: Barbara Orbach Natanson, Reference Specialist, August, 1 998. Last revised: March 2001.

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  December 14, 2012
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