The African American Odyssey presents five Library of Congress collections related to African American history, along with an in-depth Special Presentation based on a Library exhibition, The African American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship. The five collections in The African American Odyssey are:
- Slaves and the Courts, 1740-1860, a collection of 100-plus pamphlets and books that document the experiences of African and African Americans in the colonial and U.S. legal systems from 1740 to 1860.
- From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection, 1824-1909, presenting 397 pamphlets by African Americans. The pamphlets cover such topics as slavery, colonization, emancipation, Reconstruction, and more.
- The Frederick Douglass Papers at the Library of Congress, containing 7,400 letters, speeches, articles, financial and legal papers, and scrapbooks from the great African American abolitionist and his contemporaries, along with a draft of his highly regarded autobiography. The bulk of the collection focuses on the years from 1862 to 1895.
- Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938, including 2,300 oral histories from and 500 pictures of former slaves. The material, collected during the Great Depression, provides varying recollections of slavery and of individuals’ experiences in the years following the Civil War.
- Baseball and Jackie Robinson, a collection of manuscripts, photographs, ephemera, and books on baseball history dating from 1860, focuses on the color line in baseball and Jackie Robinson’s role in breaking that line.
The African American Odyssey does not offer a search function, but each collection can be searched individually; additionally, all can be searched, along with other collections related to African American history, at Search Selected Collections: African American History. Each of the collections within The African American Odyssey has its own Collection Connection.
This Collection Connection centers on the Special Presentation entitled African American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship.
The Special Presentation, which can be searched by Keyword, is based on a special Library exhibition of 240 books, maps, musical scores, plays, films, photographs, and more. It traces the experiences of African Americans through nine chronological periods, beginning with slavery and ending with the Civil Rights era. The presentation emphasizes “the courage and determination of blacks, faced with adverse circumstances, who overcame immense odds to fully participate in all aspects of American society.” Thus, the Special Presentation traces the quest for equality from the resistance to enslavement through the achievements of the Civil Rights movement.