Tuesday, February 2, 2010

African American Authors Online

It’s time for readers everywhere to collect texts for African American Read-Ins and Black History Month celebrations. You probably have some great resources in your library, but the Internet expands your options even further. Not only can you find audio and video recordings of authors reading their works, but you'll find rare texts that are not available anywhere else—like oral histories, personal letters, and even sheet music.

For this week’s blog, I’ve gathered a collection of links to resources that range from 18th century poetry to a blog entry written this week. Click away, read, and marvel at these rich resources. There's enough that you can visit a new site every day this month!

General Background Information

  1. African American History Month, from The Library of Congress
  2. Black History Month, from Biography.com
  3. Black History Month, from EDSITEment
  4. Black History, from The History Channel
  5. Culture and Change: Black History in America, from Scholastic (includes a video interview with Christopher Paul Curtis)


  1. A Brief Chronology of African American Literature, from San Antonio College Lit Web
  2. African American Poets, from Famous Poets and Poems
  3. African American Women Writers of the 19th Century, from The Schomburg Center at the New York Public Library
  4. African-American Women, from Duke University Library
  5. Black History, from Academy of American Poets
  6. Twenty-Eight Days Later, A Black History Month Celebration of Children's Literature, from The Brown Bookshelf (Check the archive links on the right for celebrations from 2008 & 2009 as well as a poster you can download and print)
  7. Video Interviews with children's book authors and illustrators, from Reading Rockets (includes an interview with recent Caldecott Medal winner Jerry Pickney)

Historical and Nonfiction Texts

  1. African-American Quotations, from InfoPlease
  2. African-American Sheet Music, 1850-1920, from the Library of Congress
  3. African American Cultural Heritage Tour, from the Smithsonian Institute
  4. American Slave Narratives: An Online Anthology, from American Studies Hypertexts at the University of Virginia
  5. The Church in the Southern Black Community, from Documenting the American South
  6. Electronic Text Center: African American, from the University of Virginia (Note this site includes texts about African Americans as well as by African Americans, so you will need to help students choose wisely to avoid mistakes.)
  7. In Those Days: African-American Life Near the Savannah River, from the National Park Service
  8. North American Slave Narratives, from Documenting the American South
  9. Notable Speeches and Letters by African Americans, from InfoPlease

Personal Histories

  1. Experience War: Stories from the Veterans History Project, from the Library of Congress
  2. Oral Histories, from the National Visionary Leadership Project, including histories from Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Sonia Sanchez, and Faith Ringgold
  3. StoryCorps Griot, from National Museum of African American History and Culture

Blogs and More

  1. Sharon Draper's Blog Read details on the author’s trip to Africa, and comments on her books Just Another Hero and Sassy.
  2. Nikki Grimes Fan Page Check the Wall for responses from the author to comments posted by her fans.
  3. Alice Walker’s Blog Find new poems, fiction in progress, and a tribute to Walker’s friend, historian Howard Zinn, who passed away last week.


tengrrl said...

Just found another site to add to the list:
African American Sites in the Digital Collections, from the Library of Congress

Marilyn J. Hollman said...

Tracy, what an excellent blog! so varied and useful. I would never had known Alice Walker had a blog if it weren't for you.
Did you notice that she wrote about her memories of Howard Zinn? The Chronicle link is also in this InBox; hers adds another dimension(s, of course.
If you're part of the passionate readers NWP Ning, you will want to read the recent blog about black writers.

Anonymous said...

This is a great listing of resources. I will certainly check out the links as well as share them. Nice post!

Anonymous said...

Great list! You can find many of the books on these lists at an African-American Book Publisher like Lee and Low.

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