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AFRI1110 Voices Beneath the Veil, African American Drama from 1858 to Present

A study of African-American history, life and cultures through the analyses of a sampling of plays from 1858-the Present written by Black authors. The pedagogical approach is to develop your critical thought process

A Basic Bibliography of Historical Sources on African American History

This list presents suggestions for researching some key aspects of African American history, organized by topic.  It represents some starting points, but it is by no means comprehensive.  For recommendations on sources covering topics not represented below, please consult one of the Library's many subject librarians.



Breen & Innes, Myne Owne Ground Covers 17th century experience of African Americans in Virginia.

Wood, Slavery in Colonial America. Brief overview by accomplished scholar covering period 1619-1776. Last chapter covers critiques and defenses of slavery. 


White, Arn't I a Woman?. Focuses on the experience of slave women. 

Wood, Women's Work, Men's Work Covers informal slave economies in low country Georgia, focusing on period from 1785 to 1830. 

Ownby, Black and White Cultural Interaction in the Antebellum South Collection of essays. 

Sobel, The World They Made Together. Covers the interactions of blacks and whites on 18th century Virginia plantations. 


Grossman, Land of Hope. Covers movement of African Americans from the rural South to urban Chicago in the early 20th century. 

Painter, Exodusters. Covers movement of African Americans from the rural South to rural Kansas after Reconstruction. 


Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution. THE classic work on Reconstruction.

Vorenberg, Final Freedom. Recent work on the guarantees of the Thirteenth Amendment and it's tortured route to ratification by a Brown faculty member.

Turner (ed), From Chattel Slaves to Wage Slaves. Essays on black workers in the transition from slavery to wage labor in the U. S. and the Caribbean, mid-19th century.


Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow (3rd edition). Covers transition period from Reconstruction into Jim Crow segregation in the South.

Goodman, Stories of Scottsboro. Covers events of the infamous Scottsboro case from a variety of perspectives: the young white female accusers, the black defendants, the lawyers, the judge, local law enforcement and the press.


Frey and Wood, Come Shouting to Zion Covers role of Protestant Christianity in the lives of African Americans of the U. S. South and Anglo-Caribbean.

Campbell, Songs of Zion. Covers the role of the AME Church in U. S. and South Africa. 


Oakes, The Ruling Race. Covers the complex perspective of small slaveholders in the South.

Oakes, "Natural Rights, Citizenship Rights, States' Rights and Black Rights" in Foner (ed.), Our Lincoln. This essay covers the evolution of Lincoln's legal framework for understanding and opposing slavery.

Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom. Focuses on the paradoxical use of slavery as a rhetorical device by Virginia patriots during the Revolutionary War and the implications for the new nation.


Sweet, Bodies Politic Covers the negotiation of racial categories in the North at the turn of the 18th century.

Chan, Slavery in the Age of Reason. Reports on archeological excavation on a New England farm.

Melish, Disowning Slavery. Discusses the end of slavery in Rhode Island under the gradual emancipation act of 1784.

Manegold, Ten Hills Farm. Slavery in the experience of a New England family.