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A guide for finding resources related to the African American experience. This guide highlights a variety of genres and authors (non-fiction, urban fiction, poetry, film, music, etc ) across a number of formats (print, electronic, audio/video).
Last Updated: Nov 10, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates


Black History

The links in this section of the guide are sometimes termperamental. If the link doesn't work the first time you click on it, please try again.

If you still are not taken to the apporopriate resources, please contact the library or Thank you!

Local History

  • Upper Mississippi Valley Digital Image Archive
    Photo archive!
    Suggested keywords for searching for related resources:
    "African Americans"
  • Iowa Heritage Digital Collection
    Free, online repository of Iowa history and culture maintained by the State Library of Iowa created by bringing together a digital collection of documents, images, maps, finding aids, interpretive and educational materials, and other media from collections held by a wide range of organizations throughout Iowa

    Suggested search terms:
    "African Americans"

Slavery & Slave Narratives

  • Online Catalog Results for "Slave Narratives"
    36+ resources on slavery, slave narratives, & the Underground Railroad in the United States. Includes books, anthologies, ebooks,
  • Online Catalog Results for "Slaves' Writings, American"
    Slave narratives and readings of slaves
  • Online Catalog Results for "Plantation Life"
    25 results that have been classified (tagged) with the keywords "Plantation Life". Includes books and eresources.
  • Online Catalog results for "Emancipation"
    Books that discuss emancipation & the Emancipation Proclamation.
  • Online Catalog results for general search for "Slaves"
    74+ resources on the subject of "slaves". Includes books, ebooks, and audio/visual resources.
  • Online Catalog results for "Slavery"
    Resources pertaining to slavery
  • PBS History Detectives: Slave Songbook
    Watch the full segment from the History Detectives Special celebrating African American contributions to music. The president of the Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum in Culver City, California, recently discovered an unusual book in his late mother's extraordinary collection of African-American artifacts. The small, cloth-bound book, titled Slave Songs of the United States, has a publication date of 1867 and contains a collection of 136 plantation songs. Could this be the first book of African-American spirituals ever published? HISTORY DETECTIVES host Wes Cowan visits a music historian in Los Angeles to explore the coded messages and the melodies that laid the foundation of modern blues, gospel and protest songs of future generations. He also meets with Washington, DC's Howard University Choir for a special concert of selections from Slave Songs sung in the traditional style of mid-1800s spirituals.



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The Civil Rights Act Of 1964 - Judy L. Hasday
Call Number: J 342.73085 HAS
ISBN: 9780791093559
Publication Date: 2007-05-01

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Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott - Karen Latchana Kenney
Call Number: J323.092 KE
ISBN: 9781624038846
Publication Date: 2015-09-01
This title will inform readers about Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, others who were involved, like Martin Luther King Jr., the Supreme Court's decision to desegregate public buses, and the national civil rights movement to follow. Vivid details, well-chosen photographs, and primary sources bring this story and this case to life."--

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Beyond Slavery - Ann Byers
Call Number: J 323.1196 BYERS ANN
ISBN: 9780766075474
Publication Date: 2016-07-15
Really free? 1865-1866 -- Freedom is not equality: 1865-1877 -- Separate is not equal: 1877-1915 -- Accomplishment is not equality: 1915-1941 -- Gaining ground: 1941-1965 -- Exercising power: 1966-1972 -- Are we there yet?: beyond 1972.

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Speech, Media, and Protest - Robert J. Pauly; Tom Lansford (Editor)
Call Number: J 323.443 PAULY ROB
ISBN: 9781422236338
Publication Date: 2016-01-01
Discusses how the freedom of speech and expression are a vital part of any democracy.


Civil Rights

Books on Civil Rights History:

  1. African American women civil rights workers -- Biography. & African American women civil rights workers -- Biography -- Juvenile literature.
  2. African Americans -- Civil rights -- History -- 20th century -- Sources.
  3. African Americans -- Civil rights -- Juvenile literature.
  4. African Americans -- Civil rights -- History -- Juvenile literature.
  5. African Americans -- Civil rights -- Iowa -- History -- 19th century.
  6. African Americans -- Civil rights -- Southern States -- History -- 20th century.
  7. Segregation in education -- United States
  8. African Americans -- Education.
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Blood of Emmett Till, The - Timothy B. Tyson
Call Number: 364.134 TYSON TIM
ISBN: 9781476714844
Publication Date: 2017-01-31
"The event that launched the civil rights movement--the 1955 lynching of young Emmett Till--now reexamined by an award-winning author with access to never-before-heard accounts from those involved as well as recently recovered court transcripts from the trial,"--NoveList.

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Invisible Hawkeyes - Lena M. Hill (Editor); Michael D. Hill (Editor)
ISBN: 9781609384418
Publication Date: 2016-11-15
By looking at the University of Iowa and a smaller midwestern college town like Iowa City, this collection reveals how fraught moments of interracial collaboration, meritocratic advancement, and institutional insensitivity deepen our understanding of America's painful conversion into a diverse republic committed to racial equality.

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Life upon These Shores - Henry Louis Gates
Call Number: 973.0496073 GAT
ISBN: 9780307476852
Publication Date: 2013-10-29
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., gives us a sumptuously illustrated, landmark book tracing African American history from the arrival of the conquistadors to the election of Barack Obama. Informed by the latest, sometimes provocative scholarship, and including more than eight hundred images--ancient maps, art, documents, photographs, cartoons, posters--Life Upon These Shores focuses on defining events, debates, and controversies, as well as the achievements of people famous and obscure. Gates takes us from the sixteenth century through the ordeal of slavery, from the Civil War and Reconstruction through the Jim Crow era and the Great Migration; from the civil rights and black nationalist movements through the age of hip-hop on to the Joshua generation.

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March Against Fear, The - Ann Bausum
ISBN: 9781426326653
Publication Date: 2017-01-03
Critically acclaimed author Ann Bausum brings this crucial turning point of civil rights history back to life, escorting you along the dusty Mississippi roads where heroic marchers endured violence, rage, and fear as they walked more than 200 miles in the name of equality and justice."--Provided by publisher.

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Say It Loud - Catherine Ellis (Editor); Stephen Drury Smith (Editor)
Call Number: 973.0496 ELL
ISBN: 9781595581136
Publication Date: 2010-08-31

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Words of Protest, Words of Freedom - Jeffrey Lamar Coleman (Editor)
Call Number: 811.5408 WO
ISBN: 9780822350927
Publication Date: 2012-03-09



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Black Lives Matter - Sue Bradford Edwards
Call Number: YA 305.896 EDWAR SUE
ISBN: 9781624038983
Publication Date: 2016-01-01
Contents: Michael Brown and Ferguson -- Black Lives in America -- Oscar Grant -- Unequal Justice -- Trayvon Martin -- Police Protection -- Renisha McBride -- Calling for Change.

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The Crunk Feminist Collection - Brittney C. Cooper (Editor); Robin M. Boylorn (Editor); Susana M. Morris (Editor)
ISBN: 9781558619432
Publication Date: 2017-01-10
"For the Crunk Feminist Collective, their academic day jobs were lacking in conversations they actually wanted-relevant, real conversations about how race and gender politics intersect with pop culture and current events. To address this void, they started a blog. Now with an annual readership of nearly one million, their posts foster dialogue about activist methods, intersectionality, and sisterhood. And the writers' personal identities-as black women; as sisters, daughters, and lovers; and as television watchers, sports fans, and music lovers-are never far from the discussion at hand.

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When Justice Isn't Just (DVD)
Directed by Oscar-nominated and NAACP Image Award winner David Massey, this dynamic documentary features legal experts, local activists, and law enforcement officers delving into ongoing charges of inequality, unfair practices, and politicized manipulations of America's judicial system. Additionally, the Black Lives Matter movement and citizens nationwide question the staggering number of police shootings of unarmed Black men and women.

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Locking up Our Own - James Forman
Call Number: 364.973 FO
ISBN: 9780374189976
Publication Date: 2017-04-18
An original and consequential argument about race, crime, and the law Today, Americans are debating our criminal justice system with new urgency. Mass incarceration and aggressive police tactics -- and their impact on people of color -- are feeding outrage and a consensus that something must be done. But what if we only know half the story? In Locking Up Our Own, the Yale legal scholar and former public defender James Forman Jr. weighs the tragic role that some African Americans themselves played in escalating the war on crime. As Forman shows, the first substantial cohort of black mayors, judges, and police chiefs took office around the country amid a surge in crime. Many came to believe that tough measures -- such as stringent drug and gun laws and "pretext traffic stops" in poor African American neighborhoods -- were needed to secure a stable future for black communities. Some politicians and activists saw criminals as a "cancer" that had to be cut away from the rest of black America. Others supported harsh measures more reluctantly, believing they had no other choice in the face of a public safety emergency. Drawing on his experience as a public defender and focusing on Washington, D.C., Forman writes with compassion for individuals trapped in terrible dilemmas -- from the young men and women he defended to officials struggling to cope with an impossible situation. The result is an original view of our justice system as well as a moving

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They Can't Kill Us All - Wesley Lowery
Call Number: 305.896 LOWER WES
ISBN: 9780316312479
Publication Date: 2016-11-15
The story -- Ferguson : a city holds its breath -- Cleveland : coming home -- North Charleston : caught on camera -- Baltimore : life pre-indictment -- Charleston : Black death is Black death -- Ferguson, again : a year later, the protests continue -- Three days in July.

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Race in America - Susan Henneberg (Editor)
Call Number: YA 305.8009 RA
ISBN: 9781534500228
Publication Date: 2017-01-01
Are we living in a post-racial society? We can achieve a more perfect union / Barack Obama -- There is a significant wealth gap between black and white households / Rakesh Kochhar and Richard Fry -- Black and white Americans differ widely in their views on race relations / Renee Stepler -- White moderates have stopped fighting for racial justice / Christopher Sebastian Parker and Megan Ming Francis -- With urban gentrification racial inequality remains / Jackelyn Hwang -- Is race overemphasized? Race is a social, not scientific construct / Darren Curnoe -- The media is biased against people of color / Maisha Z. Johnson -- Native Americans are stereotyped in the media / Farah Qureshi -- We are not a color-blind society / Meghan L. Mills -- Black Lives Matter is a response to racial violence / Boundless -- Is justice color-blind?. Inequality in justice begins early / Esther Canty-Barnes -- Black drug offenders are more likely to go to jail / Saki Knafo -- Mass incarcerations are damaging neighborhoods / Robert D. Crutchfield and Gregory A. Weeks -- Racial profiling is only useful in victimless crimes / Sheldon Richman -- Police culture supports institutional racism / Redditt Hudson -- Police are committed to protecting all lives / Tim Barfield -- Can the United States overcome its history of racism? Racial problems are American problems / Matt Bernhard -- Eliminating racism requires personal transformation / Scot Nakagawa -- Perceived equalities can mean a step backward / Jamelle Bouie -- Even talking about race brings about unease / Sarah Lapido Manyika -- Affirmative action is racial discrimination / Jennifer Gratz -- Despite oppression, black women are thriving / Lakisha Watson-Moore.

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We Gon' Be Alright - Jeff Chang
Call Number: 305.8009 CH
ISBN: 9780312429485
Publication Date: 2016-09-13
"In his most recent book, Who We Be, Jeff Chang looked at how art and culture effected massive social changes in American society. Since the book was published, the country has been gripped by waves of racial discord, most notably the protests in Ferguson, Missouri. In these highly relevant, powerful essays, Chang examines some of the most contentious issues in the current discussion of race and inequality. Built around a central essay looking at the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the events in Ferguson, Missouri, surrounding the death of Michael Brown, Chang questions the value of "the diversity discussion" in an era of increasing racial and economic segregation. He unpacks the return of student protest across the country and reveals how the debate over inclusion and free speech was presaged by similar protests in the 1980s and 1990s. The author of Can't Stop Won't Stop looks at how culture impacts our understanding of the politics of this polarized moment. Throughout these essays Chang includes the voices of many of the leading activists as he charts how popular voices on the ground and in social media have catalyzed the push for protest and change."

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The War on Cops - Heather Mac Donald
Call Number: 363.20973 MACDO HEA
ISBN: 9781594038754
Publication Date: 2016-06-21
It has been call the "Ferguson effect": Since the 2014 police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, officers have been backing off of proactive policing, and criminals are becoming emboldened. Mac Donald deconstructs the central narrative of the Black Lives Matter movement: that racist cops are the greatest threat to young black males. She argues that it is criminals and gangbangers who are responsible for the high black homicide death rate and that no government agency is more dedicated to the proposition that "black lives matter" than today's data-driven, accountable police department.


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