PUL honors Black History Month

In celebration of Black History Month, Princeton University Library (PUL) highlights the following e-resources and research guides that speak to the contributions of Black leaders and communities.

Updated Newspaper Access (2024)

Nameplate of The Afro-American Ledger, September 6, 1913

We have expanded coverage of African American Newspapers through ProQuest Historical Newspapers, including: 

  • Baltimore Afro-American 

  • Cleveland Call & Post 

  • Kansas City Call 

  • Los Angeles Sentinel 

  • Louisville Defender 

  • New York Amsterdam News 

  • Norfolk Journal & Guide 

  • Philadelphia Tribune 


Rare Book Acquisitions 

The Life and Adventures of Zamba, 1847. The text under the portrait reads "African negro slave".

We’ve added a handful of rare books to our catalog, including: 

New Digitization: Southern Conference Educational Fund 

We've recently acquired the digitized records of one of the pioneering civil rights organizations in the American South: Civil rights and social activism in the South - James A. Dombrowski and the Southern Conference Educational Fund.

Digital periodicals and newspapers


American Prison Newspapers, 1800-2020

PUL can provide access to the following digital periodicals and newspapers:

·         American Prison Newspapers, 1800-2020

·         Ebony, 1945-2014

·         Chicago Daily Defender, 1973-2010

·         Chicago Weekly Defender, 1976-2010

·         Jet, 1980-1989 (more years coming soon)


Romus Broadway historic photo collection

Romus Broadway Photographs of the Witherspoon-Jackson Community of Princeton, New Jersey; Manuscripts Division, Department of Sp

Romus Broadway Photographs of the Witherspoon-Jackson Community of Princeton, New Jersey; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

These photos, which were acquired in fall 2021 by PUL’s Special Collections, were part of Romus Broadway’s work to document his beloved neighborhood. Born in Belle Mead in 1939, Broadway relocated to Princeton with his parents at the age of four. He graduated from Princeton High School, after which he served in the Air Force and worked for American Airlines until 1969.  

Ledgers documenting free Black communities now available at PUL

Page from Hogeboom of “Peter the Negro.” Given the lack of a surname this was probably an enslaved person who was either “rented

Page from Hogeboom of “Peter the Negro.” Given the lack of a surname this was probably an enslaved person who was either “rented out” by his enslaver or was allowed to work for wages when he could. Photo credit: Alexis Antracoli.

PUL has collected more than 20 items from the 19th century documenting free Black communities that are now available for digitization requests. The items, which include coverage of the Reconstruction era and its labor conditions, are some of the few pieces of documentation about the communities from that time.  Among them are ledgers documenting the receipts and payments of country stores, taverns, mills, and farming enterprises whose employees and customers included free Black people. 

Now online: Reconstruction: America after the Civil War

 America after the Civil War

This film, originally broadcast in 2019, sees Henry Louis Gates Jr. present an examination of one of the most consequential and least understood chapters in U.S. history when, after the Civil War, the nation struggled to reunite North and South while living up to the promise of citizenship for millions of freed African Americans.

PUL acquires more first editions of Frederick Douglass’s works
Frederick Douglass Circa 1879

Princeton University Library (PUL) has begun building a collection of early editions of autobiographies from renowned abolitionist, suffragist, and human rights leader Frederick Douglass. The collection, held in PUL’s Special Collections in Firestone Library, added two new items: “Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave, 1849 ed.,” and “Life and times of Frederick Douglass, written by himself.”

The HistoryMakers

Screenshot of the history makers website

PUL provides faculty, students, and staff access to The HistoryMakers, a database of oral history interviews with more than 2,600 historically significant African Americans in fields such as the arts, business, education, entertainment, the law, the military, politics, religion, and science. This primary source collection provides access to the testimonies of leaders such as civil rights leader John Lewis, actress Whoopie Goldberg, and mathematician Katherine Johnson of "Hidden Figures." Interviews are provided through video with transcripts available.

Featured E-Resource: Black Arts Research Guide 

Malvin Gray Johnson. Nat Turner, 1934. New York Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Art & Artifacts

This guide highlights resources related to Black arts from the 1800s up to the present and compiles databases and primary source materials, including the Princeton University Art Museum's African American Print Collection, a digital library of published works documenting the history of the Americas from 1492 to the mid-1800s, as well as several collections on the history of the Atlantic world, from British archives.


PUL Remembers the life and legacy of bell hooks

bell hooks, Samuel R Delany, M Lamar, and Marci Blackman - at the New School discussing transgressive sexual practice

bell hooks was an activist, author, feminist, poet, professor, and scholar, and from reading accounts from those who were blessed to know bell hooks personally, a phemeonal family member, friend and teacher. This post provides links to PUL catalog items by hooks. 

Featured E-Resource: Black Lives Matter research guide for systemic racism and activism

 Black Lives matter sign in minneapolis

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons.

To support research related to the Black Lives Matter movement, this Princeton University Library research guide features information about systemic racism and activism. Resource categories include recent books by Princeton faculty members, race and antiracism, Princeton students and librarians recommend, environmental racism, science and racism, web-based resources, and reporting bias or harassment. 

Ephemera about Black economic life

Madam C.J. Walker

In an effort to place more emphasis on Black economic life, PUL has acquired a few items of ephemera related to African American beauty companies, which represent a key industry in which female Black entrepreneurs made their mark in the early 20th century.

Additionally, Information about the economic life of rural "free blacks" of the nineteenth century is quite scarce.  But, we've discovered there are "ledger books" which were kept by country store owners, farmers, etc., that often detailed economic transactions with African American laborers and farmers. 


A visual record of the civil rights movement at Marquand Library

  congressman john lewis stands at a podium

Congressman John Lewis. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons.

In honor of congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis (1940-2020), Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology has created a collection of books that visually document the 1960s Civil Rights movement. Among other items, this list features art and photography books that include events like the 1963 March on Washington, which Lewis helped to organize, and the 1965 march for voters’ rights from Selma to Montgomery, during which (on Mar. 7 - Bloody Sunday) Lewis and his fellow demonstrators were beaten by Alabama police.

Notable books on systemic racism, racial justice, and anti-racism, available at PUL

 michelle obama stands in a crowd

Michelle Obama, Class of 1985. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons.

To encourage learning and research in systemic racism, racial justice, and anti-racism, Princeton University Library staff highlight the following notable books available at the Library.

PUL builds a nearly comprehensive collection of newspapers published for African American audiences 

collection of african american newspapers

Princeton University Library has begun a nearly comprehensive collection of current newspapers published for African American audiences.
Photo by Steven Knowlton, Princeton University Library.

PUL has begun a nearly comprehensive collection of current newspapers published for African American audiences throughout the United States, featuring 72 newspapers from cities and towns in 32 states, ranging from New York City to Eutaw, Alabama.

Highlighting archival materials about and by Black and Latinx communities: Selections from the Mudd Library blog

James Ward and Arthur Wilson outside of Laughlin Hall in 1946

James Everett Ward ‘47 (left) and Arthur Jewell Wilson ‘47 (right) were two of the first four known African American undergraduates to enroll at Princeton University, photographed outside their dorm in 1946. An unknown number of African American graduate students attended the University in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Historical Photograph Collection, Campus Life Series (AC112), Box MP215, Image No. 5644.

This page is a selection of blog posts written by staff at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library highlighting materials of Black and Latinx people in the Princeton University Archives.

Celebrating Black LGBTQIA Stories: Selections from the Gender and Sexuality Studies Collection


PUL highlights a number of books written by Black LGBTQIA authors or about Black LGBTQIA lives, stories, and histories, selected from the Gender & Sexuality Studies Collection at Firestone Library. PUL is committed to preserving, featuring, and supporting these historically underrepresented voices in the collections. 

Notable movies on systemic racism, racial justice, and anti-racism, available at PUL

Spike Lee

Spike Lee, film director, producer, screenwriter, and actor. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

PUL has compiled a list of movies related to systemic racism, racial justice, and anti-racism available through Video Services. Learn more about pick-up requests at Firestone Library. 

Featured E-Resource: Black Lives Matter research guide for policing and incarceration

squad carThe guide includes links to primary documents including Documenting Ferguson, A Herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement, and Campaign Zero platform. Additionally, the guide includes links to statistics and data resources, as well as a list of books that explore issues of race, policing, and incarceration.

Related news: 

PUL receives gift of books with inscriptions by Nelson Mandela and his inner circle

Teaching with collections: 'Reading Toni Morrison' in a virtual world 

Inside Marquand Library: A century of collecting Harlem Renaissance art

Preserving records of student activism on campus, including Black Justice League efforts

Afrofuturism: How Octavia Butler is moving us forward

PUL's Anti-Racism & Social Justice series

More information: 

Access our African American Studies research guide, or contact Steve Knowlton, Librarian for History and African American Studies. 


Compiled by the Office of Library Communications

Media contact: Stephanie Oster, Publicity Manager

Updated February 1, 2024