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Primary sources for teaching and learning
Freely available
Selected and curated by experts and advisors
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The Black Freedom Struggle website is freely available to students, educators and patrons at

This curated selection of primary sources is designed for teaching and learning about the struggles and triumphs of Black Americans. Developed with input from Black history scholars and advisors, its easily discoverable materials are ideal for assignments and special projects focused on U.S. Black history.

The site covers several time periods in American history when the river of the Black Freedom Struggle ran more powerfully – while not losing sight of the fierce, often violent opposition that Black people have faced on the road to freedom. These periods include:

  1. Slavery and the Abolitionist Movement (1790-1860)
  2. The Civil War and the Reconstruction Era (1861-1877)
  3. Jim Crow Era from 1878 to the Great Depression (1878-1932)
  4. The New Deal and World War II (1933-1945)
  5. The Civil Rights and Black Power Movements (1946-1975)
  6. The Contemporary Era (1976-2000)

In-Demand Content

There is a growing need for institutions to provide materials that represent every voice and provide diversity and representation across the curriculum and in research. For some institutions, new courses dedicated to Diversity education are now mandated.

Content Aligns with Course Curriculum

Many institutions can use this content. It supports a wide range of students and patrons – including high-school students and early college students – with reliable, easily discoverable materials that can be used for school assignments and special projects focused on African American history. Educators can use this primary source material in the classroom for teaching on a specific topic or person, and for building essential critical thinking and information literacy skills.

Important Primary Resources Critical for Learning About the Past

Primary sources provide a window into the past – unfiltered access to the record of artistic, social, scientific and political thought and achievement during a specific period under study, produced by people who lived during that period.

Multidisciplinary Content

Social Movements among different people in different countries is a hot topic in History and should continue to grow in the future as our world continues to become more interconnected. Materials in this collection extend beyond the topic of History and can be applied to subjects and disciplines such as English Language and Literature, Women’s Rights, Political Science, and Sociology.

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