Black History Web Resources for 2012-- sampling from BPL staff

Part of the work that Birmingham Public Librarians are doing in this digital age is finding the best- and therefore most credible- resources on the Internet (sort of the wheat-from-the-chaff analogy). Librarians have sometimes even been called the original search engines.

One of my former bosses, a wise and modest BPL librarian, keeps a famous quotation by Samuel Johnson next to her desk: "Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it."

Each year as we celebrate African American History Month, BPL is flooded with worthy assignments from young scholars across the city of Birmingham. In order to help these students, the librarians at BPL have sifted through hundreds of websites on Black History and chosen a few which have been helpful.

We hope that you'll enjoy them and as Thomas Jefferson once said, you will be "bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow truth and reason to whatever results they [lead], and bearding every authority which [stands] in their way."

African-American Literature Book Club: Provides hundreds of profiles of African-American authors or authors who have written books important to the African-American community. (Site listed by Librarian’s Internet Index.)

African-American Women Writers: Presents text and images from the renowned Schomburg Center on the topic of African American women writers of the 19th century.

Birmingham Public Library Digital Collection of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing: Included as part of the Civil Rights Digital Library documenting America's struggle for racial equality. Database includes photographs, newspaper articles, and documents.

Birmingham Public Library African-American History & Culture: This site covers history, arts and culture, race and society, biographical profiles, and more, including more than 500 years of African-American history. This comprehensive reference database features informative entries, including biographies (some with quotes), primary sources, images, timelines, and maps and charts. Web links direct users to additional information sites.

Black Inventors A-Z: Provides biographies, inventions and photos of inventions.

Black Inventors Patent List: Gives a table of African American inventors - black inventors and the patents that they hold from every field of science and design.

The Buffalo Soldiers: Presents a through picture of the role Buffalo Soldiers played in American history beginning in 1866. Buffalo Soldiers from Wikipedia: Provides an overview.

Faces of Science Index: Contains an index of African American Scientists from their past, present and future by occupation or last name. Occupations include engineers, inventors, mathematicians and more. (Last updated September 11, 2007.)

Famous Firsts by African Americans: Lists famous African-Americans according to their groundbreaking firsts.

Gale Free Resources Black History: Gives historical information, biographies, educational activities, and quizzes. Profiles feature several dozen prominent black men and women in the biography section while briefly highlight events with an African American History Timeline.

History Channel: Celebrates Black History Month with biographies of historical figures, highlighting civil rights struggles and historical speeches from Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. to Jackie Robinson.

History Makers: Represents the single largest archival project of its kind in the world, dedicated to preserving African American history as the missing link in American history. Focuses on American history, oral history and education in general and more specifically on African American history, education, music, law, the arts, science, technology, media, medicine, entertainment, fashion & beauty, business, the military, politics and sports. (Link provided by American Library Association.)

Infoplease: Covers historical events and timelines, a variety of contemporary issues, 500 biographies of notable African-Americans and a special features section that covers such topics such as famous African-American quotes.

History of Black Achievement: Includes page-length biographies of black leaders, audio clips, and large and small portraits, browse alphabetically or chronologically.

History of Blacks in Mathematics: Supplies biographical informational for great blacks American Mathematicians.

Library of Congress’s American Memory: African-American Collection: Provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. American Memory from the Library of Congress - African-American

Negro Baseball Leagues: Offers information on the history, teams and players of the Negro Baseball Leagues.

The Oxford African American Studies Center: Combines the authority of carefully edited reference works with sophisticated technology to create the most comprehensive collection of scholarship available online to focus on the lives and events which have shaped African American and African history and culture.

PBS African American Reference Room: Provides over 300 articles from the reference company of Encyclopedia Britannica on leading African Americans and the events that define African American History.

People of Faith: African-American Spiritual Journeys: Features profiles of African-American religious leaders through the last three centuries while exploring the connections between faith and the development of “African-American cultural values."

Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama: Provides an overview of the bombing.

Stanford University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Projects: Links to timeline, King's autobiography, biography, writings, speeches, sermons and more.