BPL Virtual Resources Spotlight 2021: The African American Experience

By Caleb West| BPL Collection Management 

BACKGROUND: Today marks the return of the BPL Virtual Resources Spotlight, a blog highlighting the Birmingham Public Library’s vast free online resources available to serve the public. This week, we spotlight The African-American Experience The Birmingham Public Library is ALWAYS open 24/7 through our FREE online digital resources. For more about BPL’s virtual resources, click on http://www.bplonline.org/virtual

 BPL Virtual Resources Spotlight: The African-American Experience 

 The value of the Birmingham Public Library's virtual resources has been elevated over the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic. BPL has continued to serve the public through our free online resources and by creating new virtual programming.  

This week, we spotlight our BPL African-American resources, which provides access to information about the African-American experience through cultural and historical references. All resources below are also available on the Birmingham Public Library website page (www.cobpl.org) and on our BPL Digital Library page. Except where indicated, these services are restricted to Birmingham city residents with active library cards.

Here are some of our most popular African-American digital resources:

African-American History Online - Click here http://www.cobpl.org/virtual/databases/default.aspx?p=3&q=120#db 

African-American History Online covers topics such as affirmative action, Africa, black nationalism, civil rights, emancipation, free blacks, the Harlem Renaissance, migrations, racial violence and hate crimes, religion, slave living conditions, slave liberation strategies, social work and philanthropy, sports, and visual arts. 

Availability: Requires a JCLC card. Full Text Available. Remote Access Available. 

Subjects available via the BPL Virtual Resources on African American History

African American Biography History Society & Culture

Audience: Middle School, High School, Adults 

Birmingham Black Barons Click here http://bpldb.bplonline.org/db/blackbarons

The Birmingham Black Barons, one of the most successful baseball teams in the Negro Leagues, played from the 1920s until the 1950s. The team played their home games at Rickwood Field. 

This database is a keyword index to articles that appeared in local newspapers including The Birmingham News and Birmingham World. The Government Documents Department of the Birmingham Public Library is compiling this database.

Availability: Publicly Available. Remote Access Available. 

African American Local History Magazines & Newspapers

 Audience: Middle School, High School, Adults

Black Freedom Struggle in the 20th Century: Organizational Records and Personal Papers History Vault 

The Organizational Records and Personal Papers bring a new perspective to the Black Freedom Struggle via the records of major civil rights organizations and personal papers of leaders and observers of the 20th century Black freedom struggle.

 The three major civil rights organizations are the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, and the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs. 

Papers of civil rights leaders included in this module are those of the civil rights and labor leader A. Philip Randolph; the long-time civil rights activist and organizer of the March on Washington, Bayard Rustin, and the papers of the pioneering educator Mary McLeod Bethune. 

 Through records of Claude A. Barnett’s Associated Negro Press, this module also branches out to cover other aspects of African American life in the 20th century, like religion, sports, education, fraternal organizations, and even the field of entertainment. A second part of this resource is highlighted by the records of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Africa-related papers of Claude Barnett, and the Robert F. Williams Papers. SNCC, formed by student activists in 1960 after the explosion of the sit-in movement, was one of the three most important civil rights organizations of the 1960s, alongside SCLC and the NAACP. 

With the addition of SNCC records, History Vault now includes SNCC, SCLC, and NAACP records. Rounding out this module are the papers of Chicago Congressman Arthur W. Mitchell, the Chicago chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality, and records pertaining to the Mississippi Freedom Summer.

Availability: Requires a JCLC card and residence in Birmingham, AL. Full Text Available. Remote Access Available.

African American History Society & Culture  
Audience: Middle School, High School, Adults

 Contemporary Black Biography 

 Informative biographical profiles of the important and influential persons of African American and/or black heritage. Covers persons of various nationalities in a wide variety of fields, including architecture, art, business, dance, education, fashion, film, industry, journalism, law, literature, medicine, music, politics and government, publishing, religion, science and technology, social issues, sports, television, theater, and others.

Availability: Requires a JCLC card and residency in Birmingham, Ala. Full Text Available. Remote Access Available.

 African American Biography 

Audience: Middle School, High School, Adults 

Oxford African American Studies Center

The Oxford African American Studies Center provides students, teachers, and scholars with an authoritative and comprehensive source on the African American experience. The site is comprised of five major encyclopedias and content from eighteen additional reference sources from Oxford University Press, including more than 8,000 articles by top scholars in the field. 

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. 

Availability: Requires a JCLC card and residency in Birmingham, Ala. Full Text Available. Remote Access Available.

African American Biography History Society & Culture 

Audience: Middle School, High School, Adults

Tutorials Guided Tour Flash presentation. \
Video Tutorial Video tutorial by BPL available on YouTube (length 6:45)