African American Resources

The Department of Special Collections at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has a wide range of ethnographic, historical, literary, music, and other resources related to African American Studies. This includes books, serials, pamphlets, newspapers, letters, diaries, documents, photographs, and sound recordings. Materials can be found using the UCSB Library Catalog, the OAC-Online Archives of California, and by subject using our Subject Guides as well as the Alphabetical List of Collections.

The majority of our African American Studies material is part of the William Wyles Collection. Material can also be found in the CEMA collections as well as in the Oral History collections.

Additional resources can be found at UCSB and its various libraries. For details, consult the Research Guide for Black Studies, the Department of Black Studies and the Black Studies Collection. The UCSB Research Databases also provide links to other institutions and resources.

Manuscript Collections

The following is a partial list of collections held at the Department of Special Collections related to African American Studies.

  • African American Musicians Photographs, ca. 1940s. Three black/white 8”x10” glossies of Steve Gibson and the Red Caps, the Haitian Voodoo Dances, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. (Wyles SC 1038).
  • African American Photograph Album, ca. latter 1800s. 41 cartes de visite, albumens, tintypes, watercolors and drawings, most unidentified portraits of African American men and women, one with inscription Mrs. [Sara?] Long. The cdvs are from various locations, including Wilmington, North Carolina, Richmond, Virginia, Columbus, Ohio, and Liverpool. (Wyles Mss 130).
  • African American Photograph Collection, ca. late 1800s-1950s. Includes several photos from E. Suffolk and Norfolk, Virginia. (Wyles Mss 149).
  • African American Sheet Music, ca. 1880-1971. 60+ pieces of sheet music, featuring artists and composers such as Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Stephen C. Foster, W. C. Handy, Isaac Hayes, Lena Horne, Ink Spots, Mahalia Jackson, Mills Brothers, and Jelly Roll Morton. Also caricature pieces, including blackface, ‘coon’, and minstrel songs; ballads and spirituals. (Wyles Mss 146).
  • African American Sheet Music Collection, 1833-1874. Six printed items, some written in dialect, with titles such as “Shew Fly!” and “Song of the Negro Boatmen.” (Wyles SC 1037).
  • African American Stereoviews, ca. 1890s. 24 steroviews, various companies.  Includes scenes such as “Cotton is King, Plantation Scene, Georgia” and “Down in Dixie,” along with many other stereotypical, racist views and captions. (Wyles Mss 144).
  • African American Stereoviews, ca. 1900. 20 b/w stereoview images, possibly Louisiana, mounted on one large sheet, no captions. These appear to be staged scenes, with several images of children (sitting on steps, at play), men playing cards, and eating sugar cane. Possibly intended for a foreign audience, with “FOREIGN TITLES” notations below some images. (Wyles SC 989).
  • African American Tintypes, ca. 1860-1890. Five photographic portraits, unidentified man, woman, and children. (Wyles SC 1010).
  • Age of Segregation Oral History Project, 1989. A joint UCSB / Jackson State project, part of a campus wide exchange program between the two institutions, with the aim to collect oral histories in Mississippi relating to race relations, and completed for a symposium to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of CDGM (Child Development Group of Mississippi), the first Head Start Program in the state. The interviews were conducted in Mississippi and in Oakland, California. (OH 49).
  • American Colonization Society. One printed circular, re solicitiation of funds and invitation to form auxiliary societies. Washington, 25 Mar. 1843. (Wyles SC 708).
  • "Anti-Fugitive Slave Law Meeting." Printed text of Resolutions and Address at the meeting. Syracuse, New York, January 9, 1851. (Wyles SC 799).
  • Baraka, Imamu Amiri [Leroi Jones]. One typescript signed poem, "Biography," 1983. (SC 603).
  • Barnes (Grover) Papers, 1920-2009 [bulk dates 1985-2006]. (CEMA 115).
  • Bartlett (Thomas S.) Letter, 1847. Possible freeman of color asking for work in Wilson County, Tennessee. (Wyles SC 1019).
  • Bay Area Black Panther Party Collection, 1963-2 .The collection was gathered by Richard Aoki, a founding member of the Bay Area chapter and the only Asian American to hold a formal leadership position as Field Marshal. Notable items include several first issues of the Black Panther party newspaper, flyers from the Huey Newton Defense Fund (Committee), documents and handbills from Eldridge Cleaver’s U.S. Presidential bid with the Peace and Freedom Party, and the political manifesto from the Lowndes County Freedom Organization (Alabama), the logo for which became the Black Panther’s national symbol. (CEMA 56).
  • Civil War Era Covers. (Wyles SC 1007).
  • Blacks in Film and Television Collection . Small collection of news articles about African Americans in popular films and television programs covering four decades. Coverage includes winners of Oscar, Emmy, and NAACP Image awards. (CEMA 100).
  • Black-Jewish Information Center Press Releases, 1979-1983. (ARC Mss 38).
  • Boston Music Hall. Grand Jubilee Concert program, in honor of the emancipation Proclamation, Jan. 1, 1863. (Wyles SC 749).
  • Bowman, S[amuel] M[illard] Col., Pennsylvania Infantry, 84th Regiment (Vol)]. One Civil War letter (ALS) to Major C. Foster, re missing muster and descriptive rolls for new Negro soldiers who were joining the regiments near Alexandria. Baltimore, 3 Aug. 1864. (Wyles SC 405).
  • Buffalo Soldiers Muster Roll, 1874. One oversize sheet, with names of officers and troops, for the U.S. 24th Infantry, Company K., April 30, 1874. (Wyles SC 1031).
  • Burleigh (H. T.) Sheet Music Collection, 1914-1921. 12 printed items, the work of H. T. Burleigh, an African American composer, singer, and pupil of Anton Dvořák. Burleigh introduced Dvořák to spirituals and Dvořák used some in works such as the “New World Symphony.” (Wyles SC 1036).
  • Butler, Benjamin Franklin [Civil War Union General, lawyer, and Governor of Massachusetts]. Three letters (ALS), 1861, 1868, 1889 about various Civil War-related issues, including a hanging for treason. Also, a copy of a transcript of an interview conducted 2 June 1862 between Butler and Capt. Homer B. Sprague re Sprague’s refusal to deliver an escaped slave, Caroline, employed as a laundress for the army, back to slave hunters. After reviewing a recent Act of Congress, Butler decided in favor of Caroline being retained as a laundress. (Wyles SC 46).
  • Camp William Penn. One printed group photograph of the commander and headquarters staff of Camp William Penn, used for organization of U.S. Colored Troops, 1863-1865. (Wyles SC 902).
  • Civil War Documents, 1864. Eight documents (ADS): Final Statements of colored volunteers. (Wyles SC 436).
  • Civil War Documents, ca. 1860-1865. Five items, including one special order re equipment apparently pertaining to the 30th U.S. Colored Troops. (Wyles SC 98)
  • Clark (Claude) Oral History, 1995. Interviews with the Oakland, California African American artist. (OH 29).
  • Colored Troops – Civil War Inquiry, 1888. One letter (ALS) from the Adjutant General’s Office, War Department, in response to a question from George May Powell, reporting that on or about Apr. 1, 1862 there were 2,300 colored troops from Delaware, 26,000 from Kentucky, 9,500 from Maryland, 38,000 from Missouri, and 4,500 from Tennessee. (Wyles SC 1008).
  • Dorchester Academy Photograph Album, ca. 1890s. Album, with 60+ b/w photos, taken by a missionary schoolteacher at the Dorchester Academy in the African American community at McIntosh, Liberty, County, Georgia, ca. 1890s. (Wyles Mss 104).
  • 1st South Carolina / 33rd US Colored Troops Records, ca 1847-1923, 1983 [bulk dates 1850s-1860s]. Materials relating for the most part to the history and organization of the 1st. SC Volunteer Infantry, later designated the 33rd U. S. Colored Troops. A significant portion of the material is related to Thomas Wentworth Higginson who served as the unit’s commander between 1862 and 1864. There are both original primary source materials in the form of documents, correspondence (including items from William Lloyd Garrison and Horace Greeley) and secondary source materials, mostly photocopies, including such things as regimental histories. (Wyles Mss 30).
  • Freedmen Department, 1864. One document re renting rooms for colored schools, District of West Tennessee. (Wyles SC 995).
  • Gant (Eleanor) New Jersey High School Scrapbook, ca. 1925-1930. Includes KKK related photos and membership cards. Also photos of African American classmates. Graduated in 1929 but a few 1930 items included. (Wyles Mss 153).
  • Goode, Kenneth G. Collection of copies of black and white photographs, provenance of most unknown, used in Goode’s California’s Black Pioneers: A Brief Historical Survey, ca. 1974. (SC 712).
  • Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute. Printed program, ca. 1873, "Slave Songs of the South, by the Hampton Colored Students," including note that Hampton [located in Hampton, Virginia] is “Devoted to the preparation of Colored Teachers for the Colored Race and to Industrial Education” and that nearly all of its students were born as slaves. Hampton’s most famous graduate was Booker T. Washington. (Wyles SC 742).
  • Iowa and Western Photograph Album, ca. 1890s-1900s.Description: 198 albumen photographs, no captions, beginning with images of Iowa (signs indicating Keosauqua and Eldon – street scenes, family, houses, bicycle riders, African Americans, parade with tractors, soldiers, Native Americans, and women on bikes); later images of unidentified areas of the West, possibly California (mountains, scenic boulders, hilly terrain, railway – family, perhaps on a trip). (Wyles Mss 165).
  • Irby (Charles C.) Papers, 1938-1987. African American cultural anthropologist and ethnic studies pioneer. (CEMA 10).
  • Jackson, Alfred T. [Private, Kansas Mounted Infantry, 1st Regiment, Co. D; First Lieutenant, U.S. Colored Infantry, 79th Regiment]. 16 Civil War documents, including appointments, discharges, special orders, and muster roll, 1864-1865. (Wyles SC 422).
  • Joe Davis Entertainment and Minstrel Folio, ca. 1930.Printed song and jokebook issued by Joe Davis Inc., Music Publishers, 1658 Broadway, New York City. (Wyles SC 1092).
  • Louisiana Slave Document. One document (ADS), bill of sale, Madison Parish, 24 July 1852. (Wyles SC 670).
  • Mackey (Anita J.) Oral History, [ca. 1994]. Recollections of an African American graduate of the University of Chicago (1936) and her career as a medical social worker for the Veterans Administration in Chicago, Los Angeles and, finally, in Santa Barbara. (OH 14).
  • Mackey (Anita J.) Papers, 1929-1996. Personal papers of Anita Johnson Mackey, a Santa Barbara community leader and nationally recognized social service worker. (CEMA 57).
  • Marysville, California Photograph Album, ca. 1910. 30 black and white snapshots of Marysville, California and surrounding area. Includes images of integrated baseball team, railroad station, tracks, tunnel digging, and locomotive 2580, telegraph and cable office, family and friends, names unknown. (SC 974).
  • McRee (Rev. James F.) Oral History, 1989. Life history, providing a glimpse into the internal workings of the Civil Rights Movement and the forces that led McRee to organize the first Head Start program in Mississippi. Part of the Age of Segregation Oral History Project. (OH 63).
  • Neilson (Hugo) World War II Scrapbook, 1944-1945 [bulk date 1944]. 157 black and white snapshots (captions in English), documents, clippings, and two 1944 issues of the Seabees Coverall newspaper, on scrapbook pages and loose, compiled by Hugo Neilson, Seaman First Class, with the 51st NCB (Naval Construction Battalion). Includes images of Ulithi (Caroline Islands) – fellow seamen, base, chapel, living quarters, 51st shop crew, local terrain and huts (describes construction), building airstrip in 12 days; on board ship (showing cramped quarters); Saipan – Japanese women and children, prisoners (men), Suicide Point (where hundreds of Japanese civilians leapt to their deaths), Japanese fortifications, train, sugar mill, caves, African American Marines, shop crew and shop, building airstrip; and honorable discharge, Oct. 1945. (Bernath Mss 346).
  • Newton (Captain E. H.) Collection, 1864-1865. 16 Civil War documents, most from the Office of Chief Engineer, Military Division of West Mississippi, New Orleans, pertaining mainly to work on Fort Barrancas (overlooking the entrance to Pensacola Bay). Includes reference to use of “persons of African descent,” particularly the 97th U.S. Colored Infantry. (Wyles SC 595).
  • Perham, Sidney [Rep. from Maine]. “Reconstruction – The President and Congress.” Printed speech delivered by Perham in the U. S. House of Representatives, Apr. 21, 1866. (Wyles SC 474).
  • Phelps, A. C. [U.S. Infantry Colored, 93rd Regiment (Vol), Company I]. Two Civil War letters (ALS), 1864. (Wyles SC 434).
  • Randolph, D. C. One letter (ALS) to S. D. [Cabanip?] of Huntsville, re the sale of a slave named Dolly, who he reports to be in good health. Also discusses her ‘nominal husband.’ Richmond, 5 Mar. 1859. (Wyles SC 127).
  • Reppert, B. B. B. [U.S. Infantry Colored, 83rd Regiment, Company D]. One Civil War letter (ALS) to his cousin.  Huntersville, Arkansas, 10 July 1865. (Wyles SC 433).
  • Republic of Texas, Austin County. One document (ADS): Jury summons for slave trial, with list of  36 names.  13 Apr. 1843. (Wyles SC 130).
  • Santa Barbara African American Local History Collection, 1994-1997. Documents, photographs, and interviews collected as part of a Black Santa Barbara Historical Calendar, a collaborative research project in the Black Studies Department at UCSB. The aim of the calendar was to call attention to local personages and events important in Santa Barbara’s African American community. (CEMA 99).
  • Santa Barbara African American Oral History Project Collection. (CEMA 42).
  • Shelton Watters & Co. One document (ADS), agreeing to pay $160 for "hire of two negroes Anderson and Walker…"  [Virginia], 1849. (Wyles SC 129).
  • Shepard (Isaac F.) Collection, ca. 1830s-1880s. Commander of the 52nd U.S. Infantry, Colored, from 1863 onwards, making him ranking regimental officer (initially as Colonel, later as Brigadier General) of all colored troops in the Union. Includes an 1863 diary, Court of Inquiry Papers, and related correspondence, which document a seminal incident in which Shepard defended his troops against hostile treatment by white Union troops, was arrested, but subsequently had all charges dismissed by Gen. Grant and was restored to his command. (Wyles Mss 74).
  • Slave Child Cartes de Visité, ca. 1863. Two cdvs [photographs] of Fannie Virginia Casseopia Lawrence, described as a redeemed slave child, 5 years old, from Virginia. Baptized in Brooklyn, at Plymouth Church, by Henry Ward Beecher, May 1863. (Wyles SC 1016).
  • Slave Documents, 1813-1865. Printed and manuscript documents, including purchase and shipping of slaves, tax forms, slave hires, estate appraisal, slave burials. (Wyles SC 1002).
  • Slavery Era Insurance Documents, ca. 1846-1960, 2001-2002. Photocopies of documents collected by the State of California Insurance Department in pursuance of California Code Regulations, Title 10, Sections 2293-2398, which required insurance companies to provide documentation about insurance polices from the slavery era which coverage for slaveholders for damage to or death of their slaves. (Wyles Mss 97).
  • Steward (Lowell) Papers, 1995-2002 . Correspondence, published articles (newspaper and Internet), and other items relating to Steward’s involvement with the Tuskegee Airmen. (CEMA 58).
  • Trade and Advertising Card Collection, ca. 1870s-1910s.126 trade and advertising cards, many color lithographs, from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, for products such as bicycles and bicycling; boots and shoes; building materials; food, drink and restaurants; horse and equine equipment; machinery and equipment; organs and pianos; printing (including lithography) and photography; railroad locomotives and cars; soap; theater and performance; wringers and washers; also depictions of African Americans, ‘Uncle Sam’, and Bufford Company (Boston, MA lithographers) advertisement and trade cards. (Mss 264).
  • [Song Sheets]. 24 printed song sheets, mostly nineteenth century British parodies of American Negro dialect. (Wyles SC 872).
  • UCSB, Center for Black Studies Collection, ca. 1975-2002.Includes Center for Black Studies reference publications for research assistance and a historical review of the center, as well as flyers for events sponsored by the center. (UArch 45).
  • UCSB, Department of Black Studies Records, ca. 1968-2003. Contains general administrative subject files, files on the department’s role in the creation of the Center for Black Studies, and files on the department and center’s roles in shaping campus affirmative action policy. (UArch 14).
  • UCSB, Student Organizations Collection, ca. 1935-2001 [bulk dates 1960s-1980s]. The collection contains mainly flyers and posters for events, issues of interest, meetings, etc. for student organizations, clubs, and groups. Includes files on ethnic, GLBT, women’s, political & protest, religious & spiritual groups. Some files on Isla Vista, including student services, events, and groups not directly affiliated with the university but formed by students, are included, as well as files on student protests, including the bank burning and Vietnam War. (UArch 101).
  • U.S. Colored Infantry, 69th Regiment. One Civil War document (ADS): Special Orders from General Superintendent of Freedmen re change of command. Memphis, 6 Feb. 1864. (Wyles SC 421).
  • U.S. Colored Troops Documents, 1865. Three immediate post-Civil War documents re accusation against Sgt. Alexander Shepard and 15 members of Company L, 4th U.S.C. Hvy. Artillery, for stealing $6,000 in gold from a Tennessee resident. (Wyles SC 1025).
  • U. S. Colored Troops, Massachusetts 54th Regiment. One stereoview of the Civil War survivors of the Massachusetts 54th, marching in parade, Washington Street, 17th July 1875. Photographer: g. J. Raymond & Co., Boston. (Wyles SC 1030).
  • U.S. Colored Troops, 30th Regiment, Company D. One Civil War document: "Inventory and Inspection Report of Unserviceable Stores…" Includes items such as bayonet scabbards, cartridge boxes, rifles, and belts. (Wyles SC 15).
  • Vigilance Committee. One printed circular, re the Fugitive Slave Law. Boston, 3 Mar. 1851. (Wyles SC 707).
  • [African Americans]. [Virginia]. One printed document, signed by Governor Walker of Virginia, re ratification by the General Assembly of the State of Virginia, of the 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution of the United States. (Wyles SC 880).
  • Washington, Booker T. (1856-1915). One letter (TLS) from Booker T. Washington, American educator, orator, author and leader of the African-American community, on Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute stationery, to Charlotte Bowditch, noting he is to speak in Santa Barbara the following Tuesday. Los Angeles, March 20, 1914. (SC 326).
  • Whitney (Daniel S.) Papers, 1864-1977. Includes Civil War correspondence and diary of the Reverend Daniel Saunders Whitney, Massachusetts abolitionist. Several of the letters are written from the Colored Hospital, City Point, VA, then the Base Hospital Army of the James Point of Rocks, VA, where the U.S. Sanitary Commission had stationed Whitney, and where he attended to the spiritual, as well as dietary, needs of the patients. The diary also contains numerous entries describing medical conditions, patients, and surgeons in the hospital wards. (Wyles SC 298).
  • Works Progress Administration of West Virginia Photograph Collection, 1936. 41 black and white photographs in album and 15 loose, relating to a WPA children’s program. Includes a few of African-American children from [Wheeling?]. (Mss 262).
  • [African Americans in Eighteenth-Century America]. One letter (ALS) from A. [Vanderhorst ?], re the Council “drawing an ordinance for the better government and regulation of the Negroes in the city…” (said city unidentified – possibly New York?), 21 Nov. 1785. (Wyles SC 4).