African American History and Culture

Our African American collections recount the beginnings of people of African descent in North America and extend through the present. These materials reflect the development of social, political, and cultural movements, literature, visual arts, dance, and sports. They document individuals, organizations, and events that celebrate the efforts of well-known public intellectuals and scholars, writers, and religious leaders. They also affirm the contributions of lesser-known, though equally important, community activists, cultural workers, and African Americans representing divergent backgrounds and perspectives.

Whether you flip through the pages of Grace DeLorme's scrapbooks from her freshman year at Atlanta University, study Alice Walker's manuscript of The Color Purple, examine W. E. B. DuBois's copy of David Walker's Appeal, watch outakes of a documentary on writer Margaret Walker, peruse Carter G. Woodson's library, or click through more than 12,000 photographs of African American life—the Rose Library can connect you with an extensive veriety of resources to explore.

    These subject guides were prepared by Dr. Randall Burkett, former Curator for African American Collections. To search across the entirety of collections, please use the EmoryFindingAids database for manuscript collections, and the Library Search catalog tool for published materials.

    This area highlights the world of literature created by and for the African American community. The Rose Library collects books, pamphlets, broadsides, periodicals, sheet music, and print ephemera.

    • The library of Carter G. Woodson, the most important 20th-century creator of black print culture
    • Papers of Kelly Miller, the most prolific African American pamphleteer of the early 20th century
    • Works of the contemporary fine printer, Amos P. Kennedy

    Additional information on Rose Library's featured collections of African American Art and Art History can be found here.

    • Night club owner Bricktop
    • Performer, dancer, and silent film star Josephine Baker
    • The papers of French scholar/collector Michel Fabre document other important expatriates, including Chester Himes and Richard Wright.

    African Americans in Sports represents a new and exciting focus for the Rose Library, and promises to bring new energy and enthusiasm to the Emory University campus. To the surprise of most knowledgeable scholars and historians, former professional and amateur African American athletes—especially those who lived during the first half of the twentieth century—have papers worth collecting, preserving and studying. The complex meanings associated with the success and achievements of African Americans in sports, which has been recognized as the result of a lack of opportunities in other endeavors, are directly related to issues of social mobility, economic stability and political will. Individuals, whose lives and careers intersect with significant national and global historical moments are deserving of scholarly research and examination.