African American Archives and Libraries

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United States  > African American Research  > Archives and Libraries

Most archives and libraries collect records about local residents (biographies, family histories, and local histories) and about nearby places (maps, gazetteers, and place-finding aids). They often compile reference helps and special indexes to important local sources. In many communities they serve as a meeting place for local historical and genealogical societies, and may be able to provide referrals to people who are willing to look up information in local records. Before you visit an archive or a library, contact them and ask for information on their collection, hours, services, and fees.

When one of these institutions is referred to elsewhere in this outline, return to this section for the address.

The Family History Library has copies of many of the records found in archives and libraries, but most repositories will have additional sources.

Many archives and libraries have helpful sources for locating information about Alabama, such as maps, gazetteers, and other place-finding aids. They frequently have collections of previous research, such as family and local histories and biographies. Many have record-finding aids, such as guides to their own collections or inventories of records housed elsewhere in the state. Archives and libraries near state boundaries usually collect records relating to the adjacent states.

The following archives, libraries, and societies have collections or services helpful to African American genealogical researchers:

Family History Library
35 North West Temple Street
Room 344
Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3400
[Note: Room 344 is a mail room only, not a room patrons can visit.]
Local Telephone: 801-240-2331
Toll Free: 1-800-346-6044 (Inside United States and Canada)
Toll Free: 1-801-240-1000 (Outside United States and Canada)

National Archives
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20408
Telephone: 202-501-5415
Fax: 301-837-0459

National Archives - Regional Branches

The Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum
1901 Fort Place SE
Washington, D.C. 20020
Telephone: 202-633-4820

The University of Pittsburgh
Hillman Library
3960 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260
Telephone: 412-648-7756

The University of Pennsylvania
African Studies Center
647 Williams Hall
255 S 36th Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6305
Telephone: 215-898-6971
Fax: 215-573-7379

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
520 Sixteenth Street North
Birmingham, Alabama 35203
Telephone: 205-328-9696
Toll Free: 1-866-328-9696
Fax: 205-251-6104

The Black Archives of Mid-America
2033 Vine Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64108-3007
Telephone: 816-701-3590

Duke Univeristy
John Hope Franklin Collection for African and African-American Documentation
Durham, North Carolina 27708
Telephone 919-684-8111
Internet: Internet:

The Library of Congress
The African-American Mosaic: A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture
101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington, D.C. 20540
Telephone: 202-707-5000

The following resources can be helpful as you begin your research:

Black Roots: A Beginner's Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree, Tony Burroughs, 1001. (FHL book 973 D27bt.)

Finding a Place Called Home: An African-American Guide to Genealogy and Historical Identity, Dee Parmer Woodtor, 1999. (FHL book 973 F2wd.)

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