Getting Started


Encyclopedias

It is often helpful to begin your research by reading a basic overview of your subject. Encyclopedias provide such basic overviews, and they often provide helpful suggestions for further reading as well.

For searching across multiple encyclopedias

  • Oxford African American Studies Center
    More than 10,000 articles by top scholars in the field. The core content includes the following encyclopedias: Africana; Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895; Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present; Black Women in America, Second Edition; African American National Biography; Dictionary of African Biography; and The Oxford Encyclopedia of African Thought. Also includes images and primary sources.
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library
    Includes online full text of a wide range of encyclopedic works in history, the arts, business, law, medicine, religion, and social science.

Individual Encyclopedias

Asante, Molefi Kete and Ama Mazama, editors. Encyclopedia of Black Studies  (Thousand Oaks, Calif. : SAGE Publications, c2005).
Available online in Gale Virtual Reference Library or in print at:

Butler Reference, 301 Butler
R326 En23

Cayton, Mary Kupiec and Peter W. Williams, editors. Encyclopedia of American Cultural & Intellectual History. 3 vols. (New York : Charles Scribner’s Sons, c2001).

Location :  Butler Reference, 301 Butler
Call Number:  R973.92 En19
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Locations :  Barnard Reference & US History & Literature Reading Rm, 502 Butler (Non-Circ)
Call Number:  E169.1 .E624 2001

Finkelman, Paul, editor-in-chief. Encyclopedia of African American history 1619-1895 : from the colonial period to the age of Frederick Douglass. 3 vols. (New York : Oxford University Press, 2006).
Available online in Oxford African American Studies Center or in print at:

Location :  Butler Reference, 301 Butler
Call Number:  R326 En195

Jaynes, Gerald D., ed.  Encyclopedia of African American Society. 2 vols. (Thousand Oaks, Calif. : Sage Publications, c2005).
Available online in Gale Virtual Reference Library or in print at:

Location:  Butler Reference, 301 Butler
Call Number:  R326 En198
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Location:  Lehman Reference
Call Number:  E185 .E546 2005

Kutler, Stanley I, editor. Dictionary of American History. 3rd ed. 10 vols. (New York : Thomson Learning, c2003).
Available online in Gale Virtual Reference Library or in print at:

Location:  Butler Reference, 301 Butler
Call Number:  R973 D56

Lowery, Charles D. and John F. Marszalek, editors. The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Civil Rights : from Emancipation to the Twenty-First Century. 2 vols. (Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2003).

Location:  Butler Reference, 301 Butler
Call Number:  R326 G856

Palmer, Colin A. Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History : the Black Experience in the Americas. 2nd ed. 6 vols. (Detroit : Macmillan Reference USA, c2006).
Available online in Gale Virtual Reference Library or in print at:

Location:  Butler Reference, 301 Butler
Call Number:  R326.8 En2

Smelser, Neil J. and  Paul B. Baltes, editors-in-chief.  International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. (Amsterdam ; New York : Elsevier, 2001).

Also available in print at:
Location:  Butler Reference, 301 Butler
Call Number:  R033 In813
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Locations:  Barnard Reference & Lehman Reference
Call Number:  H41 .I58 2001

Research Guides

Higginbotham, Evelyn Brooks, editor-in-chief.  The Harvard Guide to African-American History. (Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2001).

Location (guide):  Butler Reference Desk, 301 Butler
Call Number:  R016.326 H26
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Location (guide):  Barnard Reference
Call Number:  E185 .H326 2001