African American
Image Sources

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African American Image Sources

Finding historical images of African Americans and others whose history has not been valued over the centuries is a special research challenge. On these pages you will find information about and links to institutions that have worked to collect, preserve and disseminate images of interest to students of African American history.


African American Mosaic and the African American Odyssey are two exhibits from the Library of Congress collections. All the images here should be in the public domain unless otherwise noted. Excellent download quality.

American Memory: African American History
There are links here to 17 different online archives from around the country of images, manuscripts and documents about African American History. The main American Memory Collection at the Library of Congress also has collections with excellent images of African Americans.

Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS) Image Gallery has the Scurlock Studio Collection. Addison Scurlock and his two sons were major African American photographers in Washington D.C., and the Archives Center at the Smithsonian has now didgitized over 2,000 of the photographs from that collection. They are an incredible resource and of excellent quality. Just click on Cross-Searching Center and type the name "Scurlock" into the search box. Each Smithsonian archive follows the fair use rule, "Fair use of copyrighted material includes the use of protected materials for non-commercial educational purposes, such as teaching, scholarship, research, criticism, commentary, and news reporting."

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
In addition to finding information about this valuable section of the New York Public Library, you will find several online exhibits, which change from time to time. In Motion: The African-American Migration Experienceis a particularly good one. The website states that the images "are presented in the hope that they will at one and the same time address some of your viewing, research, education and study needs..." Very good download quality. The main New York Public Library Digital Collection (NYPLDigitalGallery) is also an excellent site. Searching via this site accesses not only the images available on DigitalSchomburg, but a number of images from the Schomburg's Rare Books and Manuscripts collection as well.



Early Years

Civil Rights

The South

The Northeast

The Midwest

The West

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