Along with many other institutions, we’re working to address the historical whiteness of our collections and increase the number of research materials available in the Library on Black history, Black issues, and by Black authors.

We continue to work with academics and staff across the University to develop our collections to reflect diverse voices and diverging viewpoints of history and culture.

The below list contains a selection of Primary Source collections specifically about Black issues and Black history. You must be a student, researcher or member of staff at the University of Leeds to view these, and may need to use your University log in details.

For more Black History Month content from the Library, including our curated reading list, visit Black History Month 2021 at Library news.

Black Thought and Culture

Black thought and culture is an electronic collection that covers 250 years of history through letters, essays, leaflets, periodicals and trial transcripts, relating to prominent Black American figures. Hear from teachers, artists, politicians, entertainers, athletes and more in this wide-ranging collection of primary sources.

“The ideas of over 1,000 authors present an evolving and complex view of what it is to be black in America.”

Visit Black Thought and Culture

History Vault – NAACP papers

The NAACP is an American civil rights organisation with a 112-year history of working for the political, educational, equality of minority group citizens.

Bringing together internal memos, legal briefings, and direct action summaries from national, legal, and branch offices, these resources chart the NAACPs’ work between 1909 and 1972. See a first-hand view into crucial issues, such as the realities of segregation in the early 20th century, the triumphs of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and beyond.

History vault – NAACP papers: Board of Directors, annual conferences, major speeches, national staff files

History vault – NAACP papers: Branch department, branch files and Youth Department files

History vault – NAACP papers: The NAACP’s major campaigns – education, voting, housing, employment, armed forces

History vault – NAACP papers: The NAACP’s major campaigns – Scottsboro, anti-lynching, criminal justice, peonage, labor, segregation and discrimination

Black Freedom Struggle in the United States

With subcollections ranging from Slavery and the Abolitionist Movement, through the Reconstruction and Jim Crow eras, to civil rights and Black Power movements, into the modern day, the Black Freedom Struggle in the United States collection brings together everything from first-hand accounts to FBI surveillance records.

Visit Black Freedom Struggle in the United States

History vault: Black freedom struggle in the 20th century Federal govt records

History vault: Black freedom struggle in the 20th century Federal govt records, Supplement

History vault: Black freedom struggle in the 20th century – Organizational records and personal papers parts 1 & 2

Colonial history

When discussing Black history, it’s impossible to shy away from the ugly reality of slavery and colonialism. Here are our resources bringing together statistics, records and accounts of colonial Africa, the Caribbean, the West Indies and more.

British Online Archives: Caribbean Colonial Statistics from the British Empire, 1824-1950

British Online Archives: Colonial Africa in Official Statistics, 1821-1953

British Online Archives: Slave Trading Records from William Davenport & Co., 1745-1797

British Online Archives: Slave Trade Records from Liverpool, 1754-1792

British Online Archives: Colonial missionaries’ papers from America and the West Indies, 1701-1870

British Online Archives: The West Indies in records from colonial missionaries, 1704-1950

Empire online

View more material at our Primary Sources Resource Guide, which gathers all our online primary source resources into one place.