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AFAM 402: Research Seminar in African American Studies

Primary Source Databases

Websites of Primary Sources

This is a small sampling of primary sources about African Americans.


Collins Library has a growing collection of feature films and documentaries by and about African Americans. Search the title, director, or subject in Primo. You also can borrow films from other libraries.

Below are streaming video services available.


Visual materials, including images, are examples of primary sources. There are several image collections in ARTstor that depict the African American experience. Two major collections include the Image of the Black in Western Art collection from the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute and the Schlesinger History of Women in America collection.  In addition, a keyword search will uncover images related to the history of African Americans, portraits of key figures, and works by African American artists.

Government Documents

Many government documents are now published electronically.  In Primo Search do a keyword search using terms that describe your topic, then use the left-hand facets to refine your search by Author/Creator: United States.

In addition, here are a few key sites for identifying and locating government documents:

Student Publications

Black Ice, a Black Student Union Zine, featuring art, essays, fashion, humor, poetry, photography, stories, rants, and much more. Its purpose is to give students of color and their allies a voice on campus by promoting positive discussions about race and race relations. The links are pdf downloads.

Student Research Award Paper:

Puget Sound Archives & Special Collections, African American Studies

The Archives & Special Collections collects, preserves, and makes available primary source material documenting life at the University as well as collections representing regional, national and international issues. 

A small selection of material is listed below.

Regester and students in Johnston's Negro in U.S. History class, 1949United States Commission on Civil Rights, School desegregation in Tacoma, Washington: a staff report of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1979.

The Black Panther, vol. III, no. 21, September 13, 1969: Black community news service.

Racist Stereotypes of African Americans (1902) - A chromolithographic embossed die cut print.

Sligh, Clarissa T., It wasn't Little Rock, 2005. (artist book)

Meador, Clifton, Long slow march, 1996. (artist book)

Bills of Sale for the Purchase of Slaves, 1835, 1837, 1845.

The Abby Williams Hill papers, 1880s-1930s, document the life and work of this female painter and social activist in the early 20th century.  Hill was especially interested in early education and documented her visit to the Tuskegee Institute and her interactions with Booker T. Washington (1901-1902).

The Archives & Special Collections holds a wide range of material documenting life at the University of Puget Sound; including photographs, Trail articles, and student and administrative papers.  A small selection of digitized material is available online.

Photo Credit: Regester and students in Johnston's Negro in U.S. History class, 1949 from A Sound Past

Featured Archives Source: African American Communist Party Pamphlets

COMMUNIST PARTY. An extraordinary collection of 54 African American Communist Party pamphlets on Emmet Till, Angelo Herndon, and more. New York: American Communist Party, 1940's-1960's.

The African American communist party played a large role in the early civil rights movement and were prominent in advocating for African American workers’ rights in the North during a period when the black population resided largely in the South and was actively migrating out of this region in search of better living conditions and treatment.

Other Archival Collections

To find archival collections at other universities, use WorldCat or Archives West (for collections in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Utah).

About Our Zines

Selections from the Collins Library Zine Collection. Photo Credit: Katy Curtis


The Collins Library Zine Collection is a unique addition to our collections that came to Puget Sound in July 2016 after an initial donation from the Zine Pavilion at the American Library Association Annual Conference. Currently, the Zine Collection contains approximately 300 zines on a variety of topics, both personal and political, which are housed in Archives & Special Collections on the 2nd Floor of Collins Library.

The zines in our collection vary widely in style and content and cover a wide breadth of topics, including zines on local and national issues, politics, personal narratives, activism and social justice, environmental justice, queer identities, feminism, race, and more, including several authored by Puget Sound students. The goal of this collection is to reflect the breadth and depth of the medium and support undergraduate research activities at the University of Puget Sound. 

We hope you will enjoy our zine collection!

Research questions about zines and requests for library sessions can be emailed to or your liaison librarian. 


View the Zines Collection Finding Aid on Archives West.

Browse PRIMO to Find Out More about Puget Sound’s Book Arts Collection

Browse the catalog by keyword and subject searching.  Remember to limit your search to just University of Puget Sound Library if you are looking for books only located in the Collins Memorial Library.Browse PRIMO by keyword or artist name.  Remember to limit your search to Colllins Library to find books that are currently available.  Artists’ Books are part of the Special Collections.  If you locate artists’ books you would like to view, please consult with Jane Carlin, Library Director or  Below is a list of terms and phrases that you can use to find resources about book design and construction.

Use these terms and phrases to identify useful materials.  In addition, you can enter the name of an individual book artist.  If you are using the WorldCat Catalog, the holdings of many regional libraries also are searched. Please keep in mind that many of our peer institutions such as University of Washington and Reed College have wonderful book arts collections as well.

Altered book


Book jackets

Decorated books

Fine press/fine books




Narrative art



Sculptural book


Artists’ books

Book design

Books and reading


Graphic design


Mail art

Miniature books

Paper engineeringpaper works



Toy and moveable books


Graphic Novels

A graphic novel is a book made up of comics content. Although the word "novel" normally refers to long fictional works, the term "graphic novel" is applied broadly and includes fiction, non-fiction, and anthologized work. It is distinguished from the term "comic book", which is generally used for comics periodicals.

To search for graphic novels in Primo, just use the term graphic novels and your subject; for example, graphic novels and race relations.