Vast New Online Archive of African American History Materials

The University of Minnesota Libraries has launched a new online database of African American history. The Umbra Search African American History website offer users access to more than 400,000 digitized archival materials documenting African American history from more than 1,000 libraries and cultural organizations.

Cecily Marcus, director of Umbra Search and a curator at the University of Minnesota Libraries, notes that “no library is able to digitize all of its holdings, but by bringing together materials from all over the country, Umbra Search allows students and scholars to tell stories that have never been told before. Umbra Search partners have amazing collections, and now those materials can sit side by side with related content from a library on the other side of the country.”

Kara Olidge, executive director of Amistad Research Center at Tulane University and an Umbra Search advisory board member, adds that the new service “is an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to learn more about African American history. By providing access to thousands of digitized materials, Umbra Search makes it possible to do research at libraries all across the country without getting on a plane.”

Support for Umbra Search has been provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Council on Library and Information Services, and the University of Minnesota Libraries.

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  1. Seeking help in gathering information for an upcoming paper my grandson has for next months Black History paper. His assignment is to gather information on current African Americans (men & women) that includes inventors, educators, poets, scientists, etc… that recently have made historic recognition. I have looked at some sites but them seem to leave out some info that I can’t remember the event and dates that they occurred on. Any assistance would be appreciated.

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