What's Inside

The Oxford African American Studies Center brings together the work of over four thousand international scholars to provide users with the most comprehensive and authoritative online resource available in the field.


Discover the lives of over 15,000 African-descended people who made an impact over the years and across a range of activities and occupations, from baseball great Hank Aaron to Zumbi, the seventeenth-century Afro-Brazilian hero. 

Subject Entries

Over 4,000 articles cover topics ranging from Aardvark to Zydeco and the Middle Passage to AIDS in Africa.

Primary Source Documents

Specially written commentaries provide insightful context for each one of over 700 documents, from the affidavit attesting to the freedom of Isabel de Olvera in 1600 to President Barack Obama's Victory Speech given on November 4, 2008.


Over 2,500 images enhance the articles in the site, with an ongoing update program planned to expand the coverage.


Users will find more than 200 country and territory maps, with thematic maps that illustrate major events from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement.

Charts & Tables

Over 150 charts and tables offer information on everything from demographics to government and politics to business and labor to education and the arts.


Film clips provide yet another glimpse into African American history, allowing users the opportunity not only to read about moments like Hank Aaron's breaking of Babe Ruth's homerun record, or the recording of music by jazz greats like Miles Davis or Billie Holliday, but to see and hear these moments as they happened. Multimedia content will continue to expand with more film clips to be added in future updates, as well as sound recordings.


Timelines guide you through key events in the history and culture of African Americans in sports, military, and more, including women's history and Africa and the Diaspora.

Search and Browse by Subject Category and Era

With more than 10,000 articles and hundreds of primary source documents, images, maps, and charts and tables, the Oxford African American Studies Center offers you the right tools for finding the information you need. Search and browse the site using subject category and era filters to focus and refine your results and help guide your research.

Refine by Subject Category

Arts & Leisure

Explore the lives of African American artists, writers, and musicians such as Romare Bearden, Toni Morrison, and Charlie "Bird" Parker, who helped shape the cultural landscape of America.

Business & Economics Learn about business visionaries like Annie Turnbo Malone, the African American businesswoman and philanthropist whose hair-care business made her a multimillionaire.

Education & Academia

Learn about the origins and role of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in bringing education to an under-served population. Dive into profiles of pioneering educators, writers, and activists who changed the course of history as they challenged "separate but equal" policies and rose to lead many of the nation's top educational institutions.

Government & Politics

Uncover history through primary source documents, including the earliest protest in America against slavery, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the text of original speeches by people like Anna Julia Cooper, Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, and Barbara Jordan.


Through biographies of early slaves to twenty-first century cultural icons, with articles that range from discussions of the Middle Passage to AIDS in Africa, users will discover the rich heritage of a people who broke barriers and helped develop our modern world.

Religion & Spirituality

Find out more about the conversion of slaves to Christianity, the establishment of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, and places of worship like Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous Ebenezer Baptist Church—as well as the practices of Africans around the world, such as Ghana's Asante chiefs and black Muslims in Spain.

Science & Medicine

Study the folk medicine of root doctors in African American culture and learn about Rebecca Davis Lee, the first African American to receive a medical degree. Also learn about the rich tradition of black inventors, scientists, and engineers in the United States, including Benjamin Banneker, who sent a copy of his Almanac to Thomas Jefferson as proof of the intellectual capacities of free blacks and slaves.

Explore by Era

Ancient & Medieval Worlds

Learn about the ancient kingdom of Egypt and how its mythology influenced the development of African culture.

Age of Exploration & Colonial Era

Examine the unique experience of black women and men in the Spanish, English, and Dutch colonies of North America. American Revolution & Early Republic Read Frederick Douglass's famous "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?" challenging the morality of slavery under the founding principles of American democracy.

Antebellum Era & Slave Economy

Read the popular slave narratives that influenced a primarily white, northern readership during the antebellum period and study the effects of the free North and the slave South on the American economy.

Civil War

Discover the experience of black slaves in the South during the war, as well as that of African Americans who served the Union cause. Read about the Daughters of the Confederacy and the ways this organization sparked an impassioned Senate debate more than one hundred years after its creation.


Witness the changes in social, political, and economic relationships in the South and the entire nation in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War.

Age of Segregation & Progressive Era

Learn the meaning of accommodationism, and why some leading black scholars thought such a strategy would help achieve economic success for blacks in America.

Great Depression & New Deal

Discover how Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal triggered early political challenges to segregation and increased the significance of civil rights issues.

WWII & Postwar Desegregation

Learn about Col. Benjamin O. Davis Sr., the army's first black general, and the "Double-V campaign" intended to achieve victory over fascism abroad and racism at home.

Civil Rights Era

Meet the four African American students from Greensboro Agricultural and Technical College who sat at the white lunch counter in Woolworth's, asked to be served, and sparked the beginning of a direct-action mass protest movement in the 1960s.

Contemporary World

Explore the rise of Hip-hop and the lives of the people who have made it such a significant force not only in black music, but in American culture in general. And learn about Africanist anthropology and the way it influences African studies in the United States.