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The African Diaspora

Visit the Center for Black Literature & Culture.

Interior Center for Black Literature & Culture
  • The Center for Black Literature & Culture (CBLC) is home to our largest collection of materials by Black authors. Take as long as you'd like to browse this collection that features authors whose work impacts local, national and global culture in literature, sports, business, politics, science and music.

Explore primary sources and Black history portals.

  • The Power of Black Voices
    This online resource from the Center for Black Literature & Culture includes artifacts, photographs, and articles in the categories: Black Literature, Indianapolis Black Heritage, Black Culture, Black Librarianship, and The African Diaspora.
  • Digital Schomburg
    Exhibitions, books, articles, photographs, prints, audio and video streams, and selected external links for research in the history and cultures of the peoples of Africa and the African Diaspora.

Dive into online databases.

Use your IndyPL Library card to access curated databases that are credible and reliable sources.

  • The African American Experience In this database you can study African American history and its relation to U.S. history through published articles, essays, artifacts, images, documents, and other historical and culturally valuable sources.
  • Black Studies in Video Watch documentaries, interviews and archival footage exploring the history of African Americans through politics, art and culture, sociology, and history in this video encyclopedia.
  • Black Thought & Culture Find works of leading African Americans in this collection of articles, interviews, speeches, essays, pamphlets, letters, and full run of The Black Panther newspaper.

Investigate local history.

Browse through thousands of local artifacts, images, and documents in the Digital Indy archive and the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. Here are some featured collections to get you started or explore our complete collection of local resources.

  • Crispus Attucks High School Year Books In 1927, Crispus Attucks High School opened its doors as Indianapolis’ first and only all-Black high school.

  • Black History, Indianapolis History Black history has a long presence in Indianapolis, and makes up the very fabric of the city. Six years after the founding of Indianapolis, out of the 1,066 total residents 55 were African American (source). There is no history of Indianapolis without Indianapolis’ vibrant and diverse Black population.

Find your own story.

In the webinar African American Genealogy, Nichelle Hayes, Manager of the Center for Black Literature & Culture, explains the basic principals of genealogy for those of African ancestry including information about specific challenges and particularly helpful databases. For additional help, see our guide to getting started researching your family history from home, including links to Indiana and national websites about genealogy.

The 1619 Project

Join The 1619 Project Read Along: A Classroom Without Walls

For those interested in learning about early Black history in American, join The 1619 Project Read Along: A Classroom Without Walls, an online discussion designed to "remove barriers and invite all curious minds to discover and discuss this vital history." The Read Along is hosted by the publisher, One World, a Random House imprint. One World is giving away six chapters from the book free of charge, and invites readers to join discussions based on the selections.

You can check out a copy of The 1619 Project or, you can download the free chapters being made available over the next several weeks. There are online discussions and weekly discussion guides. If you have missed some of the chapter discussions, you can catch up or join in at any time.

  • “Democracy” by Nikole Hannah-Jones
    If you missed our first chapter discussion for "Democracy" with Nikole Hannah-Jones, check it out here.
  • “Capitalism” by Matthew Desmond
    Watch a video of Matthew Desmond answering questions from readers about his chapter, "Capitalism," here.

Upcoming chapters through February include:

  • “Fear” by Michelle Alexander and Leslie Alexander
  • “Race” by Dorothy Roberts
  • “Justice” by Nikole Hannah-Jones
  • “Music” by Wesley Morris

    Note: a six-part Hulu original docu-series The 1619 Project premieres January 26, 2023.