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African History

Research guide for sources in colonial and modern African history

Primary Sources

What are primary sources?

Primary sources are original documents and objects created at the time being studied, such as diaries, newspaper accounts, letters, governmental records, or drawings. Any record that documents a past event can be considered a primary source.

Keep in mind...

Many of the digitized primary source collections included here are written about, rather than by, African peoples. Be sure to keep this in mind when analyzing these sources.


Colonial Africa

Modern Africa

African Diaspora

Printed Primary Sources

Try finding more primary sources in physical or eBook format by searching the catalogue using subject headings. Subject headings are a system of categorizing books that are similar in theme and content. Try subject heading searches like the following:

  • su: Africa history sources
  • su: North Africa history sources
  • su: Congo (Democratic Republic) history sources


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