Skip to Main Content

African American Studies

Finding Books in DELCAT Discovery

Search Tips for Finding Books

  • DELCAT Discovery uses the term African Americans when referring to Black citizens of the United States and Blacks when discussing Black people internationally.
  • Always start by conducting a keyword search for your specific historical topic, and then broaden your search to find additional material. For example, if you were researching Nat Turner's rebellion, you could search for Nat Turner or Southampton Insurrection. For additional materials, you could search for slave insurrections.
  • To obtain book-length autobiographies and biographies search using the individual's name as a subject. For example, to locate books about Frederick Douglass, you would  type su:douglass frederick.
  • To limit your search to primary source materials, search using words that pertain to the format of the material. Format terms include: correspondence, diaries, letters, manuscripts, narratives, papers, sources and speeches. A sample keyword search: women slaves AND narratives.

Search DELCAT Discovery using specific subject headings for your topic. For help in selecting headings, refer to the Library of Congress Subject Headings or Ask a  Librarian. Sample subject headings include:

African American soldiers
African American women--Biography
African Americans--Biography
African Americans--Civil rights
African Americans--Politics and suffrage
African Americans--Social conditions
Antislavery movements
Black lives matter movement
Black Panther Party
Black power
Racially mixed people
Segregation in education
Slave insurrections
Slave trade
Slavery in the United States
Slavery in the United States--Condition of slaves
Slaves--Emancipation--United States
Slaves--United States--Biography
Underground railroad
United States. Colored troops
Women slaves

The terms used to describe people of African descent have evolved over time. See the Special Collections African American Studies guide for additional resources on language that may be helpful to consider when writing and researching African American and Black Studies.

E-Book Collections Not in DELCAT Discovery

Most e-books can be found in DELCAT Discovery and you can read them by clicking Access Online.  The following collections are not represented in DELCAT and must be searched separately.