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Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection: African Americans in Philadelphia

Resources on African-American heritage in Philadelphia at the Blockson Afro-American Collection

Resources on African-American heritage in Philadelphia at the Blockson Afro-American Collection

Items included are manuscripts, books, pamphlets, prints, photographs, posters, audiotapes, newspaper clippings and other documents.

Core List of Books

Abrahams, Roger D. Deep down in the jungle ...: Negro narrative folklore from the streets of Philadelphia. Hatboro, Pa.: Folklore Associates, 1964.

Anderson, Elijah. Code of the street: decency, violence, and the moral life of the inner city. New York: W. W. Norton, 1999.

___________. The Cosmopolitan canopy: race and civility in everyday life. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2011.

Ballard, Allen B. One more day's journey: the story of a family and a people. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1984.

Biddle, Daniel R. and Murray Dubin. Tasting freedom. Philadelphia: Temple University press, 2010

Blockson, Charles L. Philadelphia's guide: African-American state historical markers. Philadelphia: Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, 1992.

_______________. African Americans in Pennsylvania: A history and guide. Baltimore:  Black Classic Press, 1994.
________________. African Americans in Pennsylvania: above ground and underground: an illustrated guide. Harrisburg: RB Books, 2001.

_________________. The President’s house revisited behind the scenes: the Samuel Fraunces Story. Eubank, Kentucky: Still Publications, 2013

Bowser, Charles W. Let the bunker burn. Philadelphia: Camino Books, 1989.

Brown, G. Gordon. Law administration and Negro-white relations in Philadelphia: A study in race relations. Philadelphia: Bureau of Municipal Research, 1947.

Countryman, Matthew. Up South: civil rights and Black power in Philadelphia. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006.

Crumbley, D. Helen. Saved and sanctified: the rise of a storefront church in Great Migration Philadelphia. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2012.

Delmont, Matthew F. The Nicest Kids in town: American bandstand, rock ‘n’ roll, and the struggle for civil rights in 1950s Philadelphia. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.

Du Bois, W.E.B. The Philadelphia Negro: A social study. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1899.

Dunbar, Erica Armstrong. A fragile freedom: African American women and emancipation in the antebellum city. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008.

Ershkowitz, Miriam and Joseph Zikmund, eds.  Black politics in Philadelphia. New York: Basic Books, 1973.
Fauset, Arthur Huff. Black Gods of the Metropolis: Negro religious cults of the urban north. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1944.

Franklin, V. P. (Vincent P). The education of Black Philadelphia: the social and educational history of a minority community, 1900-1950. Philadelphia, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1979.

Hopper, Isaac T. Kidnappers in Philadelphia: Isaac Hopper's Tales of oppression, 1780-1843. New York: Garland, 1994.

Hunter, Marcus Anthony. Black citymakers: how the Philadelphia Negro changed urban America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Lane, Roger. Roots of violence in Black Philadelphia, 1860-1900. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986.

___________. William Dorsey's Philadelphia and ours: on the past and future of the Black city in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

Levenstein, Lisa. A movement without marches: African American women and the politics of poverty in postwar Philadelphia. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2009.

McBride, David. Integrating the city of medicine: Blacks in Philadelphia health care, 1910-1965. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989.

Nash, Gary B. Forging freedom: the formation of Philadelphia's Black community, 1720-1840. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988.

Nelson, H. Viscount. Black leadership's response to the Great Depression in Philadelphia. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 2006.

Newman, Richard and James Mueller, eds. Antislavery and abolition in Philadelphia emancipation and the long struggle for racial justice in the City of Brotherly Love. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2011.

Powell, J. H. Bring out your dead: the great plague of yellow fever in Philadelphia in 1793. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1949.

Rankin-Hill, Lesley M. A biohistory of 19th-century Afro-Americans: the burial remains of a Philadelphia cemetery. Westport: Bergin & Garvey, 1997.

Rose, Dan. Black American street life: South Philadelphia, 1969-1971. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1987.

Saunders, John A. 100 years after emancipation: history of the Philadelphia Negro, 1787 to 1963.Philadelphia: Free African Society, [1964?]

Toll, J. Barth, and Mariam I. Crawford, eds. Invisible Philadelphia: community through voluntary organizations. Philadelphia: Atwater Kent Museum, 1995.

Trotter, Joe William, Jr. and Eric Ledell Smith, eds. African Americans in Pennsylvania: shifting historical perspectives. University Park: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and the Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997.

White, Charles Frederick. Who’s who in Philadelphia: a collection of thirty biographical sketches of Philadelphia colored people … together with cuts and information of some of their leading institutions and organizations. Philadelphia: The A.M.E. book concern, 1912.

Willis, Arthur C. Cecil's City: A history of Blacks in Philadelphia, 1638-1979. New York: Carlton Press, 1990.

Willson, Joseph. The elite of our people: Joseph Willson's sketches of Black upper-class life in antebellum Philadelphia. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000.

Winch, Julie. Philadelphia's Black elite: activism, accommodation, and the struggle for autonomy, 1787-1848. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988.

_________. A gentleman of color: the life of James Forten. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Wolfinger, James. Philadelphia Divided: race and politics in the city of brotherly love. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2007.


Philly talk. Philadelphia: Talk Publications Inc., 1969-1976.


Philadelphia Tribune

  published three times weekly – Tuesday, Friday & Friday

Selected Archival Materials

A.M.E. Church Collection and other denominations:  annual reports, minutes, journals, quarterly reviews and The Christian Recorder publication.

Alpha Boule Collection (Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity):  rituals and ceremonies, governance documents, annual reports, photographs, correspondence, programs, announcements and other documents

Downingtown Industrial and Agricultural School: administrative and financial documents, publications, correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, memorabilia and other ephemera.

Father Paul M. Washington Papers: correspondence, sermons, speeches, photographs, news clippings, and more.

John W. Mosley Photograph Collection: photograph prints and negatives of notable Black entertainers, social and political personalities, and general social life of Pennsylvania's African Americans.

Migration Series: audio tapes/oral histories- interviews with African-American individuals and/or families who have migrated to Philadelphia during or after the Great Migration.

Natalie Hinderas Collection: audiotapes, photographs, correspondence, writings, diaries, and other documents.

Ruth Wright Hayre Collection: brochures, books, letters, magazines, broadsides, scrapbooks, photographs, film strips and more.

Sara R. Isaac Collection of Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in Philadelphia: correspondence, UNIA dues cards, minutes, proceedings and a photograph of Ms. Isaac.

William Still Collection: photographs and correspondence.

Philadelphia Area Related Resources

African American Museum in Philadelphia

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Library Company of Philadelphia

Marian Anderson Collections (University of Pennsylvania)

Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church

The National Archives at Philadelphia

Urban Archives (Temple University Libraries)