HIST 4123: Africa and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Secondary and primary sources for the history of slavery in all periods.

What are Primary Sources?

Collage of primary source documents

Here's a great definition of primary sources from the American Library Association

"Primary sources are original records created at the time historical events occurred or well after events in the form of memoirs and oral histories. Primary sources may include:
  • letters,
  • manuscripts,
  • diaries,
  • journals,
  • newspapers,
  • speeches,
  • interviews,
  • memoirs,
  • documents produced by government agencies such as Congress or the Office of the President,
  • photographs,
  • audio recordings,
  • moving pictures or video recordings,
  • research data,
  • and objects or artifacts such as works of art or ancient roads, buildings, tools, and weapons.
These sources serve as the raw material to interpret the past, and when they are used along with previous interpretations by historians, they provide the resources necessary for historical research."

--Using Primary Sources on the Web, rev. 2008.

Primary Sources Help

Not sure how to work with primary sources?  Here are some great tips:

Primary Sources Online

Primary Sources in the Libraries

Try to add terms such as "sources" or "personal narratives" to your search terms to locate published sources in the library catalog, for example:

slavery history sources slave trade sources
antislavery britain sources west africa history sources

Primary Source Bibliographies