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Biographical Resources: An African and African Diaspora Approach: Reference Books (A-B)

Use this guide to locate information about people of African descent.

Print Resources

Africa Who's Who. London: Published by Africa Journal Ltd. for Africa Books AFR Ref. DT 1 .A249 (also in Olin Library)
Biographical information on influential educators, politicians, lawyers, and physicians throughout Africa.

African America: Portrait of a People. Estell, Kenneth. Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1994. AFR Ref. E 185 .E873w 1994
Compiled from the author's African-American Almanac, 6th ed., entries are mostly brief biographical profiles of prominent Black Americans in history and in various fields, interspersed with entries for significant legislative and historical events and topical narratives. Arrangement is in 18 chapters, among them: civil rights, Black nationalism, politics, literature, performing arts, fine and applied arts, science and medicine, and sports.

African American Architects: A Biography Dictionary 1865-1945. Wilson, Dreck Spurlock. New York: Routledge, 2004. AFR Ref. NA 736 .A47x 2004 (also in Fine Arts Library)
This reference work brings the lives and work of African American architects to light for the first time. This book contains 160 biographical, A-Z entries on African American architects from the era of Emancipation to the end of World War II. Articles provide biographical facts about each architect, and commentary on his or her work.

African American Autobiographers: A Sourcebook. Nelson, Emmanuel S. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002. AFR Ref. PS 366 .A35 A36x 2002 (also in Olin Library)
Chronicling the autobiographical tradition in African American literature from the 18th century to the present, this volume features 66 authors from Maya Angelou to Malcolm X. Alphabetized entries, written by expert contributors, include concise biographies, overviews of autobiographical works and themes, reviews of critical receptions, and bibliographies.

African American Biographies: Profiles of 558 Current Men and Women. Hawkins, Walter L. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1992. AFR Ref E 185.96 .H38x 1992 (also in Olin Library)
This book provides profiles of 558 of the nation's most notable African Americans. Most were born or spent their childhood years in the United States.

African American Lives. Gates, Henry Louis. and Evelyn B. Higginbotham. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. AFR Ref E 185.96 A446 2004 (also in Olin Library)
This book contains authoritative biographies of some 600 African Americans.

African American National Biography. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.; Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. AFR Ref. E185.96 .A37 2008,
The African American National Biography will present history through a mosaic of the lives of thousands of individuals, illuminating the abiding influence of persons of African descent on the life of this nation from the arrival of Esteban in Spanish Florida in 1529 through to notable black citizens of the present day.

African American Poets: Lives, Works, and Sources. Pettis, Joyce. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002. AFR Ref PS 153 .N5 P48 2002
Covering 46 poets from more than two centuries of African American literary history.

African-American Women: A Biographical Dictionary. Salem, Dorothy C. New York: Garland, 1993. Ref. AFR E 185.96 .A45x 1993 (also in Olin Library)
A reference source on some 270 black women who have made significant contributions to social reform, politics, arts and entertainment, religion, business, education, and the professions--from the colonial era to the present. The individual entries are written in essay form, providing concise information about each woman's childhood, education, career, and achievements.

African Biography. Knight, Virginia Curtin, editor. Detroit: UXL, 1989. 3 volumes. AFR Ref CT 1920 .A39x 1999
Presents biographical entries on 75 noteworthy Africans, historical and contemporary, in a variety of fields. Included in the set are Nelson Mandela, Patrice Lumumba, Kofi Annan, and Wangari Maathal.

African Biographies. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. Forschungsinstitut. Bonn, Verlag Neue Gesellschaft, 1971. Ref. DT 18 .F91 1971 (4 vols.) (also in Olin Library)
Statesmen throughout Africa are represented in this collection. Includes biographical and civic information.

An African Biographical Dictionary. Norbert C. Brockman. Millerton, N.Y.: Grey House Publishing, 2006. Ref. DT 18 .B76 2006
Alphabetically arranged entries provide information about approximately seven hundred people prominent in Africa during all periods of history, including political and religious leaders, educators, business people, and scientists.

Afro-American Fiction Writers After 1955. Davis, Thadious M. and Trudier Harris, eds. Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research Co., 1984. AFR Ref. PS 153 .N5 A23 1984 v.33 (also in Oin & Uris Libraries)

Afro-American Writers After 1955: Dramatists & Prose Writers. Davis, Thadious M. and Trudier Harris, eds. Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research Co., 1985. AFR Ref. PS 153 .N5 A25 v.38 (also in Oin & Uris Libraries)

Afro-American Poets Since 1955. Davis, Thadious M. and Trudier Harris, eds. Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research Co., 1985. AFR Ref. PS 153 .N5 A24 1985 v.41 (also in Oin & Uris Libraries)

Afro-American Writers Before the Harlem Renaissance. Davis, Thadious M. and Trudier Harris, eds. Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research Co., 1986 AFR Ref.AFR PS 153 N5 A37 1986 v.50 (also in Oin & Uris Libraries)

Afro-American Writers from the Harlem Renaissance to 1940. Davis, Thadious M. and Trudier Harris, eds. Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research Co., 1987. AFR Ref. PS 153 N5 A39 v.51 (also in Oin Library)

Afro-American Writers, 1940-1955. Davis, Thadious M. and Trudier Harris, eds. Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research Co., 1988. AFR Ref PS 129.D55 v.76 (also in Oin & Uris Libraries)

A Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt. David, A. Rosalie (Ann Rosalie). Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1996. AFR Ref. DT 83 .D2x 1996 (also in Olin Library)
Biographical sketches of historical and cultural figures of ancient Egypt.

Biographical Dictionary of Latin American and Caribbean Political Leaders. AFR Ref. F 1414.2 .B61 (also in Olin and Uris LIbraries)
Over 450 biographical sketches of important political figures in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Black Americans in Autobiography: An Annotated Bibliography of Autobiographies and Autobiographical Books Written Since the Civil War. Brignano, Russell C. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1984. AFR Ref. Z 1361 .N39 B85 1984 (also in Olin Library)
Annotated bibliography of autobiographies written by black Americans from the Civil War to 1973.

Black Biography 1790-1950: A Cumulative Index. Burkett, Randall K., Nancy Hall Burkett, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., eds. Alexandria: Chadwyck-Healey, 1991. AFR Ref. E 185.96 B533 v.1-3 (also in Olin)
Indexes 297 reference books microfilmed in Black Biographical Dictionaries, 1790-1950. 1987. Microfiche 6. Volumes 1-2 arranges alphabetically 30,000 biographical sketches of historical figures. Volume 3 contains indexes by place of birth, occupation, religion, and sex.

Black Heroes of the 20th Century. Smith, Jessie Carney. Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1998. AFR Ref E 185.96 .B5337x 1997

Black Women in America. Darlene Clark Hine, ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005 (3 volumes). Ref. E 185.86 .B542 2005.

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Eric Kofi Acree
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