These are some of the best ways to go about finding archival collections on a given topic or person. Some of these catalogs provide online finding aids or records describing collections:
Amistad Research Center Housed in Tulane University, it is the oldest independent archive specializing in the history of African Americans and other Ethnic Minorities in the U.S. The holdings include the papers of artists, educators, authors, business leaders, clergy, lawyers, factory workers, farmers and musicians. The collection contains approximately 250,000 photographs dating from 1859.
Amistad Digital Resource From Columbia University. Includes modules on Plantation to Ghetto, Civil Rights Era, and The Future in the Present
Archives of African American Music & Culture Established in 1991, the AAAMC is a repository of materials covering a range of African American musical idioms and cultural expressions from the post-World War II era. The collections highlights popular, religious, and classical music, with genres ranging from blues and gospel to R&B and contemporary hip hop. The AAAMC also houses extensive materials related to the documentation of black radio.
Black Archives of Mid-America The Black Archives of Mid-America is a center for learning and research into the African American experience in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Oklahoma and the Midwest at large
Black History: Chronological Topics (NARA) This collection includes informational and primary source resources on slavery, abollition, Reconstruction, segregation and Black migration, and civil rights, some available online
Center for Black Business History, Entrepreneurship, and Technology Hosted by the University of Texas at Austin, this site was founded by Professor Juliet E. K. Walker, leading scholar in African American Business History
Center for Contemporary Black History (CCBH) Promotes the study of black history, culture, and politics in urban America since 1900, with an emphasis on understanding the central role of black intellectuals and public leaders in the making of modern society.
Harlem Renaissance Resources @ the Library of Congress African-American writing, music, and art during the 1920s and 1930s are well represented in the collections of the Library of Congress. This guide presents the Library's resources as well as links to external Web sites on the Harlem Renaissance and a bibliography.
The HistoryMakers The largest archival collection of recorded African American oral histories.
The John Hope Franklin Research Center Housed at Duke University, the Franklin Research Center is a repository for African and African American studies documentation. Founded in 1995 with the support of its namesake, the historian John Hope Franklin, the Research Center collects, preserves, and promotes the use of materials relevant to the history of Africa and people of African descent.
King Center Archives & Stanford University's King Papers Project - In 1985, Coretta Scott King asked Stanford historian Clayborne Carson to edit and publish The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. Since then, the King Papers Project has engaged in a broad range of activities illuminating the Nobel Peace laureate's life and the movements he inspired
Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum (MCLM) Founded as the Western States Black Research Center (WSBRC), MCLM contains over two million rare books, films, documents, photographs, artifacts, and works of art related to the history and culture of African Americans in the United States, with special focus on Southern California and the American West.
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (NYPL) Collects preserves, and provides access to materials documenting black life, and promoted the study and interpretation of the history and culture of peoples of African descent. The manuscripts and archival collections are strongest for the 20th century in the areas of the performing arts, women, Harlem, African American writers, civil rights organizations and activities.
Vivian G. Harsh Society Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature The largest African American history and literature collection in the Midwest; contains over 75,000 books, many of them rare, 15,000 reels of microfilm, over 4,000 clipping files, and 175 manuscripts and archival collections. This collection includes materials on African-Americans throughout the Diaspora, but the primary focus is on African-American History in Chicago and Illinois. Online finding aides include: Abbott/Sengstacke Family Papers, Babara E. Allen Papers, Timuel D. Black, Jr. Papers, Etta Moten Barnett Papers, Earl B. Dickerson Papers, Francis Minor Papers and the Chicago SNCC History Project Archives, to name a few.
W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research This Harvard University Institute, directed by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., supports a wide array of research and other projects, including archives
W.E.B. Du Bois Papers & Photographs Digital archive of WEB Dubois papers from the University of Massachusetts.
Zora Neale Hurston Papers Housed at the University of Florida, this collection includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, articles, manuscripts, photographs, miscellaneous personal papers. Correspondence concerning race relations, Hurston's writings and fieldwork, personal matters; manuscripts of articles, short stories, plays; biographical material about Zora Neale Hurston. The Library of Congress has also digitized 10 of Zora Neale Hurston's plays. The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress also has several collections related to Zora Neale Hurston, some of which are available online.