quest for full citizenship

With the dawn of a new decade, we wanted to do something extremely different for Black History Month 2020. We took to the internet and social media to be able to catalog and share our traffic with some of the most comprehensive, the most honored, and the most research-rich sites that we came across when looking for content related to Black History Education and Archives. Please enjoy some of the collections below:

ONE HISTORY is an exceptional resource and has several links to African American resources and also exhibits from the Library of Congress.


African-American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship 

This Special Presentation of the Library of Congress exhibition, The African-American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship, showcases the Library’s incomparable African-American collections. The presentation was not only a highlight of what is on view in this major black history exhibition, but also a glimpse into the Library’s vast African-American collections. Both include a wide array of important and rare books, government documents, manuscripts, maps, musical scores, plays, films, and recordings. 

The exhibition The African American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship, showcases the incomparable African American collections of the Library of Congress. Displaying more than 240 items including books, government documents, manuscripts, maps, musical scores, plays, films, and recordings, this is the largest black history exhibit ever held at the library, and the first exhibition of any kind to feature presentations in all three of the Library’s buildings. 

The major presentation in the Jefferson Building, The African American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship, explores black America’s quest for equality from the early national period through the twentieth century. The Library’s materials, gathered over the two hundred years of its existence, tell the story of the African American experience through nine chronological periods that document the courage and determination of blacks, faced with adverse circumstances, who overcame immense odds to fully participate in all aspects of American society. The exhibit includes the work of abolitionists in the first half of the nineteenth century, depictions of the long journey following the Civil War towards equality in employment, education, and politics, strategies used to secure the vote, recognition of outstanding black leaders, and the contributions of sports figures, black soldiers, artists, actors, writers and others in the fight against segregation and discrimination. 

The items in this exhibit attest to the drama and achievement of this remarkable story. Although they give a comprehensive, rich picture of more than 200 years of African American struggle and achievement, they represent only a rivulet of the collections the Library of Congress holds in this essential part of American history. 

Slavery–The Peculiar Institution

During the slave trade, millions of Africans became involuntary immigrants to the New World. Some African captives resisted enslavement by fleeing from slave forts on the West African coast. Others mutinied onboard slave-trading vessels or cast themselves into the ocean. In the New World, some ran away from their owners, ran out among the Indians, formed maroon societies, revolted, feigned sickness, or participated in work slowdowns. Some sought and succeeded in gaining liberty through various legal means such as “good service” to their masters, self-purchase, or military service. Still, others seemingly acquiesced and learned to survive in servitude. 

The European, American, and African slave traders engaged in the lucrative trade in humans, and the politicians and business people who supported them did not intend to put into motion a chain of events that would motivate the captives and their descendants to fight for full citizenship in the United States of America. But they did. When Thomas Jefferson penned the words, “All men are created equal,” he could not possibly have envisioned how his slaves and others would take his words. African Americans repeatedly questioned how their owners could consider themselves noble in their fight for independence from England while simultaneously believing that it was wrong for slaves to do the same. 

This exhibit explores the methods used by Africans and their American-born descendants to resist enslavement, as well as to demand emancipation and full participation in American society. The strategies vary, but the goal remained unchanged: freedom and equality. READ MORE HERE


Free Blacks in the Antebellum Period

Abolition, Anti-Slavery Movements, and the Rise of the Sectional Controversy

The Civil War