The Library provides access for UIUC faculty, staff, and students to several major collections of digitized texts. These are available from the “Online Research Resources” page off the Library Gateway http://www.library.uiuc.edu/orr. Enter the title of the database in the search box and follow the links. These resources were purchased by the UIUC Library and require authentication with a UIUC net id.
Black Studies Center offers several different types of sources. Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience consists of essays by scholars, organized by topic; timelines; video clips; graphic material (portraits, posters, images of printed documents and manuscripts, photographs, drawings, magazine illustrations); and links to recommended secondary literature. The International Index to Black Periodicals provides coverage of articles published mainly since the mid-20th century. Black Literature Index offers coverage of fiction and poetry by African American authors published between 1827 and 1940. Black Studies Center also links to the digitized version of The Chicago Defender, a newspaper founded in Chicago in 1905 (issues available from 1910).
Black Thought and Culture contains 1300 sources from the 18th century to the present, including esays, pamphlets, letters, articles from journals, interviews (audio and text), and digital images of selected issues of newspapers.
In addition to these subscription databases available only to UIUC students, faculty and staff, there are many digital collections available without restriction or cost to the user. Below are some of the free digital resources to explore. There are hundreds more available. See the list of digital collections compiled by the African American Research Center (here in the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library).
African American Photos for Paris Exposition 1900 (Library of Congress).
American Slave Narratives (University of Virginia).
Race and Place (University of Virginia).
Documenting the American South (University of North Carolina).
Amistad Research Center Digital Archives (Tulane University).