Online Resources for Black History
February 25, 2010It’s never been easier to find photographs, videos, articles and more about Black History on the web. Here is a guide sure to interest people of all ages.
Black Past, www.blackpast.org
Dr. Quintard Taylor, the Scott and Dorothy Bullitt Professor of American History at the University of Washington, Seattle, wrote the definitive history of African Americans in the Pacific Northwest. His website is a priceless goldmine of resources, images and information like no other. His site – which he operates in conjunction with his daughter, Casey Nichols, herself a graduate student in history and the site’s webmaster – features African American history, African American history in the west, and African history as it extends around the world. The site boasts a website of the week, a speech of the week, and many links to even more sites.
The Northwest African American Museum, www.naamnw.org
Find out about the museum’s newest exhibits; read about upcoming showings, and find out how to participate in the museum as a volunteer.
Oregon Historical Society, www.ohs.org
This website turns history into a game, with online features laid out in engaging graphic programs that make learning fun – as well as compelling. Highlights are Time Web, a sprawling digital timeline of Oregon’s history that includes many points of interest in the state’s Black history – once inside Time Web, look for the “topics” area called African Americans to bring up every entry relating to Black history. For more interactive features, follow the “education” link on the home page to “The Oregon History Project,” where you will find a discussion of “slavery and race,” and a link to “History Minutes,” which has its own link to more African American history articles and photos. One of these entries describes the life of pioneer George Washington Bush, who settled in Oregon in 1844 only to be driven north of the Columbia River by the state’s new “lash law.” Bush settled in what is now Tumwater, establishing the area’s first gristmill and sawmill – read about how racist Oregon laws threatened his livelihood repeatedly, and how his neighbors advocated for him with state lawmakers for many years.
The Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project, http://depts.washington.edu/civilr/
An academic website with exciting glimpses of Seattle’s lost history, including a micro site about the Ku Klux Klan in Washington State during the 1920s (built around photos from the Washington State Historic Society); a special section devoted to the Black Student Union at the University of Washington in the 1960s; and a detailed, illustrated and extensively-mapped exploration of the history of segregation in Seattle neighborhoods. Vivid photos bring these histories to life and heighten the connection between the past and the present.
The End of the Oregon Trail Museum, www.historicoregoncity.org
Fascinating biographies, with photographs, on African Americans who traveled in covered wagon trains over the Oregon Trail (including an ancestor of The Skanner’s own jazz columnist, Dick Bogle). Follow the link to “End of the Oregon Trail,” scroll down to Black Pioneers of the Pacific Northwest. The entries include a timeline of Black history, and an article about slavery in the Oregon Territory and an analysis of the racial Exclusion Laws that drove early settlers out of the state.
The Washington State Historical Society, www.washingtonhistory.org
For those interested in conducting their own research, this site hosts collections arranged in a searchable database. Follow the link to “collections,” and pull up images as well as documents dating back to the 19th century.
The Washington State University Black Oral History Project, http://www.wsulibs.wsu.edu/holland/masc/xblackoralhistory.html
Another brainchild of Dr. Quintard Taylor, this is an archive of the oral histories of Black pioneers collected in the early 1970s. While the audio links don’t quite work, dedicated researchers can follow links to detailed descriptions of each oral history, organized by the names of those interviewed – more than 50 individuals from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
To read other articles in The Skanner's Black History edition click here