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African Americans - Archives Dept.   Tags: african_american, history, local_history, uwm, uwm_archives  

This guide suggests how to use the Archives Department to study the local history of African Americans. It provides recommendations for search paths and search tools, and lists some pertinent collections.
Last Updated: Jun 23, 2011 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Researching African Americans in the Archives Department Print Page

Search PantherCat

Search the library catalog to locate archival and manuscript collections which pertain to local African American history. In the box below, search by keyword/s. This search box is already limited to the Archives Department's holdings. Note that these results will include some books that are available here in the Archives, but most of the results will describe archival or manuscript collections.

Here are four examples of simple keyword searches. Note that the boolean operator and is not necessary between keywords:

1. Blacks Milwaukee

2. African Americans Wisconsin

3. affirmative action

4. urban league

Find: in keywords

If your search doesn't produce relevant results, try again with different keywords, or contact us for help.

A general search hint: when reading any catalog record, follow the links found at "Subjects" to locate other material in the UWM Libraries on that same subject.

Recommended Collections on African Americans

In the Archives Dept., we have collections which are rich in primary sources for your research of local African American 20th century history. Topical strengths of our collections include political, civic, and cultural organizations; businesses; education and Milwaukee public school de/segregation; and the fair housing movement.

For civil rights activities of the 1960's, see the "African American Civil Rights movement" guide. For community organizations in historically black-populated neighborhoods, see the "Community Organizations" guide.

A list of pertinent collections follows. We have many other collections on the general topic, which you may explore by using the search strategies described elsewhere in this guide, or by asking an archivist.

  • NAACP - Milwaukee Branch
    Title: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Milwaukee Branch: Records
    Creator: NAACP. Milwaukee Branch
    Call Number: Milwaukee Mss EP
    Abstract: Records reflecting particularly the work of Wilbur and Ardie Halyard.
  • Milwaukee Urban League Records
    Title: Milwaukee Urban League Records
    Creator: Milwaukee Urban League
    Call number: Milwaukee Mss EZ
    Abstract: Administrative files, primarily of Wesley L. Scott's tenure (1959-1981).
  • Oral histories on Milwaukee school reform activism
    Title: More Than One Struggle Oral History Project Records
    Creator: Dougherty, Jack
    Call Number: UWM Mss 217
    Abstract: Oral history interviews conducted by Jack Dougherty for his book: More Than One Struggle; The Evolution of Black School Reform.
  • Lloyd Barbee Papers
    Title: Lloyd E. Barbee Papers
    Creator: Barbee, Lloyd A., 1925-
    Call number: Milw Mss 16
    Abstract: Includes research material and legal records of the class action desegregation suit Amos, et al. vs. Board of School Directors of Milwaukee.
  • UWM Office of the Chancellor Records
    Title: UW-Milwaukee Office of the Chancellor Records
    Creator: UW-Milwaukee. Office of the Chancellor
    Call Number: UWM AC 46
    Abstract: Includes extensive records concerning relations with African American faculty, programs, and students.
  • The March on Milwaukee Civil Rights History Project
    Visit the digital collection which brings together a small selection of sources on the struggle for civil rights, and presents them online.

Search Finding Aids

We write finding aids, or guides, for most of our collections. These guides explain the creator, contents and dates of the collection. This information is important to you when deciding if something is useful to your research. A finding aid also provides the information you will need to request and use a collection when you visit the Archives Dept.
All of our finding aids are included in Archival Resources in Wisconsin, a database of over 4,000 finding aids of collections held in seventeen repositories statewide. The database is located on the web at

Search in finding aids for material located here at UWM by using the search boxes below. Be sure to select an operator (and, or or not) as appropriate, and then click on "Search." Then explore the links in the grey band that appears with each result. Note: this search is limited to our holdings at the Archives Department, UWM Libraries, which is also known as the Milwaukee Area Research Center.

Watch our video about searching in and understanding finding aids at What is a finding aid and how does it help me?


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