By Teresa L.

In honor of Black History month, I thought it would be nice to take a closer look at one of EVPL’s amazing databases: Black Freedom Struggle in the U.S. The database is made up of over 3,000 primary source documents spanning the African American experience in the U.S. Created by the database provider ProQuest and made freely available to the public; all of the documents have been selected from other ProQuest databases. These documents focus on the experiences and perspectives of African Americans. To learn more about the origins of Black Freedom’s documents, visit the About link on Black Freedom’s landing page.

Navigating the database

The database is arranged into six collections. Each focuses on a particular time period. 


Open a subject box to find a nice synopsis of the time and a more detailed breakdown of the available material.

From here, you follow one of the more detailed links to explore a list of the available documents.

In this example, all of the documents are also accessible through public government records; however, such a search through www.congress.gov could be tedious. All of the documents in Black Freedom Struggle have been curated by a panel of history and African American studies educators and have been selected as sources that best represent the experiences and struggles of African Americans in the U.S.

The document link brings up a brief description of the material.

The View Document link will open a PDF that can be printed or downloaded for future use. The ProQuest Product link opens a page that describes the database the document came from, and the Filed Under field offers tags that lead to other articles on those subjects.

Many of the documents are congressional records or news reports from the time period, but there are unusual gems as well, like this copy of a handwritten letter from Harriet Tubman.

Additional resources

Of additional use to students and teachers is the Resources dropdown. Students can find an explanation of what a primary source is as well as sample questions to help them think about the material they are reading. Teachers are also offered a sample homework assignment.

While the database was conceived as an educational tool for students and scholars, the documents and historical information will be of interest to anyone wanting to learn more about the African American experience in the U.S. Happy exploring!

Teresa L.
Collections Librarian

Teresa L.

With 8 locations throughout Vanderburgh County, EVPL is ready to discover, explore, and connect WITH you! We encourage you to uncover new things, revisit old favorites, and to engage with us along the way.

BHM 2022