Chicago Genealogy: African-American Resources is today’s list.

For links to other Chicago resources, click here.

Please note: This list is meant to include resources in addition to the ones found at the traditional genealogical sites like FamilySearch, Ancestry, Footnote, and the like. And the lists are by no means exhaustive, so if you know of other digital collections on this topic for Chicago and Illinois that you’ve found useful in your research, please let me know.

African-American Chicago Resources

NEW: African Americans in Chicago (Images of America series) by Lowell Thompson

Afro-American Genealogical and Historical Society of Chicago
Podcasts, conferences and conference proceedings, general meetings.

A Bibliography of African American Family History at the Newberry Library – Illinois
Excellent bibliography of the published African-American holdings at the Newberry

Chicago Public Library – Vivian G. Harsh Collection 
of Afro-American History and Literature
“The collection places a strong focus on African American history in Illinois.”

Chicago Public Library – Black Newspapers
Includes African American papers Afro-American (Baltimore/Washington), Chicago DefenderLos Angeles SentinelMichigan Chronicle (Detroit), and New York Amsterdam News (requires Chicago Public Library card for access)

Chicago Public Library – Illinois Newsstand
Papers include the African-American Chicago Defender, as well as Chicago Tribune (requires Chicago Public Library card for access)

Cyndi’s List African-American Resources

IL-AfriGeneas. A mailing list to coordinate, network and strengthen the efforts of African ancestored family researchers within Illinois. You can subscribe from by sending the following to [email protected]: subscribe

A. Philip Randolph/Pullman Porter Museum Gallery 
Chicago museum dedicated to the African-American labor movement and African-American Railroad Attendants. Also includes:
Pullman Porter National Historic Registry of the African-American Railroad Employees

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library
A preeminent research facility documenting “black life, and promoted the study and interpretation of the history and culture of peoples of African descent.” Search extensive Chicago holdings at link above.

Other Resources

Chicago Genealogy: African-American Resources


NEW: AfriGeneas is a site devoted to African American genealogy, to researching African Ancestry in the Americas in particular and to genealogical research and resources in general. It is also an African Ancestry research community featuring the AfriGeneas mail list, the AfriGeneas message boards and daily and weekly genealogy chats. The word AfriGeneas is derived from African AmericanGenealogy Buddies. It’s pronounced:  A · fri · GEE · nee · as. They also have a Facebook page you can join.

African-American genealogy blogs

BlackPast “10,000 page reference center is dedicated to providing information to the general public on African American history in the United States…. also has full text primary documents and major speeches of black activists and leaders from the 18th Century to the present.”

The Center for African-American History at Northwestern University

Christopher Manning’s African-American entry in the Encyclopedia of Chicago

NEW: Chronicling America: Black Newspapers (Library of Congress)

DuSable Museum of African American History

NEW: Thanks to the accomplished student genealogists in Courtney Phillips after-school class, I am also adding an excellent link they found:
History at Home: An Introduction to Genealogy
This shout-out is for you, students. Keep me posted on what you are finding out about your families. 

The History Makers
The HistoryMakers’ focus is to capture the stories of accomplished African Americans across all walks of life and to use video and new technologies to create an accessible digital collection to serve as a resource for students, teachers, scholars, documentary producers and the media.”