Thursday, June 10, 2010

Database updates

The Oxford African American Studies Center and the American National Biography, two databases useful to American historians, have both added new content in the last several months.

From the publishers' releases:

For the April 2010 update, the editors of Oxford African American Studies Center have added a group of 25 new primary source documents with accompanying commentary, highlighting the Harlem Renaissance. These fascinating documents include the first excerpt available online from social critic George Schuyler's Black No More, the first book-length satire by an African American. Among other exciting additions are an excerpt from the novel Infants of the Spring by Wallace Thurman, editor of the seminal Harlem literary journal Fire! that published works by such Harlem Renaissance authors as Countee Cullen and Langston Hughes, as well as the Zora Neale Hurston short story Spunk.

This month's update also includes 100 new online-only biographies from the African American National Biography. These brand new entries are only available through the Oxford African American Studies Center.

American National Biography

This latest online release adds 27 entries to American National Biography Online, covering a period of over 300 years. One of the earlier entries looks at the life of Jared Ingersoll, a signatory of the U.S. constitution, which sought to speak for "the People of the United States." Other subjects included in this update spoke on behalf of a different people, in a different way. M├ętis leader Gabriel Dumont sought redress for the grievances of his people with petitions, delegations and rebellion, while Native American Alex Posey later gave accounts of his own culture in his journalism and poetry. Ernest Hogan played a major role in bringing African American musical styles to Broadway in a career that spanned minstrelsy, vaudeville, and musical theater. Butterfly McQueen made a name for African American women in cinema with roles in such iconic films as Gone with the Wind and Mildred Pierce.

In addition, many of the later lives in this release shaped, or were shaped by, the civil rights movement. Daisy Bates made a stand against segregated education when she guided the Little Rock Nine to their places in the classroom, but the issue of segregated education remained, and both educator Terrel H. Bell and federal judge W. Arthur Garrity became involved in controversial attempts to integrate school pupils through programs of "cross-busing." Support for the civil rights movement came from many quarters, from activists and speakers like Betty Shabazz, to academics like Robert Wiebe.