This online collection consists of 550 fully searchable works written by Black authors from Africa, the Americas, and Europe, and spans from the mid-sixteenth century to the early twentieth century. The collection is remarkable for the diversity of its content and contains texts that fall within a wide range of genres, including autobiographies, essays, letters and poems, as well as examples of more unusual genres such as maps and sheet music.
The archive may be browsed by author, genre or subject (such as agriculture, economics and trade, education, government, health, law and crime, literature, philosophy, politics, and slavery and race relations). It is also possible to narrow down search results within a given subject as each is further divided into several subtopics. The archive can also be searched by place of publication and by publisher.
Individual authors include Olaudah Equiano, Ignatius Sancho and Bethany Veney.
The Bodleian Libraries have committed substantial external funding to a one-off set of purchases of electronic research resources deemed to be important to researchers in the University. This follows a project to identify desiderata across all subjects and to list suggestions from readers.
Purchase of this resource was partly funded by the Drue Heinz Fund.