Skip to Main Content

Black Studies E -Resources to use from home

Black Studies: Resources you can use from home



Door panel, Yoruba people, Nigeria circa  1910–1914

 (permission via wikicommons)


See the column on the left under Home.

The majority of this page provides you access to free quality electronic resources to City College students as well as some that are free to all.  

Find out more about the Black Studies Program at San Diego City College

Notable Black Americans: a small sample

A list of Notable Black American is far too extensive to be included here.  Below are just a few you may be interested in knowing that are not necessarily famous.  A very small sampling:

In San Diego 

Roberta Alexander:  Dr. Roberta Alexander, Professor Emeritus at San Diego City College, talks about her family background in California, her mixed-race heritage, and activist roots, including her time with the Black Panther Party.”

Black Pioneers in San Diego  1880 – 1920 from the San Diego Historical Society.

Blacks who shaped Julian, California This Smithsonian Magazine article "The Trailblazing Black Entrepreneurs Who Shaped a 19th-Century California Boomtown" explores several people's lives and includes links to more detailed information.

Nathan Harrison:  "A formerly enslaved man who became a California Legend".  Be sure and also visit the online-virtual exhibit about this fascinating man here at the San Diego Historical Society

Beyond San Diego

6888 Central Postal Directory Battalion: "The 6888th was a multi-ethnic [World War II] unit that was predominantly Black with at least one Puerto Rican and Mexican woman."

Artists: African Americans artists in the National Gallery of Art such as the “paintings, photographs, works on paper, and sculpture ranging from a still-life painting by Robert Seldon Duncanson to modern and contemporary pieces by Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Alma Thomas, Sam Gilliam, Kara Walker, and more”

Ruby Bridges: “the first African American child to desegregate William Frantz Elementary School. At six years old…”

Gwendolyn Brooks: Pulitzer Prize Winner for Poetry 

Celebrating 10 African-American medical pioneers from Association of American Medical Colleges 

Christopher Emdin: Keynote speaker at the 2023 San Diego City College HUBU Conference. He "is a tenured professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Technology at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he also serves as Associate Director of the Institute for Urban and Minority Education."

Mary Fields: Mail carrier “one of the toughest, most resilient residents of Cascade, Montana.”

Rudolph Fisher: “Physician and literary wit of the Harlem Renaissance”.  

Earnest J. Gaines: Author, educator and "recipient of the National Humanities Medal, National Medal of the Art, Chavalier of the Order of Arts and Letters from the government of France, and a National Books Critics Circle Award winner..." in addition to well over 20 other awards, degrees and honorary degrees.

Sam Gilliam: “One of the great innovators in post-war American painting.”

Nikole Hannah-Jones: 1619 Project lead.

Mary W. Jackson: “Aerospace engineer and leader in ensuring equal opportunities for future generations”  Featured in the book/movie Hidden Figures.

Katherine G. Johnson: NASA mathematician.  Featured in the book/movie Hidden Figures.

Little Richard: PBS American Masters states "The Beatles and The Rolling Stones supported him, and drew inspiration from his musicianship and stagecraft. He would go on to influence artists as diverse as David Bowie, Elton John, Michael Jackson and Prince, and he spent his career advocating for the rights of Black artists." Here is his page in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Gregory Robinson, James Webb Space Telescope Program Director  and from New York Times July 11, 2022. He Fixed NASA’s Giant Space Telescope, Reluctantly.

Major Taylor, Champion bicyclist 

Air Force Lt. Col. Merryl Tengesdal“One of eight female pilots ever to fly the U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft and the only black female pilot in U-2 history.”

Dorothy Vaughn: “expert in digital computers and their applications in NASA programs.”  Featured in the book/movie Hidden Figures.


Websites - free access - See San Diego and California specific resources below

  • 1619 Project "The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative."  Here are a few websites about the 1619 project
  • African Digital Research Repositories from the International African Institute.
  • Afrofuturism "Michigan State University Professor Julian Chambliss on 'What is Afrofuturism?' "
  • Afro Future Con  "...a gathering place [in San DIego] for individuals, families, and groups...It invites attendees to envision a better future while immersing them in an array of comic creators, exhibitors, workshops, and entertainment."
  • BlackPast is "dedicated to providing information to the general public on African American history and the history of more than one billion people of African ancestry around the world."
  • California African American Museum  (CAAM) "encompasses paintings, photographs, film, sculpture, historical documents, and artifacts ... deepest holdings include art made or connected to African Americans in California and the western United States... also has significant works of contemporary art from the African diaspora (including Haiti, Brazil, and Jamaica), as well as traditional African art from Western, Central, and Sub-Saharan Africa. "
  • Harvard: “Legacy of African Americans at Harvard Law School”
  • Kwanzaa: Information on this holiday from National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • NAACP: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People 
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture (Smithsonian Institute) "In the words of Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of the Museum, 'there are few things as powerful and as important as a people, as a nation that is steeped in its history.' "
  • The New York Public Library (NYPL) Digital Collections offers text, photos and more.  After your search, limit to text or photo in the left column under "type".  NYPL also offers a search of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, manuscripts, archives, and rare book division.   
  • A People's Journey, A Nation's Story form the National Museum of African American History and Culture 
  • Umbra Search African American History ..."brings together hundreds of thousands digitized materials from over 1,000 libraries and archives across the country."

San Diego and California Specific website:

Note: Check with your professor about the kind of resources acceptable for your paper or project.

Videos and clips: Films on Demand and Swank for City College Students

Videos and Clips

A small sample from Films on Demand:

  • Africa's Great Civilizations:  This PBS 6-part series is written and hosted by Dr. Henry Louis Gates
  • Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten   "One hundred years after the destruction of the Black-owned Greenwood district of Tulsa, Oklahoma, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in U.S. history, residents and descendants examine the history of the 1921 tragedy and its aftermath. 
  • Voices of Power: African American Women   "African-American women have captured the moral imagination of mainstream America through their essays, novels, poetry, and other artistic endeavors, breaching the static lines of race, gender, and class."

A small sample from Swank:

  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Black Panther

Access to City College streaming videos including Films on Demand and Swank is through our home page.

  • Click on A-Z Databases
  • Scroll down to Films on Demand, Swank, National Theatre Collection, Kanopy, or Film Platform.
  • Films on Demand provides access to video collection for over 38,500 full-length videos and 310,000+ video clips in a variety of subject areas.  
  • Swank provides access to over 290 feature films from major Hollywood studios and producers.
  • If on campus, you may view DVDs in the Library.  Find the DVD you want via our catalog, SDCCD Books+, on the home page.  Pick up the DVD from the Circulation Counter and take it to R105 (downstairs) to view.  Faculty can take DVDs home for a week.

E-Books for City College Student

E-Books from our Databases

From our database page, scroll down to Gale e-Books and you will be able to search many quality encyclopedias all at once or individually including but NOT LIMITED TO

  • Africa: An Encyclopedia for Students 
  • The African American Almanac
  • African American History
  • African American Religions
  • Cultural Sociology of the Middle East, Asia, & Africa
  • Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa 
  • Notable African American Writers
  • Notable Black American Men
  • Who's Who Among African Americans 

E-Books from our Library catalog

To search for e-books in City College Library Catalog, start on our home page.

  • Click Advanced Search
  • Click SDCCD Books+
  • Type in your search term(s) like alcoholism
  • Press SEARCH
  • Now Refine your Search Results appears in the left column
  • Click on Available Online


  • Print books are also accessed via the process above.  To find it, note the campus (City, Mesa or Miramar) and the call number.  Feel free to ask a librarian for help.
  • Do NOT refine your search by clicking on City College.  This seems to omit many books to which you have access
  • FYI your username is your 10 digit ID number and your password is your last name.

Article Databases

For City College Students: Access databases containing articles from newspapers, magazines, and peer-reviewed scholarly journals through our home page.

  • Click on A-Z Databases
  • Scroll down for a quick look at the topics in each database. Ebsco’s Academic Search Complete is a robust database with articles on just about everything and is often a good place to start.
  • Some databases include articles from journals magazines and newspapers as well as books.  If you are unsure what kind of resource you have, ask us on 24/7 chat on our home page or ask your instructor.
  • The databases that say they include “scholarly or peer reviewed” resources may also contain popular resources.  If so, it is likely you will find a way to limit to either the scholarly/peer reviewed sources or the popular sources.
  • Choose a database and use its Advance Search
  • Use your topic terms and alternative terms when searching.  For example, if you are interested in
    • Tuskegee Airmen, also search for World War II airforce, Blacks in World War II, Blacks in the military
    • Benin Bronzes, also search for African sculpture, African art
    • slavery in America, slaves, triangle trade, Nat Turner, Underground railroad, Sojourner Truth (or whatever describes your topic).
    • Be aware some databases may use the term Black, while others may use the term African American.  Do separate searches using each term until you have a sense of what the database's term is.  If you only get a few results, try the other term. 
    • To find a term in both its singular and plural form, add an * to its singular form (e.g. Black* or African American*

Specific Databases of Interest (Access these and explore the 65+ other databases such as and JStor and Academic Search Complete via the A-Z databases link on the library's home page.)

  • American History and Life ("History and culture of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present.")
  • Black Life in America ("Sourced from nearly 20,000 American and global newspapers from 1704 to the present, including over 400 African American newspapers. Updated daily.")
  • Ethnic NewsWatch ("Articles from ethnic, minority and native press publications.")

Need some help?

Get Help San Diego City College LIBRARY Home Page

For simple questions about the library, email us at

Get help finding the books and articles you need via 24/7 chat or set up an in-person or zoom one-on-one or small groups with a librarian.

When open, come by the City College Library (R Building) and discuss what you need with a faculty-librarian at the Information Desk (reference).  Or call us at 619-388-3288.

Learn how to do research.  From the Library's homepage, click on Research Guides and then scroll down to

custom footer