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African American Research & Archival Collections in the Pacific Northwest Collection: Regional Black History Projects

This guide highlights archival and printed materials, photographs, and moving image collections available in Special Collections that relate to Black communities, political groups, and civil rights movements in the Pacific Northwest. is an online reference center that makes available a wealth of materials on African American history in one central location on the Internet. These materials include an online encyclopedia of over 4,000 entries, the complete transcript of more than 300 speeches by African Americans, other people of African ancestry, and those concerned about race, given between 1789 and 2016, over 140 full text primary documents, bibliographies, timelines and six gateway pages with links to digital archive collections, African and African American museums and research centers, genealogical research websites, and more than 200 other website resources on African American and global African history. Additionally, 100 major African American museums and research centers and over 400 other website resources on black history are also linked to the website, as are nine bibliographies listing more than 5,000 major books categorized by author, title, subject, and date of  publication. The compilation and concentration of these diverse resources allows to serve as the “Google” of African American history.

Black Heritage Society

The Black Heritage Society of Washington State, Inc. (since 1977) preserves, collects, and shares the history of African Americans in Washington State. BHS collections are a protected resource and public asset that archives the past and present to inform future generations. The Society recognizes the importance for documenting the culture and heritage of black people statewide, and upholds the notion that Washington State history is an essential link in the broader narrative that defines the story of our nation.

Buffalo Soldier Museum

Tacoma’s Buffalo Soldiers Museum (since 2005) shares the story of The 9th and10th Horse Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers.  The Museum offers educational programs, historic research, youth outreach programs and exhibits based on the military artifacts, books, articles and DVDs from the collection of former soldier William Jones. .

Shelf Life Stories




Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project

The Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project is a multi-media website that brings the vital history of Seattle's civil rights movements to life with scores of video oral histories, hundreds of rare photographs, documents, movement histories, and personal biographies, more than 300 pages in all. Based at the University of Washington, the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project is a collaboration between community groups and UW faculty and students.

Shelf Life Community Story Project

The Shelf Life Community Story Project records oral histories with current and former residents of Seattle's Central District neighborhood. They believe community stories and neighborhood histories can change the way we think about community - what it means to have it and what it means to lose it. They hope the stories they record can influence conversations about change and shift the way this city imagines its future. 

The stories are shared with the public through community celebrations and installations, social media, community radio, the Shelf Life podcast, pop-up projection events, and the project website. Shelf Life lives at Wa Na Wari, a Central District home for Black art, stories, and connection.

NAAM - Northwest African American Museum

At the heart of the African American experience in the Northwest is the story of our journey to this region, the establishment of our vibrant community, and the ways in which we have survived. To tell this ever-unfolding story, the Northwest African American Museum’s exhibitions and programs feature the visual arts, music, crafts, literature and history of African Americans in the Northwest. Cognizant of the black community’s continuous evolution, NAAM focuses on African Americans whose route to the new world was through slavery as well as recent immigrants arriving from places such as Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia.

Web Archive

Web archive which house the digital records of the sites Wa Na Mari and The African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center can be accessed through the digital repository Archive-It here. Within the repository, captures of the past version of the sites can be found.

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