Return to Research Guide page.
To aid in your search, log on to CyberMars with your library card to reserve any titles that interest you, or ask a librarian for assistance.

 A. Introduction

This pathfinder is intended to help anyone interested in learning more about African American history in Oklahoma, but it is mainly intended to help those in high school and undergraduate college begin a research paper about African American history in Oklahoma or to help those researching African American history in general. This pathfinder is based upon items that are owned by the Metropolitan Library System. There are many resources available to help start the research process: books, periodicals, videos, vertical files and internet sources.

 B. Subject Headings and Shelf Numbers

Here are some suggested keywords that can be used to search the Metropolitan Library System's catalog (CyberMars) on African American History in Oklahoma . This is not an exhaustive list.

  • African Americans
  • Black Americans
  • Afro-Americans
  • African Americans--Civil rights -- Oklahoma
  • African Americans-- Oklahoma
  • African Americans-- Oklahoma --History
  • Oklahoma --Race relations
  • Oklahoma --History

 C. Frequently Mentioned Texts

The Metropolitan Library System uses the Dewey Decimal classification system. Most colleges and schools use the Library of Congress classification system. These call numbers are the general area were items concerning African Americans and their history in Oklahoma can be found.


1. Dewey Decimal Classification - (DDC or DC)

  • African American-- Oklahoma ---- (305.89, 326)
  • African American-- Oklahoma --Biography ---- (323.11)
  • African American-- Oklahoma --History ---- (976.6, 305.56)
  • African American-- Oklahoma --Segregation ---- (323.4)

2. Library of Congress - (LC)

  • Oklahoma ---- (F691 - F705)
  • Afro-American ---- (E184.5 - E185.98)
  • Slavery in the U.S. , Anti-slavery movement ---- (E441 - E453)
  • Freedmen ---- (HT731)
  • Slavery ---- (HT851 - HT1445)

 D. General References, e.g. Guides, Encyclopedia, or Dictionaries (must login to reserve books)

There are many reference items (items that cannot be loaned out) that will help to get you started with research on African American history in Oklahoma, here are a few:
Black History in Oklahoma: a resource book - Kaye Moulton Teall
The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma (indexed under Black Suffrage)
Black Oklahomans: a history 1541-1972 - Arthur L. Tolson
The African American Almanac 10th edition
Historical Development of the Negro in Oklahoma - Nathaniel Jason Washington
Black Heritage of Oklahoma - Gene Aldrich

 E. Books

The WPA Slave Narratives
Acres of aspiration: the all-Black towns in Oklahoma - Hannibal B. Johnson
Contested territory: whites, Native Americans, and African Americans in Oklahoma , 1865-1907 - Murray R. Wickett
Death in a Promised Land: the Tulsa race riots of 1921 - Scott Ellsworth
Black, red, and deadly: Black and Indian gunfighters of the Indian territory, 1870-1907 - Arthur T. Burton

 F. Internet Resources

  • The African-Native American History Genealogy Webpage - This is a good site for finding out information on all black towns and on the freedmen of Oklahoma
  • American Memory (Library of Congress) - The original pages of the WPA Oklahoma slave narratives were scanned. The best way to get to the slave narratives is to click on search in the upper right hand corner of the home page and then scroll down and click on the link for "African American Odyssey."

 G. Other Media, e.g. Video, Audio

Ethnic Notions - A documentary that shows the deeply rooted stereotypes which have fueled anti-black prejudice. This is not a video concerning Oklahoma but it gives a good background on the stereotypes that have plagued African Americans.

 H. For Further Research

Vertical Files

Vertical files are files that contain articles that are not searchable in the computer catalogue and are not indexed. Each file contains articles that are grouped under a specific heading. In order to search for items that you need to look under specific search terms. Search terms such as Negroes (these files are old and the labeling of them pre-date the more modern term of "African American"), segregation , integration, discrimination , Black Muslims , and civil rights.


The annotated guide to the Chronicles of Oklahoma - Carol Welsh ; this is a good index to pieces written in the journal "Chronicles of Oklahoma."

Prepared by K.A. Edwards
Updated March 2012