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Africana Studies

A guide for CSUDH students taking Africana Studies courses.

Primary Sources

A primary source provides direct or firsthand evidence about an event, object, person, or work of art. Primary sources include historical and legal documents, eyewitness accounts, results of experiments, statistical data, pieces of creative writing, audio and video recordings, speeches, and art objects. Interviews, surveys, fieldwork, and Internet communications via email, blogs, listservs, and newsgroups are also primary sources.

Read more about primary v. secondary sources >>

When would I need to find primary sources? If you're working on a history project, you may be asked to find and cite primary sources to analyze something from the past, like posters from political activism in modern African history. If you're working on a sociology project, you may be asked to find demographic data on homeless in Los Angeles. Both documents would be considered primary sources in each case.

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Websites with Primary Sources

There are many collections of free primary source material available online.

Primary Source Images

Images from NYPL Digital Collection:

Portrait of E. Lewis. Sculptor.  Moi Egal à toi; [Portrait of a young Haitian woman.] Studio portrait of young chimney sweeps. Portraint of Touissant L'Ouverture

African American war worker for Tennessee Valley Authority. Studio portrait of Knoxville (Tenn.) College Glee Club.