Manuscript Resources on African American History

This guide describes manuscript collections documenting African American history in the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections at LSU. It includes the papers of African Americans and their families; oral histories done with African Americans; and other collections that document African American history in one way or another. In the early period, these collections include documentation of slavery, the slave trade, abolitionism, and apologies for slavery. In the modern period, they include collections that document issues like civil rights, integration, and race relations.

Indeed, the experience of African Americans before and during the Civil War is often documented through the papers of others--among them, planters who bought and sold them as slaves and Union soldiers who commented upon them in letters and diaries. LSU has such resources in abundance. Papers of early African Americans themselves are more difficult to find. But Louisiana and the lower Mississippi Valley had a relatively large population of free persons of color, some of whom did leave papers. They worked as artisans in cities like New Orleans or Natchez, or were planters and even slaveholders themselves. LSU's collections of the papers of free persons of color include the papers of William Johnson of Natchez, now famed as a diarist and commentator on Southern mores.

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Young, Robert Thomas, 1812-1890. Family Papers, 1793-1927 (bulk 1830-1890). 0.5 linear ft. Location: E:35, OS:Y. Cotton planter of the Plains in upper East Baton Rouge Parish. Correspondence, legal documents, financial papers, slave lists and bill of sale, personal papers, and printed items document the lives of the Young family. Included are letters written during the Civil War by Robert's sister-in-law, Julia. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 4548.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women, Civil War, African Americans

Zeringue, J. Louis. Receipt, 1764. 1 item. Location: Misc.:Z. Receipt of J. Louis Zeringue to his father for the payment of two slaves. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 456.

Referenced in Guides: African Americans, French

Zielinski, David M. Collection, 1970-1972. 1.5 linear ft. Location: 12. David M. Zielinski requested the F.B.I. documents included in this collection under the Freedom of Information Act in 1988 to be used in research for a publication. These F.B.I. documents relate the F.B.I.'s investigation into the shooting that occurred on May 15, 1970 at Jackson State College in Jackson, Mississippi. The papers consist of copies of memorandums, correspondence, news clippings, and reports made and collected by the F.B.I. during the investigation. Mss. 4223.