Western Libraries

Black History and Literature



This guide focuses on research collections related to Black history and literature in the Americas. It is not exhaustive and resources on these themes can also be found in other general collections. For more options, see our research guides on other subjects or contact a librarian for research assistance.

Western Libraries is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion. This guide is part of an ongoing effort to highlight the diversity of our collections and to encourage the exploration of Black voices in the past and present. We welcome your input on this guide.

Western University is also committed to creating a more equitable, diverse, and inclusionary campus. The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion provides scholarships for Black students and Western faculty and students have created EDI Resources and Anti-Racism Resources for teaching. 

While Black history and literature in the Americas are transoceanic and diasporic, resources in this guide are divided  into the following categories: Atlantic World, Canada, Latin America/Caribbean, and United States. Searching, however, should not be limited to the confines of the modern nation state.


Log cabin in Alberta owned by John Ware

John Ware (ca. 1845–1905) was born enslaved in the United States but earned his freedom at the end of the American Civil War (1865). He settled in Alberta, Canada, becoming a successful rancher and legendary Black cowboy. The John Ware Cabin. Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta, Canada. Photo by Jason Dyck.