The African American Odyssey showcases African American collections from the Library of Congress. The exhibition tells the story of the African American experience through nine chronological periods. Over 240 items document the courage and determination of blacks faced with adverse circumstances, who overcame immense odds to fully participate in all aspects of American society. The exhibit includes the work of abolitionists and the long post-Civil War journey toward equality in employment, education and politics. The exhibition details strategies used to secure the vote, recognizes outstanding black leaders, and documents the contributions of black sports figures, soldiers, artists, actors, writers, and others in the fight against segregation and discrimination.
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These online exhibits provide context and additional information about this collection.
These historical era(s) are best represented in the collection, although they may not be all-encompassing.
- Colonial Settlement, 1492-1763
- The American Revolution, 1763-1783
- The New Nation, 1780-1815
- Expansion and Reform, 1801-1861
- The Civil War and Reconstruction, 1850-1877
- Development of the Industrial United States, 1876-1915
- Emergence of Modern America, 1890-1930
- The Great Depression and World War II, 1929-1945
- Postwar United States, 1945-early 1970s
Related Collections and Exhibits
These collections and exhibits contain thematically-related primary and secondary sources. Browse the Collection Finder for more related material on the American Memory Web site.
- African American Experience in Ohio, 1850-1920
- The African-American Pamphlet Collection, 1824-1909
- African American Perspectives, 1818-1907
- African-American Sheet Music, 1850-1920
- Jackie Robinson and Baseball Highlights, 1860s-1960s
- Now What a Time": Blues, Gospel, and the Fort Valley Music Festivals, 1938-1943
- Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938
- Words and Deeds in American History
Recommended additional sources of information.
- The African American Mosaic A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture
Specific guidance for searching this collection.
To find items in this collection, search by Keyword. Readers may also view items in the exhibition by selecting from nine Exhibit Sections (nine chronological periods) or from an exhibition Object List
For help with general search strategies, see Finding Items in American Memory.