Celebrating Black History Month in the Romance Languages

Contemporary Black, African, and African diaspora writers across the world are redefining literature and criticism in French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. Here are some noteworthy books in their original languages recently acquired by the UC Berkeley Library. Translations into English may also be available for some of the better known.


Please also see the related English literatures post for Black History Month 2024 and the Black History at Cal library research guide.

Trial: Africa Commons

Trial access to the Africa Commons digital archival collections, produced by Coherent Digital, is available until January 31st.  This resource provides access to books, magazines, newspapers, government documents, manuscripts, photographs, videos, and oral histories related to African history and culture.  Africa Commons is a project which aims to enable Africa to easily control, digitize, and disseminate its cultural heritage–within Africa, and internationally.

Africa Commons comprises four distinct collections:

History and Culture, an index of open source materials related to African history and culture.

Black South African Magazines created from 1937-1973 targeting Black audiences.

Southern African Films and Documentaries including propaganda, newsreels, documentaries, feature films, and interviews spanning the 1900s to the early 2000s.

The Hilary Ng’wengo Archive documenting the fifty-year career of the iconic Kenyan journalist, publisher, commentator, and public figure Hilary Ng’wengo through his magazines, newspapers, television programs, and documentaries.

Send your feedback to Michele McKenzie at mmckenzie@berkeley.edu.

TRIAL: Africa and the New Imperialism

Sketch of mission houseUntil May 4th, the Library has trial access to a new digital archive produced by AM (formerly Adam Matthew Digital) titled Africa and the New Imperialism: European Borders on the African Continent, 1870-1914.

Africa and the New Imperialism documents the period of rapid colonial expansion by European powers across the African continent during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.  

From the accounts of missionaries and European explorers navigating the interior of the continent in the early nineteenth century; to the rise in European desire for increased power, empire and wealth culminating in the Berlin Conference 1885-1886; to the subsequent power struggles, negotiations and conflicts that raged across the continent at the turn of the twentieth century, the documents within Africa and the New Imperialism charts Africa’s encounters with European imperialist regimes and their impact on the lives of peoples across the continent.

Materials in the digital archive were sourced from archives in France and the United Kingdom, under the guidance of the resource’s editorial board.

In recent years AM has made significant advancements in handwritten text recognition (HTR) technology, which first allowed for searching of handwritten documents, then on-the-fly transcription of handwritten documents. This digital archive is hosted on their newest platform, and allows for side-by-side views of the documents and their transcriptions.  (Normally, both the documents and their transcriptions can be downloaded, but our trial access does not allow for downloads. )  While the transcriptions are less than perfect, they can still be helpful with interpreting handwritten documents.

Welcome to the Africana blog at UCB!

Welcome! This page will be used to highlight newly acquired resources related to African Studies and African American & African Diaspora Studies at Berkeley, provide tips for Africana-related library research, and promote Africana-related events happening on campus and across the bay area.

For now, be sure to check out the African Studies subject guide as well as the African American Studies subject guide.

If there is a library resource that you would like to recommend for purchase, please submit the Purchase Recommendation Form.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact the Librarian for African and African American Studies at UC Berkeley, Adam Clemons (e: aclemons@berkeley.edu, p: 510.878.6220, o: 212/218 Doe Library).