HIST 280/285: Decolonization and Nationalism in Post 1945 Africa

Primary Source Databases

Guide to Finding Historical Primary Sources at UC Berkeley Libraries


African Activist Archive (Michigan State University)
Includes posters and photos and more related to anti-apartheid and African liberation support campaigns.

  • African Newspapers (from the World Newspaper Archive)
    Includes over 60 full-text searchable historical newspapers published in Sub-Saharan Africa prior to 1923. Most titles are in English, with some coverage in African and other European languages.
  • Confidential Print: Africa, 1834-1966
    From coastal trading in the early nineteenth century, through the Conference of Berlin of 1884 and the subsequent Scramble for Africa, to the abuses of the Congo Free State, fights against tropical disease, Italy's defeat by the Abyssinians, World War II, apartheid in South Africa and colonial moves towards independence, the documents in this resource cover the whole of the modern period of European colonization of the continent. Part of a larger series of documents issued by the British Government.
  • Digital Innovation South Africa (DISA)
    A free online scholarly resource primarily covering the anti-apartheid liberation struggles in South Africa from 1950 to 1994. Includes primary and some secondary resources from books and journals to photographs, pamphlets, oral histories and correspondences for researching South African history, politics, and society.
  • Empire Online
    Includes 70,000 images of original manuscript and printed documents to support study and research in the field of colonial and empire studies. Five sections include: Cultural Contacts, 1492-1969; Empire Writing and the Literature of Empire; The Visible Empire; Religion and Empire; and Race, Class, Imperialism and Colonialism, c. 1607-1969. In addition to original documents, this database contains scholarly essays and analysis.
  • Ethnographic Video Online
    A growing collection (currently more than 400 titles) of classic and contemporary ethnographic films, with wide-ranging coverage of the world's regions and cultures, and by some of the most influential filmmakers of the genre. The films explore key themes in anthropology and the broader social sciences, including language and culture, family and kinship, sex and gender, social stratification and status, music and the arts, and religion.
  • Digital National Security Archive (DNSA)
    Indexes over 35,000 declassified documents spanning fifty years of US national security policy. Also includes a chronology, glossary of names, events, special terms, and a bibliography for each collection developed around a specific event, controversy, or policy decision.
  • U.S. Congressional Serial Set
    A full-text database of key publications of the United States Congress. Also includes publications of the executive departments relating to important public issues. The Serial Set is a critical resource for the study of all aspects of American history including international relations, explorations, commerce and industrial development, genealogy, and political, social, cultural, military and ethnic history. When complete, the database will offer approximately 13,800 volumes and over 12 million pages in searchable full-text. (Archive of Americana allows cross-searching of several databases: Early American Imprints , Series I and II; Early American Newspapers; American State Papers; US Congressional Serial Set.)
  • Historical Newspapers (ProQuest)
    Includes Chicago Defender (1910-1975). Chicago Tribune (1849-1988). Los Angeles Times (1881-1988). San Francisco Chronicle (1865-1922). New York Times (1851-1994) with Index (1851-1993). Wall Street Journal (1889-1994). Washington Post (1877-1995).
  • Times Digital Archive
    Online access, fully searchable full text of over 200 years (1785 to 1985, with 1986 to 2003 added later this year) of The London Times, the "world's newspaper of record." [Note: "Sunday Times" is a distinct newspaper with no editorial connection to The Times London, and is not included in this database.]


The UC Berkeley Libraries has an extensive microform (microfilm and microfiche) collections, containing valuable information for researchers. The Africana Microform Collections Guide lists a large selection of Berkeley's holdings that include many primary source materials.

The Newspapers and Microforms Department (40 Doe Library) has machines that read, print, and scan images from microfilm and microfiche.

  Microfilm and microfiche owned by the UC Berkeley Libraries can be found through OskiCat; use Advanced Keyword Search to limit your search to "All Microforms." In the News/Micro collection, microfilm rolls and microfiche cards are shelved with their own numbering system; click here for a PDF of the collection's floorplan.


The Library's Newspaper & Microforms Room holds numerous African newspapers from the 19th century to currently-received titles.  Papers on microfilm are shelved in title order by country.  Currently received print titles are shelved by title.  The Library currently receives the following African newspapers in print:

  • Daily Nation (Kenya) 
  • Ghanaian Times (Ghana)
  • Sunday News (Tanzania)
  • Sunday Standard (Kenya)
  • Sunday Vision (Sudan)
  • Taifa Jumapili (Kenya)

The Stanford Library has one of the largest collections of African newspapers in print and microfilm in the United States.  These titles are available for on-site viewing by UCB afilliated persons.

Center for Research Libraries (CRL) lends African newspapers on microfilm to UCB patrons.  Many titles are list on the Melvyl Catalog where you can request film by sent to Berkeley for use. CRL also hosts AFRINUL a union list of African newspapers held by U.S. research libraries.  This is not a complete list so double-check with each institution's catalog for complete holdings.

African historical and current newspapers are also available electronically through subscription databases and free sites. 

  • African Newspapers (World Newspaper Archive)
    Over 60 Sub-Saharan African newspapers published prior to 1923 included in full-text. A UCB subscription resource.
  • AllAfrica.com
    Provides current coverage of over 100 African newspapers and some NGO publications in English and French.  Berkeley's subscription provides backfile access to 1996.
  • Breaking News
    Reports of latest news. This site is maintained by Stanford University.
  • Electronic Newspapers of Africa
    This site providing a list of online newspapers is maintained by Columbia University.
Last Update: January 15, 2014 14:52 | Tagged with: Africa history decolonization nationalism